One second you are crossing the street, and in the next second, a car strikes you. You are not sure what happened. But you know that you are injured. After being injured in a pedestrian accident, you might question what you should do next and how you will pay for the care you need.
If you were involved in a pedestrian accident in Charlotte, North Carolina, contact Bradford Law’s pedestrian accident attorney for the personal attention your case deserves. Bradford Law is committed to representing injured people and holding the responsible party accountable. Contact us today for a free case consultation.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Charlotte, North Carolina
In North Carolina, approximately 3,000 pedestrians are involved in an accident every year with around 160 of these being fatalities. A pedestrian accident could occur almost anywhere. But pedestrian accidents most frequently happen when cars turn at an intersection, in parking lots, and near bus stops and routes.
Like car accidents, there can be many reasons that a car and pedestrian are involved in an accident. Pedestrian accidents may be a result of the following:
- Distracted driving or not paying attention
- Driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or medication
- Failing to stop at a light
- Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- Left turns across opposing traffic
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failing to observe pedestrians on sidewalks approaching crosswalks
- Failing to observe pedestrian signals
- Failing to obey the pedestrian signal
- Walking while distracted by, for example, a cell phone
- Walking in the street instead of on a sidewalk
- Walking while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or medication
- Dark clothing
Factors beyond the driver’s and pedestrian’s control can also contribute to pedestrian accidents. These include:
- Unmarked crosswalks or poorly marked crosswalks
- Not having sidewalks or having sidewalks that are uneven or slippery
- Poor weather conditions
- Insufficient lighting
- Construction sites or construction detours
- Multi-Lane or arterial roads
- Pedestrian signals that do not work correctly
Common Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians can suffer many injuries from a pedestrian accident, even if the car is not moving at a high speed. The most common injuries are to the legs and knees, followed by the neck, face, and head. In some circumstances, the injuries could lead to death.
Some common injuries include:
- Brain injuries, including hemorrhages
- Neck and spinal injuries, such as whiplash, disc herniations
- Injuries to the face or teeth
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones and loss of limbs, especially broken legs
Even if you may not feel injured after a car accident, it is critical to seek medical treatment. You may not be aware of some of your injuries until days or weeks after the accident. It is important to document your injuries as early as possible.
North Carolina Statutes Regarding Pedestrians and Drivers
North Carolina has enacted numerous statutes in order to ensure pedestrian safety on and around the state’s highways and byways. It should be noted that North Carolina treats the operation of personal assistive mobility devices as pedestrians.
Pedestrian Rights and Duties
- Pedestrians have the right of way at marked crosswalks and unmarked crossings within a business or residence district, except at intersections with traffic or pedestrian signals. N.C.G.S. § 20-155 & N.C.G.S. § 20-173
- When marked crosswalks are available, pedestrians must use the marked crosswalks and must not cross between two signaled intersections. N.C.G.S. § 20-172 & N.C.G.S. § 20-174
- When marked crosswalks are NOT available, pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. N.C.G.S. § 20-174
- When special pedestrian-control signals are in place, pedestrians must obey the “WALK” and “DON’T WALK” signals. N.C.G.S. §20-172
- When special pedestrian-control signals are NOT in place or in operation, pedestrians must obey the vehicle traffic-control signals, such as traffic lights. N.C.G.S. § 20-172
- When vehicle traffic-control signals are NOT in place or in operation, pedestrians shall follow the rights and responsibilities detailed in Part 11 of Article 20 entitled “Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties.” Part 11 encompasses N.C.G.S. § 20-172 through N.C.G.S. § 20-175. N.C.G.S. § 20-172 See also Drivers Rights and Duties.
- When a sidewalk is available, pedestrians must use the sidewalk. N.C.G.S. § 20-174
- When a sidewalk is NOT available, pedestrians must walk on the extreme left of the roadway or shoulder-facing traffic and yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. N.C.G.S. § 20-174
Drivers’ Rights and Duties
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks and unmarked crossings, except at intersections with traffic or pedestrian signals. N.C.G.S. § 20-155 & N.C.G.S. § 20-173
- When traffic-control signals are NOT in place or in operation, drivers must slow down or stop at crosswalks or unmarked crossings to yield to a crossing pedestrian. N.C.G.S. § 20-173
- Whenever a vehicle has stopped to permit a pedestrian to cross, other motorists approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle. N.C.G.S. § 20-173
- Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when making a right turn on red. N.C.G.S. § 20-158
- Drivers must stop for and yield to pedestrians at stop signs, flashing red lights, and flashing yellow lights. N.C.G.S. § 20-158
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians when the pedestrian is traveling on a sidewalk or driveway and when the pedestrian is approaching a driveway, alley, building entrance, or private road. N.C.G.S. § 20-173
- Drivers must exercise caution to avoid collisions with pedestrians on the roadway shall give warning to pedestrians by sounding the horn when necessary, and shall exercise caution when observing a child or apparent incapacitated person in the roadway. N.C.G.S. § 20-174
- Before starting, stopping, or turning drivers shall make sure such movement is safe and give a warning to any affected pedestrian by sounding the horn. N.C.G.S. § 20-154
Proving Liability in a North Carolina Pedestrian Accident
Multiple parties may be held liable for a pedestrian accident. In many cases, the driver may be at fault for the accident. Other factors may also help determine who contributed to the accident. For example, suppose a pedestrian signal was not working correctly, then a city or public agency may also share some responsibility for the accident. Another example, suppose construction has blocked navigable sidewalks, walkways, or roadways and has not provided reasonable safe alternate routes, then the construction company may also share some of the responsibility for the accident.
In some cases, you may also be found to be partially at fault if your actions contributed to the accident. Because North Carolina follows the contributory negligence rule, you may be unable to recover compensation for your injuries if your actions contributed to the cause of the accident.
To better understand the people or entities responsible for the accident, you should speak with a lawyer who has experience with pedestrian accidents in North Carolina.
What Damages Can I Get?
When you contact Bradford Law, we will fight to recover all the damages you may be entitled to receive. These damages will include economic and non-economic damages.
The types of damages that you may recover in a pedestrian accident in Charlotte, North Carolina include:
- Current and future medical bills
- Ambulance ride costs
- Hospitalization costs
- Surgery costs
- Physician/Doctor visit costs
- Therapy/rehabilitation costs
- Home care costs
- Medical device costs
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications costs
- Transportation to and from the hospital and doctor’s visits
- Current and future loss of income/lost wages
- Property damage, such as damaged watches/jewelry and damaged electronic devices.
- Pain and suffering
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress/Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of your life
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and Burial costs
- Loss of financial and emotional support
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of income/saving capacity
- Punitive Damages
After a Pedestrian Accident, What Should I Do?
After a pedestrian accident, you should seek medical care first. You should also contact the police. If you can, you should try to collect information about the vehicle that hit you, like the license plate, in case the car leaves the scene of the accident.
The police will document the accident and collect the driver’s information. The police will also collect contact information for witnesses.
Consult with an experienced attorney before speaking with an insurance company. Even a brief conversation with an insurance company can cause irreparable harm to your claims. You have the right to preserve and protect your interests. Even though you may be dealing with your recovery, you should also reach out to an attorney that handles pedestrian accidents in North Carolina, like Bradford Law.
Contact Our Experienced Charlotte, North Carolina Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
Bradford Law is a family-oriented practice committed to listening to your concerns and working tirelessly to get compensation for your injuries. Bradford Law offers a free consultation to get started, and we will not charge you a fee until we get you compensation. We are also committed to returning your calls promptly and representing a diverse group of clients.
We understand the significant impacts of a pedestrian accident on your life and family, and we know how important it is to have someone available to answer your questions and manage all aspects of your claim. Bradford Law has the experience to handle insurance companies and file lawsuits to seek the compensation you deserve. Contact Bradford Law today to schedule your free consultation and discuss your options.