Milwaukee Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
If you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident after being hit by a car, you are far from alone. Milwaukee & Wisconsin have many roadways covering thousands upon thousands of miles. In addition to vehicular use of the roadways, there are people who walk many of these roads on a regular basis. Due to the fact that a pedestrian has no protection around him or her, even a slow-moving vehicle can cause serious injury.
While each pedestrian/vehicle accident has its own specific facts, these accidents always produce serious personal injuries. Whether you have been injured in this type of pedestrian accident or a loved one has been injured or killed, you may be entitled to compensation to cover everything from medical bills to lost earnings to ongoing treatment.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are many reasons a driver may hit a pedestrian, including:
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Failing to yield the right of way
Failing to use a turn signal while turning
Driving inappropriately for the weather or road conditions
Although pedestrians are often hit through no fault of their own, they can protect themselves by keeping an effective lookout, being wary of traffic at intersections, wearing reflective clothing (after dark), walking into oncoming traffic as opposed to with the flow of traffic, and always using crosswalks.
If you or a loved one has been hit by a car, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Milwaukee pedestrian accident attorneys Domnitz & Domnitz, S.C. for a free consultation regarding your case.
Determining Fault for a Pedestrian-Car Accident
Determining who is at fault when a pedestrian is hit by a car often isn’t cut and dry. Although pedestrians typically have the right of way, pedestrians still have a duty to use reasonable care to avoid an accident. Although it is typically assumed that the driver in a pedestrian-car accident is at fault, this isn’t always the case.
Pedestrian-car accidents can be more complex than they seem on the surface, which is why it is so important to have skilled legal representation, like Domnitz & Domnitz. If you were hit by a vehicle while walking, it is important that you seek legal help to protect your rights and secure appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Pedestrian’s Duty of Care
Pedestrians are no different than drivers in at least one regard: They have a duty of care to behave in a reasonable manner to avoid causing an accident. That means, among other things, obeying traffic signals, not walking out into traffic, and using sidewalks and crosswalks when provided.
Special Considerations for Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians More Likely to Suffer Serious Injuries
Because pedestrians have no protection against vehicles, even a minor accident can result in serious injury. A car that bumps a pedestrian lightly can cause that person to fall and break a bone or suffer a brain injury. Of course, some accidents are more devastating. Pedestrians may be run over or pinned against another object, suffering catastrophic or fatal injuries. In fact, in collisions between vehicles and pedestrians, an estimated 80% of the pedestrians will die if the vehicle is traveling at speeds 40 mph or greater. In contrast, if the vehicle is traveling at 20 mph or less, fewer than 10% of the pedestrians receive fatal injuries. As is often true, speed kills. And a driver traveling at high speeds is likely to result in a fatality if a crash occurs.
Dangers for Wheelchair Pedestrians
A new study out of Georgetown University paints a troubling picture of the challenges and risks wheelchair users face as pedestrians on our roadways and streets. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the study determined:
- A pedestrian wheelchair user is a third more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than the average pedestrian.
- There is a 36% higher fatality risk for wheelchair users involved in crashes than for the general population.
- In more than 75% of the crashes involving pedestrian wheelchair users, no “crash avoidance maneuver” was made by the driver.
- In 21% of cases, drivers did not yield to the right-of-way of pedestrians.
- The fatalities occurred at intersections 47.5% of the time.
Although these numbers may prompt some to blame reckless drivers, it is possible that another story is hidden in the data. For instance, of the 21% of drivers who did not yield to the right-of-way of the pedestrian, 40% happened on roads and intersections without traffic-control devices like lights and walk signals. That, combined with the fact that in 75% of the crashes drivers failed to make any sort of “crash avoidance maneuver” (such as braking or steering), appears to indicate that drivers are hitting wheelchair users because they are not seeing these pedestrians on the roads, not because they are driving in a particularly reckless manner. Potential reasons a pedestrian in a wheelchair might be hit by a car include:
- Not only are wheelchair users closer to the ground than most pedestrians (making them harder for drivers to see), electric wheelchairs may move at speeds much quicker than the average pedestrian on foot.
- In some areas, even though sidewalks may be built with proper curb cuts and ramps (design elements that are mandated by the Americans with Disability Act), they still may not be adequate to meet the safety and accessibility needs of not only disabled pedestrians, but all pedestrians.
- Poorly lit intersections in areas with high-speed traffic and little traffic control are likely to be risky for all pedestrians, and especially so for wheelchair users. To minimize risk to pedestrians, municipalities should ensure that their intersections are well lit and provide adequate traffic controls.
The Dangers of Distracted Walking in Wisconsin & Beyond
It’s no secret that distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents. But Consumer Reports is reporting that another form of distraction is also becoming a problem: Distracted Walking. It typically involves pedestrians who are using cellphones to talk, text, use apps, or access the Internet. Walking without paying attention to your surroundings can potentially cause car accidents. More than 180 injuries every year are caused by distracted pedestrians or non-motorized people. She said the staggering numbers and several fatal accidents around her home have convinced her not to text while walking. About 85% of people said they have seen people use a cellphone while walking, according to a poll from Consumer Reports. Out of those 85%, about half said the lives of the pedestrians or other people were in danger because of the action.
Research from the American Automobile Association (AAA) offers startling insight into just how dangerous it is to be a pedestrian in a hit-and-run:
- Nearly 65% of people killed by hit-and-run drivers are pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Over the past decade, nearly 20% of all pedestrian deaths were due to hit-and-runs.
- There is more than one hit-and-run accident every minute in the U.S.
- There were over 2,000 deaths in 2016 due to hit-and-run crashes, which was the highest number on record.
It is important to know that if you were walking and hit by a car that drove away, there is still much you can do to protect your rights and receive fair compensation. Call experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorneys Domnitz & Domnitz, S.C. today to discuss your case and options.
Pedestrian accidents are typically clustered in urban areas such as Milwaukee because those are the areas where pedestrians are more prevalent. And many reports show that those accidents started rising a few years ago. But what is behind the increase in fatal pedestrian accidents? Well, part of the problem is that more vehicles are electric and hybrid models. At low speeds, many of those vehicles tend to be significantly quieter than traditional engines powered by gas or diesel, which means they lack the usual auditory cues that cars with traditional engines have. Thankfully, a rule passed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in late 2016 should help to protect pedestrians from being hit by an electric car. The rule requires all newly manufactured electric vehicles weighing five tons (10,000 pounds) or less to make an audible noise when traveling at speeds of 19 mph or less. Although it’s still a bit early to know how effective this rule will be for reducing the number of pedestrian accidents, at the very least it should reduce the number of serious injuries pedestrians suffer from being hit by a car while walking.
Pedestrian Rights in Milwaukee, WI
With summer in Milwaukee comes warm weather and the need to get out and enjoy our highly walkable city. Unfortunately, with the increase in pedestrians in summer combined with our busy city streets comes the danger of vehicle & pedestrian accidents. In these extremely serious cases, it’s important to know your rights, and Domnitz & Domnitz are your best bet for Milwaukee pedestrian accident attorneys. Pedestrian victims hold a special advantage in these cases, since pedestrians are particularly vulnerable and have the right of way in most vehicle/pedestrian situations. Simply put, vehicles should always yield to pedestrians, and vehicle operators who fail to do so are at fault. Although a case of this nature may seem straightforward, you’ll need an experienced attorney to ensure the driver’s insurance company compensates you fairly. Even in cases in which the driver was clearly at fault, insurance companies are notorious for trying to minimize or deny the victims their rightful compensation. At Domnitz & Domnitz, our deep experience in representing car accident victims from powerful insurance companies enables us to achieve maximum results for our clients.
Steps to Decrease the Likelihood of Being in a Pedestrian Accident
According to the AAA, drivers should do the following to decrease the chances of hitting a pedestrian:
- Stay alert. Pedestrians can act unpredictably. By being aware of their surroundings and all pedestrians in the area, drivers can reduce the likelihood of hitting one.
- Be cautious. Keep a generous buffer zone between yourself and other vehicles, maintain safe speeds, and always check your blind spots. Pay extra attention in areas where there are likely to be more pedestrians, such as intersections, bus stops, shopping malls, playgrounds, school zones, driveways, and the like.
- Be patient. When passing pedestrians or busses, provide plenty of space and always yield to pedestrians.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
The Center for Disease Control said in a recent report that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in auto accidents compared to passengers in cars. And the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that 60 pedestrians die each year in auto accidents, with another 1,600 being injured throughout Wisconsin. The CDC report is not surprising given that pedestrians do not have the benefit of being protected by a steel cage against other vehicles. The report also identified some common characteristics found in auto/pedestrian accidents, including:
Alcohol is the culprit in more than half of all accidents. Either the driver or the passenger has been impaired.
Speeding is an important element in these crashes, and increases the chances of an accident because drivers (and pedestrians) cannot react quickly enough to mistakes.
More pedestrians are killed on city streets, but more accidents occur away from intersections, which supports the notion that people trying to cross streets outside of crosswalks are more at risk.
What to Do If You Are Hit by a Car While Walking in Milwaukee
Have you recently been the victim of a pedestrian accident? In the era of walking and texting, accidents involving pedestrians are becoming more common by the day. If you just experienced one, take a deep breath. Any collision or incident can be jarring. But don’t let it ruin your life. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Make Sure You’re Safe
The most important part of this situation is your health. Are you injured? In the case of serious injury, call 911 and go to the hospital. But, if there’s nothing that seems terribly wrong with your body, you should do a few things:
- Stand up and walk around a few steps. This can help you determine if you have broken bones.
- Get off the road and out of harm’s way. Even if you take a seat on the sidewalk, that’s infinitely safer than lying face up in the middle of a busy road.
- Take a minute to gather your thoughts. Once you feel grounded again, it’s time to jump into action.
2. Take the Driver’s Information
Accidents can be sticky situations. You believe one thing, but the other person involved in the crash says another. How can you be sure? The secret is to collect as much information as possible now so you can prove the right to payment from the at-fault person’s car insurance.
- Approach the driver. If they’re apologetic and friendly, this part will be easy. Ask them for their insurance information.
- If they don’t want to give it to you and try to make a quick escape, take a photo. It’s important that you have at least their license plate number—that way, your representative will be able to track them down if they do escape.
- Call 911. Police enforcement and ambulances are trained specifically to deal with situations like these. Ideally, however, you’ll be able to get the driver to stick around. When the police arrive, they’ll help you sort out any issues.
How Domnitz & Domnitz Can Help
Our Milwaukee attorneys work with experts to prove liability and recover the compensation you need for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and additional related expenses. If you lost a family member because they were struck by a car or you are struggling to pay your bills because you were hit by a car while walking, you may be able to collect compensation. We represent pedestrians who are injured by all types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, delivery vans, school buses, city buses, and taxis. Pedestrian accidents occur most frequently in areas such as:
- City streets
- Bus stops
- Parking lots and garages
- School crossing zones
You and your family can rely on our firm for dedicated service and compassion as we work to recover the damages you need.