Washington’s laws require drivers to act with care and due diligence to avoid injuring pedestrians. Even so, pedestrian fatalities in the state have risen each year from 2009 to 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The kinds of accidents often occur in school zones, crosswalks and other areas where children are present.
A pedestrian accident will often be a traumatizing and financially devastating event for a victim and his or her family. A person injured as a pedestrian will often find it difficult to manage significant medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
An attorney can help you sort out these issues and advise you about your legal rights. Below is information to help you better understand the basic components of a legal claim for injuries to a pedestrian
What must I prove in a negligence claim or lawsuit?
To obtain a recovery for the harm suffered in an accident, an injured pedestrian must prove that the person causing the accident was “negligent.” The law provides several “elements” that must be shown in order to prove negligence.
The basic components of negligence claim:
- the driver owed you or your child a duty to exercise care (E.g. RCW 46.61.245 );
- the driver violated the duty (for example, a driver may violate the duty to exercise car by failing to pay attention to the road while driving(E.g. texting while driving));
- the driver’s actions caused an injury.
Every case is different and the outcome depends on the particular facts and circumstances underlying the accident.
A typical accident claim involving a pedestrian may require such evidence as:
- witness statements;
- police or accident report;
- medical records; and
- lost income records.
Evidence should be collected and preserved as quickly as possible after a pedestrian accident.
How much time do I have to pursue compensation?
There is a three-year time limitation for filing a lawsuit based on a personal injury accident, per Washington’s statute of limitations. This means an injured person typically will have three years from the date of an injury to pursue a legal remedy. The time limitation for an injured minor is typically three years from the minor’s eighteenth birthday.
You should protect your legal rights (or the rights of your child) by promptly seeking legal advice about any claim or potential claims.
Will my own actions impact my claim?
Washington follows a system of pure comparative “fault.” This means an injured person may collect damages even the person is found partially to blame for the pedestrian accident. However, the final settlement or award will be reduced in direct correlation to the percentage of fault assigned to the injured person.
For example, if a jury assigns an injured person 25 percent of the fault for the accident while a defendant is deemed 75 percent at fault, an award of $100,000 would be reduced by $25,000 – or 25 percent – and the final award would be $75,000.
Who should I contact if I feel that I need advice or help with my situation?
If you are ready to learn more about your legal rights, please call us to schedule a free case consultation with the Deno Millikan Law Firm, PLLC at (425) 259-2222 or contact us online.