What happens if a person is hit in a crosswalk by a vehicle? Is the injured pedestrian always entitled to file a personal injury claim against the driver's insurance company? The answer to this question is not simple and straightforward. An experienced Columbus pedestrian accident lawyer at Babin Law can analyze your case and give you reliable legal advice.
However, this article will give you an idea of traffic law in Ohio and how it influences your eligibility to file a personal injury lawsuit and obtain compensation for your injuries, property damage, and economic losses from the at-fault parties.
How Frequent Are Pedestrian Accidents in Ohio?
Columbus and other main cities in Ohio have lots of busy intersections. Both pedestrians and car drivers are in a hurry to go to work or to various appointments they have. For this reason, in many circumstances, either of them ignores the traffic control signal and keeps walking or driving, even if they do not have a green light.
Unfortunately, the statistical data is worrisome. Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are increasing from year to year. For instance:
- a news report showed that pedestrian accidents increased by 20% in 2020 compared to 2019, despite a significant decrease in the number of cars on the road due to COVID-19 lockdown mandates
- another news report indicates 23% more deadly pedestrian crashes in the first six months of 2021 compared to the previous year.
In terms of number of deaths, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 124 pedestrians lost their lives in car accidents in Ohio in 2019.
Understanding the Concept of Duty of Care
Any injured person who wants to file an accident claim must first prove that the responsible party owed them a duty of care. This does not mean being exceptionally careful but simply using the same conduct that a reasonable person would apply in order to prevent causing harm to others in various circumstances. This is the expected level of care, and it is implicit for motor vehicle drivers using public roads from the moment they obtain their driving license.
Thus, in any instance of a car crash on public roads, the injured party does not have to do anything specifically to prove that the other party owed them a duty of care. However, this is just the first step in building a case and winning the maximum compensation allowed by law at the end of negotiating compensation for damages with the driver's insurance company.
How Comparative Negligence Laws Influence a Case
The state of Ohio relies on comparative negligence rules in determining whether a party has the right to seek compensation after vehicle accidents and other personal injury incidents. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer knows that their client must be less than 50% at fault for their accident. This is why it is extremely important to be completely honest during the initial consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer when you explain how the accident happened.
Each legal consultation with your attorney is protected by the rules of lawyer-client confidentiality. Thus, you can be certain that everything you say will not become public knowledge unless there is a legal requirement for a specific type of disclosure.
Are There Situations When the Pedestrian is At Fault in a Crosswalk Accident?
This is one of the most common questions a pedestrian accident lawyer hears. The simple answer is yes, there are cases when a pedestrian can be more than 50% at fault for the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to determine if this is your case during the personalized recommendations they make in your case.
Fault is determined under traffic law in Ohio, which determines the situations when the driver or the pedestrian has the right of way. These are the rules:
When Drivers Must Yield Right of Way
According to Ohio Revised Code 4511.46, a driver must give right of way to pedestrians:
- when a traffic control signal is not in place or in operation, and a pedestrian is crossing the road within a crosswalk
- when another vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross, any incoming or oncoming vehicle must also stop
- when a pedestrian is on a sidewalk, a driver will always yield the right of way
When Pedestrians Must Yield Right of Way
Ohio Revised Code 4511-48 states that pedestrians must give right of way to vehicles:
- when crossing a road at any point except for a marked crosswalk or intersection
- when crossing a road at a point where there is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing
- at any time and any place to vehicles involved in a funeral procession
- at any time and any place to emergency vehicles approaching with lights flashing and/or siren sounding
How to Know If You Have a Legal Claim if You Were Hit in a Crosswalk
Do you or the at-fault driver bear more than 50% of the responsibility for the accident? This is the key question you must answer. And it is very difficult to do so on your own. This is where an experienced Columbus pedestrian accident lawyer comes in handy.
Most personal injury lawyers are experienced in all types of motor vehicle accidents, most likely including ones similar to yours. They will analyze your statement and the available evidence and tell you if you can sue the driver for pain, suffering, and economic losses. A pedestrian accident lawyer also knows what types of things you may receive compensation for, some of these things you may not have thought of yourself. Thus, working with an attorney might help increase the amount of compensation you recover in your claim.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Columbus Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Babin Law is ready to offer you the best legal services and help you understand your legal rights after a pedestrian accident. We will assign your case to an experienced attorney and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free case review with us now: 833-SURVIVORS!