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Pedestrians injuries and deaths have increased in North Carolina, prompting the state to fund the Watch for Me N.C. program to increase pedestrian safety. But those who are injured and the families of those killed have a legal remedy of their own. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you have the option of pursuing legal action, with the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney

A Chapel Hill pedestrian accident lawyer can work with you to pursue damages through legal action. 

Getting Started on a Pedestrian Accident Claim

A Chapel Hill pedestrian attorney can offer a free consultation to review the facts of the accident and evaluate if a lawsuit claiming damages is feasible. The attorney will also explain the law and legal processes involved without imposing any obligations. A pedestrian accident lawyer can work on contingency, which means the attorney’s fee is paid from the damages the attorney wins. If the lawsuit does not achieve any monetary damages, then no fee is charged.  

 

Pedestrian Safety Measures

The most dangerous conditions are pedestrians crossing without the benefit of a crosswalk or walking along the highway. State law requires pedestrians to yield the right of way to vehicles in those situations. To increase safety features, the state has moved up the yield lines at intersections, built pedestrian refuge islands, installed flashing beacons and yield for pedestrian signs, and made pavement marking improvements. 

Negligence Law

Harm to pedestrians is adjudicated under North Carolina’s contributory negligence doctrine, which bars recovery of damages if the pedestrian is in any way at fault in causing the accident, even if the person who hit the pedestrian has much more fault. 

The rationale for this strict negligence doctrine is that anyone who brings unreasonable risk to themselves is held responsible for what happens. 

Yet, the last clear chance doctrine, rules that if the pedestrian could not escape the impact after an act of negligence because of impending danger or peril, or that the motorist had an opportunity to avoid the pedestrian but failed to do so, then the pedestrian may claim damages. 

Proving Negligence

A Chapel Hill pedestrian accident lawyer needs to prove these elements of negligence law by a preponderance of the evidence: 

  • Duty of care: A person has a legal responsibility to act with caution and watchfulness toward individuals and the public to avoid causing injury or property damage
  • Breach: An action violating duty of care. An omission can also constitute a breach
  • Causation: The breaching act caused the accident
  • Proximate cause: A particular and foreseeable event occurred
  • Damages: Actual financial damages resulted

Possible Damages from a Pedestrian Accident

If all the elements of the law are proven, the pedestrian or the surviving family may file a lawsuit within three years of the accident claiming damages. Common damages are: 

  • Medical care and therapeutic treatments 
  • Loss of income, present and future 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Mental and emotional anguish 
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Funeral and burial expenses if deceased 
  • Punitive, if the negligence was horrendous, up to $250,000

How a Chapel Hill Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help

An attorney can investigate the accident, question all participants and witnesses, document the expenses incurred, calculate the amount of damages for lost future income and medical expenses, and prepare the case for trial. Many personal injury cases are settled among the parties. If this happens, the lawyer will negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the defendant’s insurance carrier. Contact an experienced Chapel Hill pedestrian accident lawyer who will advocate for you.