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Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Serving North Carolina

aerial view of pedestrians walking in a crosswalk

A pedestrian accident lawyer at the Whitley Law Firm can help if you or a loved one was struck by a vehicle. These crashes tend to result in serious injuries or, in the worst-case scenario, the death of the pedestrian.

Being involved in an accident as a pedestrian is a traumatic experience. You may face significant costs as a result of your injuries, as well as permanent changes to the way you live your life.

Hiring a capable pedestrian accident attorney is essential for recovering the compensation you deserve. Clients of the Whitley Law Firm get the Whitley Advantage: wholehearted care, compassion, and commitment to doing what’s right and maximizing not only your financial recovery but your peace of mind.

Please call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 to speak to a Raleigh pedestrian accident lawyer. We serve clients throughout Wake County and all of North Carolina. It won’t cost anything to see if we can help, and you don’t pay unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

common causes of pedestrian accidents

What Is the Meaning of a Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian is defined as an individual who is on foot outside of an establishment, on a sidewalk, or on a road. With this in mind, then, a pedestrian accident is any type of accident where a person on foot is struck by a motor vehicle.

Pedestrian accidents may involve a number of different scenarios. A North Carolina pedestrian accident attorney can help with any of the following:

Each of these accidents involves unique legal challenges. A Raleigh pedestrian accident lawyer will have the local knowledge and experience you need to bring a successful claim against the careless driver of the vehicle.

Liability in Pedestrian Accident Cases

Determining liability is essential for the success of any pedestrian accident claim. Photos of the accident scene, witness testimony, the police report, and other evidence can all help to establish who is at fault.

There are several important issues your attorney will consider when it comes to pedestrian accident liability:

Is the Driver Liable for Negligence If the Pedestrian Sues?

Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care toward another. For example, drivers have a duty to be aware of pedestrian activity and use caution in areas where pedestrians may be crossing the road.

pedestrians in crosswalk crossing the road in front of a driver

Pedestrian accidents may be caused by a variety of different factors. In many cases, however, the driver can be held responsible for striking the pedestrian as a result of errors such as:

  • Excess speed. Speeding reduces the time drivers have to spot pedestrians and stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • Distracted driving. Cell phone usage and other distractions are a common cause of pedestrian accidents. Distracted drivers are not paying attention to the roadway (including crosswalks), making it more likely that the driver will strike a pedestrian.
  • Failure to yield. Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks (see North Carolina General Statutes § 20-173). Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for motorists to fail to yield. This can lead to serious injury and even death for the pedestrian.
  • Improper turning. Turning vehicles pose a particular danger to pedestrians. Drivers turning right or left may fail to look at the crosswalk in front of them and/or on the adjoining road before they turn, putting pedestrians in harm’s way.
  • Aggressive driving. Impatience or anger on the part of a motorist increases the risk of an accident. Issues such as speeding, ignoring stop signs and traffic lights, and other bad behaviors behind the wheel can result in an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
  • Back-up accidents. From backing out of a driveway to leaving a parking space, there is no shortage of scenarios where an inattentive motorist can hit a pedestrian while driving in reverse.
  • Driving under the influence. Alcohol and drugs adversely affect driving ability. Despite the wealth of information on the subject, people still make the irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel drunk or under the influence of drugs. The victims of impaired driving accidents usually pay the highest price, including pedestrians.
  • Visibility issues. Driving at night, in bad weather, and/or with sun glare can all reduce a driver’s visibility. When these issues occur, it is the driver’s responsibility to exercise additional caution. Failure to do so puts pedestrians and others at risk.
  • Lack of sidewalks. Pedestrian accidents often occur in more rural areas where there are no sidewalks. Both pedestrians and motorists alike have legal duties when no sidewalk or crosswalk is present (see North Carolina General Statutes § 20-174). If the pedestrian follows the rules but still gets struck by a vehicle, the driver can be held liable.

Although drivers are usually the ones responsible for accidents involving pedestrians, the pedestrian’s right to sue is not absolute. It is also important to take into account the potential negligence of the pedestrian in determining whether an accident claim is viable.

What Is Pedestrian Negligence?

Pedestrians may be assigned liability for a crash if they violate the traffic laws by jaywalking, going against traffic signals, or failing to yield to motor vehicles when crossing a road without a crosswalk. It is crucial for pedestrians to abide by North Carolina’s crosswalk rules.

A pedestrian may also be faulted for an accident if they were on a freeway or highway and failed to walk on the extreme left of the shoulder facing traffic coming from the opposite direction. Pedestrians may be left with no legal recourse if their failure to obey the law results in an accident.

What If Multiple Vehicles Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?

Most pedestrian accidents involve a single vehicle striking a lone pedestrian. However, it is not unheard of for multiple vehicles to be involved in a crash in which a pedestrian is seriously injured or killed (particularly at intersections).

A North Carolina pedestrian accident attorney will take into account the positioning of the vehicles, as well as their combined weight. Thorough investigation of these elements is essential for determining how the accident occurred and who is responsible.

pedestrian about to be struck by a vehicle while crossing the road at night

What Is the Role of Contributory Negligence in a Pedestrian Injury Case?

In North Carolina, any negligence at all would disqualify a personal injury plaintiff from collecting compensation. Despite suffering grievous, even life-threatening injuries in an accident, a pedestrian would not be able to be compensated if they were at fault in any way, regardless of how little their negligence contributed to the crash.

This is because of North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule. Even if a plaintiff is found to be a mere 1% at fault for the accident, for example, they forfeit the right to compensation.

It is of the utmost importance for pedestrians to be aware of the risk factors for pedestrian accidents and take steps to minimize their risks accordingly. This includes not only obeying the rules of the road but avoiding distractions, wearing bright-colored clothing when walking at night, and more.

Ultimately, staying safe while on foot doesn’t just reduce the risk of injury in a pedestrian accident. It also helps you preserve your legal rights if you are struck by a vehicle in Raleigh.

Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents

It should come as no surprise that pedestrians are at a significant risk of serious or catastrophic injury in a pedestrian accident. Some of the injuries our Raleigh pedestrian accident lawyers often see in these claims include:

Sadly, 12% of pedestrians involved in motor vehicle accidents do not survive their injuries. According to the 2020 Crash Facts report by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, nearly 250 pedestrians were killed in accidents in 2020 (the most recent year of data). This represents an increase of 7.8% from the previous year.

Certain individuals are at a higher risk of serious injury and death in pedestrian accidents. This includes children, the elderly, and people walking on roads without access to sidewalks and crosswalks. Despite the 100+ miles of trails in Raleigh’s greenway system, runners are another group that is more likely to be in a pedestrian accident.

You are not alone if a member of your family was struck and killed by a vehicle while on foot. A North Carolina pedestrian accident attorney can pursue compensation on your behalf through a wrongful death claim.

male pedestrian lying injured in the road next to his phone after an accident

Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident

Until you consult a lawyer, it is difficult to know how much your pedestrian accident claim may be worth. It is important to account for all of the damages you have sustained at present, as well as expenses and other losses you are likely to incur in the future.

Speaking to a knowledgeable lawyer is one of the most important steps to take after a pedestrian accident. Your attorney will collect the evidence needed to establish fault for the accident and accurately calculate the damages you may be entitled to in your claim.

A North Carolina pedestrian accident attorney can pursue compensation for the following losses:

  • Medical expenses, including the cost of hospital and emergency room care, surgery, rehabilitation, etc.
  • Lost income
  • The cost of travel for medical care and therapy
  • Household expenses (e.g., hiring professional services, modifications to your home, and home-based care)
  • Vehicle modification expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity, if you are no longer able to work after the pedestrian accident
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of the enjoyment of life

Pedestrian accident lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case and ensure that all of your losses are fully documented. Your attorney may also consult expert witnesses to provide strong support of the damages you claim.

How Do Pedestrian Accident Claims Work?

Once the at-fault driver has been identified, a Raleigh pedestrian accident lawyer can submit a claim demanding compensation to the driver’s insurance company. This typically initiates a series of settlement negotiations between your attorney and the insurer.

The damages in your claim will likely be higher than what the insurance company is willing to pay. Although your lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable settlement, it might be necessary to file a lawsuit and, eventually, take the case to trial.

Before going to trial, your case will go to mediation. The goal of mediation is to resolve disputes so the matter doesn’t have to be tried in court. It may be possible to come to an agreement on issues such as fault, liability, and damages during mediation. However, if key issues are still disputed or the other side will not agree to compensate you fairly, it may be necessary to proceed to trial.

Most personal injury claims are settled before ever going to trial. However, it is of the utmost importance to hire an attorney with extensive courtroom experience who can represent you at trial as needed.

Discover the Whitley Advantage.

What Is the Difference Between Pedestrian Accidents and Bike Accidents?

stylish young man walking his bicycle across a city street

Bicyclists in Raleigh typically have a lane of travel they are permitted to be in on the road. As long as they are following the traffic safety rules in their lane of travel, cyclists are generally not liable for motor vehicle accidents.

Pedestrian accidents are often more complicated. Disputes between the motorist and the pedestrian may arise concerning whether the pedestrian waited for the crossing signal, whether the pedestrian was actually in the crosswalk, and more.

North Carolina’s contributory negligence standard allows zero margin for error when it comes to fault in an accident. Whether you were on foot or on a bike, you need a knowledgeable North Carolina lawyer who can protect your right to compensation.

Contact a Raleigh Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in North Carolina

At the Whitley Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients rebuild their lives as much as possible in the wake of a pedestrian accident. It is important to make sure your financial needs are addressed, including your medical bills, lost earnings from work, and more, as well as the physical, mental, and emotional effects on your life as a whole.

The Whitley Advantage isn’t just one thing – it’s everything. It is a dedication not only to justice in your case but wholehearted care for you and your family when you need it most.

Our North Carolina pedestrian accident attorneys provide each of our clients with one-on-one attention. We have relationships with accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and other expert witnesses who help us build your case. Finally, we have a wealth of results that illustrate our commitment to going the extra mile for our clients.

Please call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today for a free consultation. Our pedestrian accident lawyers serve clients in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina.