The Highway Code classifies pedestrians, along with cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders, as vulnerable road users. It's easy to understand why. Any of these types of road user are likely to come off much worse in a collision between themselves and a four-wheeled vehicle. Pedestrian accidents often lead to serious injury claims being made.
Pedestrians are perhaps the most vulnerable of all road users. That is particularly so, where child pedestrians are concerned. The Highway Code takes this into account in rule 205, where it warns other road users that :
'There is a risk of pedestrians, especially children, stepping unexpectedly into the road. You should drive with the safety of children in mind at a speed suitable for the conditions.'
Whenever there are road traffic accidents involving pedestrians, the risk of serious injury is high. If this type of accident is caused by the negligence of the other road user involved, then the pedestrian is within their rights to contact a personal injury solicitor with a view to making a pedestrian accident compensation claim.
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The latest Department of Transport figures for road deaths were published in September 2019 and covered the year 2018. The statistics reveal that 456 pedestrians died on the roads in that year. This number constituted 26% of all road deaths in 2018.
Overall pedestrian casualties for the year, including those seriously injured and slightly injured, totalled 22,432. All these statistics were ones that were reported to the police.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of another party to the accident, then you stand a reasonable chance of making a successful injury claim.
Road users of all types owe a 'duty of care' to each other. This means that each has a responsibility to use the roads in a manner that is not likely to put other road users in any kind of danger.
When this use of the road falls below a reasonable standard and injury to another party is the result, then the injured party will often make a claim.
Below are some of the more common causes of pedestrian accidents:
Pedestrians have a responsibility to act in a safe manner when they are on or around the road.
Nevertheless, it's rare that vehicle drivers are likely to be found wholly blameless if they are involved in a collision with a pedestrian. This is the case even if the pedestrian falls down in their own duty of care to other road users e.g. if they attempt to cross a road from between parked vehicles. Vehicle drivers are held to a higher standard of duty of care to pedestrians than pedestrians are to drivers.
Why? Because motor vehicles can cause pedestrians a good deal more harm through their negligence than pedestrians can to vehicles and their drivers, through their negligence.
Pedestrians may in some cases be considered partly to blame. This is known as 'contributory negligence'. However, the greater onus is still on the driver to avoid colliding with the pedestrian.
Pedestrian Accident Claim Case Study:
Spencers Solicitors client, S, was crossing the road to get back to her car after a shopping trip. The road was a duel carriageway and although there was a pedestrian crossing a little further down the road, as the traffic lights had changed to red, S thought it would be safe to cross the road in-between cars to get to the other side.
S safely crossed the first lane of traffic but then was unfortunately hit by the Defendant’s vehicle in the second lane, causing S to hit the windshield. She suffered multiple lacerations and fracture injuries, including to the skull and leg.
After obtaining expert accident reconstruction evidence, Spencers Solicitors were able to secure an admission of liability from the Defendant.
S was taken to Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham where she was on the major trauma ward after being moved from the High Dependency Unit.
S suffered multiple fractures to pelvis, and left leg and had to underdo several operations, including the leg being pinned and framed and a skin graft. S also suffered a blood clot on the brain and a skull fracture. Due to this, S had lost the sense of smell and taste and noticed a significant loss of hearing from the right ear.
S had to pay for her own carers to come out 3 times a day. She also had to buy support equipment, including a wheelchair, and paid a cleaner to help complete jobs around the house. S relied heavily on friends and family to help with care and housework. S paid for hearing aids, privately.
The case was settled for £135,000. There was no specific breakdown as the offer was made on a global basis. Our client’s pain, suffering and loss of amenity was valued in the region of £70,000 - £80,000.
Crossings are designated areas of the road where people walking, have priority over other road users when they want to cross the road. Whilst these dedicated crossings are designed to improve road safety for all of its users, unfortunately they can still be the scene of pedestrian accidents.
All road users are expected to understand the differences in the functioning of each type of road crossing. Brief explanations of how to distinguish between and correctly use some of the most popular types are outlined below:
Zebra Crossings are normally identified as a black and white path on the road surface with beacons or poles at either end of the path. Pedestrians are given right of way, and any oncoming vehicles should stop to allow pedestrians waiting to cross at a zebra crossing. They must stop if the pedestrian has already placed a foot on the crossing.
Pelican Crossings are controlled by traffic lights. Pedestrians push a button on a pole on the pavement next to the crossing when they want to cross. When the pictogram on the pole on the opposite side of the road changes from red to green, it is an indication that it is safe for the pedestrian to cross, as the traffic lights controlling the crossing have changed to red.
Walking to school is a great way to keep children active, but they are considered to be amongst the most vulnerable of all road users. Children often misjudge the speed and distance of vehicles and have a lack of road safety awareness. Their parents are responsible for keeping them safe, on and around roads.
Rachel Brown, a lawyer and member of Spencers Solicitors road traffic accident team, shared a number of useful tips about child road safety for parents, in her blog "The Short School Walk - Keeping Your Child Safe".
If your child has been injured in a road traffic accident, then it is possible to bring a pedestrian compensation claim on their behalf, against the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident.
Until a child reaches the age of 18, they are not able to make compensation claims themselves. An adult has to do this on their behalf. This person is called a 'litigation friend'. Usually, this person will be the child's parent or guardian.
It would be the 'litigation friend' who would make the pedestrian accident injury claim, on behalf of the child.
The claim can be made immediately following the accident or at any time up until the child becomes an adult when they become 18 years. In reality though, it would be wise to make the claim as soon after the accident as possible, so that evidence can easily be gathered from witnesses and up to date medical evidence of the child’s injuries can be obtained.
If you are an adult who was hit by a car as a child but never sought legal advice or compensation, you may still be able to make a claim. You must do this within 3 years of reaching the age of 18, otherwise it will be too late to claim. To find out more please read our guide can I make a claim for injuries sustained as a child?
Uninsured drivers are the bane of all other road users lives. It's estimated that in 2018 there were in excess of 95,000 uninsured drivers in England and Wales. More than 26,000 injuries were caused by those uninsured drivers in the same year.
Were it not for a body known as the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), it's probable that you would go without compensation.
However, the MIB is a body that is funded by all the motor insurance companies in the UK. It pays out personal injury compensation to the innocent victims of both uninsured and untraced drivers.
Our specialist pedestrian injury solicitors will be able to provide more comprehensive information and legal assistance to you if you been injured in an accident where the other party was uninsured or drove away from the scene of the accident.
Our specialist teams will guide you through the process, ensuring you receive the support and compensation you deserve.
If you are worried about having to pay legal fees if you lose, don't be. Pedestrian accident claims are normally dealt with under a no win no fee arrangement.
Don't forget that all personal injuries have to be brought within certain time limits. In the case of pedestrian accidents, you have three years from the date of the accident that caused your injuries, within which to start your claim. There are specific rules about how long children and people suffering from a disability have, within which to start your claim. Our solicitors will be happy to explain this in more detail , when you call us.