It saves money, protects the environment, prevents disease, reduces stress, and keeps waistlines trim. Additional studies suggest it can even eliminate the need for medications, reduce breast cancer risk, prevent dementia and improve sex lives. This is just a sample of the many benefits of walking. While walkers will occasionally confront a bit of muscle stiffness or even a twisted ankle, pedestrian traffic accidents are a much more frightening prospect. As a Panama City pedestrian accident lawyer, Attorney Wes Pittman works with his team to protect pedestrians when the negligence of others turns a walk from a healthy alternative into a tragic event.
Last Friday, as detailed by WJHG, an accident injured both a pedestrian and a driver at the intersection of Highway 77 and 23rd Street in Panama City. Police report that a car turning east onto 23rd Street clipped the rear of a sports utility vehicle. The impact caused the SUV to roll onto its side and slide along the road, hitting a pedestrian before colliding with the pedestrian signal and a traffic light control box. Paramedics transported both the pedestrian and the SUV's driver to Bay Medical Sacred Heart.
According to the Traffic Safety Facts sheet produced by the National Highway Safety Administration, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes in the United States in 2010. Looking at these figures another way, a pedestrian was injured every 8 minutes and a pedestrian died every 2 hours as a result of traffic accidents.
Pedestrian accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from the relatively simple to the life-changing and life-ending. Some of the more common injuries suffered by pedestrians in traffic accidents include: contusions/abrasions, blood loss, fractured/broken bones, head/brain injury, and spinal cord injuries. The wide range of economic losses tied to pedestrian injuries includes medical bills, lost wages, and the need for household assistance or even renovations to make a home handicapped-accessible in the case of long-term injury. Victims are also left with "non-economic" results tied to coping with severe pain and the mental suffering that follows an accident.
In many cases, the cause of pedestrian accidents boils down to one basic problem: negligent driving. This general cause encompasses accidents involving speeding, failure to yield, distracted driving, and impaired driving. Another general problem is the failure of drivers to adapt their behavior to the situation, such as slowing for school zones and exercising increased vigilance in areas with a high level of pedestrian traffic.
Pedestrian behavior can also be a factor in traffic accidents. Walking between parked cars, crossing against the light or outside of crosswalks, and failing to pay attention to traffic conditions are just a few of the pedestrian behaviors that can contribute to an accident. However, injured pedestrians should remember that the law will protect even imperfect victims.
If driver negligence played a role in a pedestrian accident, the victim may have a legal claim even if the pedestrian's own behavior contributed to the incident. This is the result of a system known as comparative negligence. Under this framework, the victim's own fault is not a bar to recovery. Instead, the victim's fault comes into play in the calculation of damages. A court will look at the percentage of fault attributable to the victim and reduce the amount of damages awarded by that same percentage.
At The Pittman Firm, we are pro-walking and pro-walker. This means we support planning efforts that make our communities pedestrian friendly. It also means a commitment to serving as a law firm for Panama City pedestrians when the negligence of drivers or others leads to serious pedestrian accidents. Please call if we can put our expertise to work for you.