Pedestrian Accident Claims

Whenever there are road traffic accidents involving pedestrians, the risk of injury is high. If this type of accident is caused by the negligence of another road user, then the pedestrian is within their rights to contact a personal injury solicitor.

Nick Tunnicliffe

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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.'

How many pedestrians were killed or injured on the UK's roads in the last year?

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.

Can I claim after being involved in a pedestrian road traffic accident?

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:

  • Motorists going too fast
  • Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Drivers driving without due care and attention e.g. getting distracted - often by using their mobile phones illegally
  • Drivers ignoring or unable to stop in time for traffic control or pedestrian crossings
  • Cyclists riding on pavements or in public areas
  • Hit and run incidents, when the driver didn't stop at the scene

Can a pedestrian ever be at fault for a road accident?

Pedestrians have a responsibility to act in a safe manner when they are on or around the road.

  • The public should walk on the pavement, not the road, unless there are no pavements. Where there are no pavements, they should walk on the side of the road that is facing the oncoming traffic and walk as close to the side of the road as possible.
  • They should cross the roads only when it's safe to do so.
  • Parents with young children should keep them closely supervised whilst walking with them on the pavement or whilst crossing roads. They should follow the Green Cross Code.

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 Crossings

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 Crossing

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 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.

Child Pedestrian Safety

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".

My child got hit by a car - can I claim?

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?

What if the driver of the vehicle that hits me is uninsured or they drive off without me getting their details?

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.

What happens if I'm injured in a pedestrian accident by an uninsured or untraced driver?

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.

Why choose Spencers solicitors to help you with your pedestrian accident claim?

  1. We are personal injury specialists.
  2. Our personal injury solicitors are highly experienced in helping the victims of pedestrian accidents to make pedestrian accident injury claims.
  3. We know the claims process inside out and have used our expertise to help the victims of road traffic accidents to recover many millions of pounds of compensation. We've even helped some individual clients to reach multi-million-pound settlements for their personal injury claims.
  4. We'll ensure that your compensation amount covers general damages for pain and suffering and also special damages to cover losses such as loss of earnings, travel expenses and the cost of any private medical treatment that you have had as a result of the accident.

How to make a pedestrian accident compensation claim

Our specialist teams will guide you through the process, ensuring you receive the support and compensation you deserve.

Call us today on 08000 93 00 94 to discuss your pedestrian injury claim with one of our legal advisors or complete an online enquiry form and we'll call you back.

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.

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