Between 2013 and 2017, pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 18.6 percent of traffic fatalities and 22.5 percent of serious injuries in Washington State. The number of pedestrians killed in Washington State has more than doubled since 2013, which makes liability of increasing concern. Of perhaps even greater concern are crosswalk accidents.
Who’s To Blame In a Crosswalk Accident?
If a driver hits a pedestrian in an area other than a crosswalk, then liability is almost always assigned to either the driver or pedestrian. For instance, if a pedestrian is walking in the middle of a roadway and they are hit by a driver who was going the speed limit and obeying all other traffic laws, then the pedestrian may actually be considered liable for the accident. If the driver leaves their assigned space and enters a pedestrian area, then the driver will most likely be held liable. In either case, there are only two parties that can potentially be held liable.
While crosswalks are intended to provide a safe passage lane for pedestrians to cross busy roadways, in truth, they are often fraught with hazards that make them not nearly as safe as they should be. They are also required to be adequately maintained and adhere to certain codes and standards, generally by a city or government entity. If they are not, then the entity responsible for maintaining the crosswalk can also be a potentially liable party. The more potentially liable parties that are involved in an accident, the more complicated any kind of compensation gets.
For example, suppose a motorist is making a right-hand turn while a pedestrian, who has the right-of-way, is crossing the street at night. If the street is not adequately lit, even if the driver stops before turning, they may not see the pedestrian crossing the street and may go ahead and turn and hit the pedestrian. In that case, liability for crosswalk accidents gets complicated. Is the driver liable, or is the city government liable for not providing or maintaining adequate lighting?
Contacting An Attorney
There is a number of complications that can lead to crosswalk accidents in Vancouver. That is why it is critically important for anyone involved in crosswalk accidents to call an attorney immediately. Insurance companies are infamous for trying to shift blame, and therefore liability, so you need someone in your corner who can take on not only the big insurance companies but potentially even the city.