By law, drivers are required to watch out for pedestrians and take reasonable measures to avoid harming them. Unfortunately, not all drivers take the law seriously, and some drivers try to avoid heavy traffic by driving on the sidewalk.
Driving on the sidewalk, which is meant solely for pedestrians, is not only unwise and reckless, it can be deadly as well. If a driver hits a pedestrian while attempting to drive on the sidewalk, they can be held liable for their carelessness in civil court. Injured pedestrians are entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. The monetary compensation can be used to cover medical bills and other accident-related expenses.
There are often other factors at play in pedestrian accidents. It can be hard to understand why a person would drive on the sidewalk, but the following factors often escalate an already dangerous situation:
• Speeding – Drivers who speed have less time to react to sudden changes in traffic flow. Abrupt reaction times can cause a person to drive on the sidewalk to avoid hitting the car in front of them.
• Distracted driving – With the popularity of mobile devices on the rise, the number of distracted driving accidents has also increased. When a driver is on the phone, eating, tampering with the radio, or applying makeup, their vehicle can easily veer onto the sidewalk and strike a pedestrian.
• Drug or alcohol use – A considerable percentage of traffic accidents are caused by drug or alcohol use. When a person takes drugs or alcohol, their perception changes, and they are unable to respond to sudden changes like a sober person would.
The injuries from a pedestrian accident can be life-threatening. Since pedestrians are largely unprotected, they can be seriously injured when they are struck by a moving, multi-ton vehicle. Injuries such as broken bones, concussions, lacerations, and ruptured organs are widespread, but they are rarely life-threatening.
More severe injuries, such as head trauma, internal bleeding, and spinal cord damage, are common when a car collides with a pedestrian at high speed. These injuries can be life-altering, and often, if a person survives such an injury, they will need lifelong medical care. Such care could be astronomically expensive.
Depending on the accident’s nature, the responsible driver may be held liable for the injuries related to the accident. The injured pedestrian may also be able to obtain compensation for non-physical damages like their pain and suffering.
An injured pedestrian could hold the responsible driver liable legally and financially. If they file a personal injury lawsuit against the reckless driver, they may obtain compensation for any injury-related expenses they have incurred. Depending on their case, a court may allow an injured party to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
A court can calculate economic damages, and they are meant to reimburse the injured party for any accident-related expenses. Such expenses include lost wages, medical bills, and in some cases, funeral costs.
Non-economic damages, such as punitive damages, are meant to punish the defendant and reimburse the injured party for emotional trauma. Non-economic damages are usually incalculable.
No motorist should ever attempt to drive on the sidewalk, especially when there are pedestrians around. Pedestrians injured by such reckless drivers need to take the time to understand their legal rights and hold those responsible for their injuries and loss liable. In the wake of a car accident, they should also contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as they can. Most of these lawyers work on a no-win-no-fee basis and the first consultation is usually free.