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Omaha Pedestrian Accident Lawyers


Protecting the Rights of Injured Pedestrians

Most drivers are automatically on the lookout for other cars, but they may not give the same attention to pedestrians. In most pedestrian accidents, the driver may not have seen or noticed that the pedestrian was there until it was too late.

Pedestrian accidents are highly preventable, and it is the responsibility of the pedestrian and the driver to ensure no incidents occur.

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How Drivers Cause Pedestrian Accidents

Even though the laws in Nebraska are designed to protect pedestrians, car and truck drivers frequently ignore pedestrian in protected areas such as crosswalks. In fact, it’s common for drivers to creep into the crosswalk at an intersection without even looking for pedestrians, and drivers making right-hand turns are likely to be negligent about looking before entering a crosswalk. Failure to yield at intersections is a major cause of accidents even when crosswalks are clearly marked, and the pedestrian has the right-of-way. Drivers making left-hand turns can also be careless about noticing pedestrians.

Pedestrian-related automobile accidents are usually caused by reckless drivers. That’s because pedestrians know they must look out for cars, but drivers are often heedless about the rights of pedestrians. Intoxicated driving is a well-known contributing factor when it comes to automobile accidents. Speeding, making unsafe turns, and not slowing down to protect children in school zones or where a school bus is present are just some of the other ways drivers ignore the rights of others.

These risks are compounded during bad weather. When drivers fail to take note of weather conditions that impair their ability to see pedestrians, the results can be tragic. It’s essential to slow down when fog, rain, snow, or ice reduce visibility and increase the stopping distance.

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Pedestrian Dangers in a Parking Lot

Many factors can lead to a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle in a parking lot. That’s because any time you have pedestrians walking among cars, it creates a dangerous situation. Drivers are often in a hurry to get to their destination, and they aren’t always looking out for pedestrians when searching for a space. Backing up is a particularly hazardous activity where pedestrians are present. Traffic laws are rarely enforced in parking lots because there usually isn’t a specific person assigned to it.

Speeding and aggressive behavior are common, and tempers often flare over confusing right-of-way laws. Plus, visibility for both drivers and pedestrians is seriously impacted by rows of parked vehicles. If you’re a pedestrian in a parking lot, take your time and be sure your path is clear. The same is true for drivers, who must be even more careful: walkers can emerge suddenly from between parked cars, seemingly out of nowhere. Speed limits should be posted and followed; generally, between 5–15 mph. But in Nebraska, the law is "No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing…special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians."

The store or city entity that owns or operates the parking lot does have some responsibility in all this. While drivers are expected to use common sense in watching out for pedestrians, sometimes that is not enough. After a vehicle–pedestrian collision, a parking lot’s owner could additionally be held liable, if, for example:

  • Proper signage is scarce, which results in dangerous conditions.
  • Dim lighting causes low visibility, which leads to dangerous conditions or hides dangerous conditions from sight.
  • The parking lot lacks crosswalks or paths giving pedestrians safe access to the store’s entrance.
  • The parking lot features risky and dangerous conditions that can lead to slip-and-falls, trip-and-falls, and other injuries.

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If You Are in a Pedestrian Accident

Mistakes happen sometimes, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. If an accident does occur, remain calm and follow these steps:

  • Immediately call 911 if anyone is injured.
  • Make sure that you are out of the way of traffic and in a safe place.
  • File an accident report with the police.
  • Contact your insurance company and exchange information with the motorist.
  • Do not admit or imply fault.

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Determining Fault

"Negligence" means a person committed a careless act or unlawful behavior. Once an accident occurs, fault is determined based by the negligence of the parties. Since a pedestrian accident can be fatal or cause serious injuries to the pedestrian, it is important to be an alert driver. Examples of driver fault include:

  • Running a red light
  • Not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign
  • Speeding
  • Driving off the roadway
  • Distracted driving (texting, talking on the phone, using GPS, watching a movie!, etc.)

Examples of pedestrian fault may include:

  • Jaywalking
  • Being in the crosswalk when they’re not supposed to be
  • Walking on the road instead of the sidewalk

If both parties are at fault for the accident, the outcome in a lawsuit varies from state to state. Most states, including Nebraska, go by the "comparative fault rule." This means that the payment amount to the pedestrian will diminish based on his or her percentage of fault, if any, in the accident. There are some states that go by the "pure contributory negligence rule" which means that if the pedestrian is at fault in any way, then he or she is responsible for paying for his or her own damages and injuries.

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Why You Need an Attorney Who Focuses on Pedestrian Accidents

Unlike automobile passengers, pedestrians don’t have cars with seatbelts and airbags to protect them. Fatal accidents are common, as are cases with serious injury. Even if your pain may appear to be minor at first, the full extent of your injuries can become more apparent over time. In addition to paying for medical care, you may also face a long period of rehabilitation when you are unable to work. An experienced pedestrian accident firm like our team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. will walk you through the claim process and calculate the total amount of damages you are facing. This will include one or more of the following expenses:

  • Physical Pain and Emotional Distress
  • Paid or Outstanding Medical Bills
  • Permanent Disability Costs
  • Future Healthcare Costs
  • The Loss of a Loved One
  • Reduced Quality of Life
  • Rehabilitative Care

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Bottlinger Law L.L.C.—We’re Here to Help

At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we know this is a difficult time in your life, and that’s why we listen to your concerns with compassion. We handle cases in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, and throughout the Midwest. To determine which laws apply to your case, contact our office today at (402) 505-8234 today and speak with an experienced Omaha automobile accident attorney. We will do everything we can to get you the best possible settlement.

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Additional Information

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Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with attorney Jason Bottlinger.