Omaha Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
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.
Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings and not drive too closely behind bikes, rollerblades, scooters, or skateboards as it may be harder for them to stop at intersections. Watch out for distracted pedestrians, and pay attention to younger children and older adults as they may not know or be aware of traffic laws. Be sure to give them enough time to get across the street. Make eye contact so they know that you see them. If you are ever unsure of whose turn it is to go, always give the right of way to the pedestrian.
Pedestrians must obey all crosswalk and traffic laws and always look both ways before crossing the street. Put away all distracting items while you are crossing to ensure that you are fully aware of your surroundings. As a pedestrian, you are vulnerable and not protected by metal and padding like a car driver is, and a car accident could be fatal or cause serious injuries.
Pedestrian Dangers in a Parking Lot
When vehicles are circling, looking for parking, and there are people everywhere on foot, accidents are only a breath away. Many factors can lead to a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle in a parking lot. Traffic laws aren’t always enforced, because oftentimes there is no specific entity to do so.
Speeding and aggressive behavior are common, and tempers often flare over confusing right-of-ways. 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 have to 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.
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.
"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
- Driving off the roadway
- Distracted driving (texting, talking on the phone, using GPS, watching a movie!, etc.)
Examples of pedestrian fault may include:
- Being in the crosswalk when they’re not supposed to be
- Walking on the road instead of the sidewalk
Who Pays for Pedestrian Accidents?
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.
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we handle cases in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, and throughout the Midwest. To determine which rules apply to your case, contact our office today at (402) 505-8234 to speak with an Omaha vehicle accident lawyer. We will provide you with excellent service and work diligently to see that you receive the best result possible.
- Pedestrian Safety - CDC
- Traffic Safety Facts - Pedestrians
- Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics
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