What Happens If Someone Jumps In Front Of Your Car And Dies?
When you think of fatal car accidents, you probably think of those involving cars, passenger trucks, tractor-trailers, and other types of motor vehicles. Crashes like those happen every day. You probably don’t think about cars colliding with pedestrians, especially if the pedestrian causes the accident.
Such an accident can be traumatic for the fatally injured pedestrian, the driver of the car that hit them, and any witnesses. As the car’s driver, you may wonder if you’re responsible for the collision, the pedestrian’s death, and related expenses.
Every accident is different, and various factors combine to determine responsibility and fault. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, the Mike Morse Law Firm can help.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?
Pedestrians aren’t only those walking, jogging, or running. The term can also apply to those using wheelchairs, skates or roller blades, and motorized mobility devices. Contrary to what some people believe, pedestrians don’t always have the right of way and can be held responsible for causing traffic accidents.
Although pedestrians usually use sidewalks, there are times when they need to cross streets or walk on the side of a road. Many intersections, especially those in business districts or high-traffic areas, have crosswalks. Some are equipped with WALK/ DON’T WALK signals.
If crosswalks are present, pedestrians should only cross streets in those designated areas, following the WALK/ DON’T WALK instructions. If a pedestrian is still crossing a street when that signal changes, he or she retains the right of way until they reach the other side of the street. If there isn’t a nearby crosswalk, pedestrians can cross a street elsewhere as long as they travel straight across and yield to oncoming traffic.
The same concepts apply to people walking in parking lots. They should be aware of cars in parking rows and use designated areas to cross into stores or other facilities.
Why Would Anyone Walk in Front of a Car?
While most people wouldn’t deliberately walk in front of a moving car, they can do so accidentally and unintentionally. Unfortunately, fatal accidents can occur.
People might walk in front of a car due to:
- Distractions such as texting or talking on a phone, speaking to a companion, eating or drinking, daydreaming, and other actions that take their attention away from where they’re traveling
- Not looking before entering a traffic lane or being unaware of how and where they can cross
- Not paying attention to WALK/ DON’T WALK signals
- Chasing after a child, animal, ball, or other object that enters a street
- Thinking they have enough time to cross before an oncoming vehicle reaches them
- Someone pushing them
Regardless of the reason, pedestrians don’t have any protection if they’re hit by a car, and the injuries they sustain are often severe or fatal.
If a pedestrian walks in front of you when they don’t have the right of way, you may not be responsible for their injuries or death. However, an investigation will scrutinize your actions and theirs.
Did You Have Time to Avoid the Collision?
Even if you as a car driver have the right of way, you should try to avoid colliding with pedestrians who suddenly appear in front of you. If you reasonably have enough time to take evasive actions but fail to do so, you may share responsibility for the collision.
You might be partially at fault if you were guilty of:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Failing to follow traffic laws
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Many of those actions can cause delayed reaction times. Others, like speeding, can make preventing a collision impossible. If you hadn’t been speeding, you might have been able to avoid hitting the pedestrian. Law enforcement agencies and insurance company investigators will look into how the collision happened to determine who was responsible.
If you’re assigned any degree of fault, you may face legal repercussions and be liable for paying some of the damages caused by the collision in a wrongful death lawsuit. Because of these very real possibilities, you need to have a competent attorney on your side.
What Are the Phases of a Pedestrian Accident Injury?
When a vehicle hits a person, there are typically three separate phases of impact for the pedestrian. Different types of injuries can occur during each phase.
The car’s bumper will probably hit the pedestrian in the knee or at some point on their leg. The pedestrian’s body can then hit the hood and their head may strike the windshield in secondary impacts.
The initial impact points can vary if the pedestrian is a child, a shorter-than-average adult, or using a wheelchair. The vehicle’s speed and body style may also affect how and where the pedestrian’s body comes into contact with it.
After the pedestrian’s body is fully impacted by the car, it can be thrown upward or to one side or the other. The vehicle’s speed and any evasive maneuvers can influence the direction the body moves.
At some point, the pedestrian will hit the ground. This impact can create new injuries or exacerbate others. Another possibility is that you or another vehicle may run over them.
In many pedestrian accidents, the most severe injuries happen when the head hits the windshield or the ground; if the head hits both, these injuries are even worse and more likely to be life-threatening.
How Can an Attorney Help?
As with any kind of car accident that involves injuries or fatalities, a thorough investigation is required. You probably don’t have the resources or knowledge of applicable laws and the types of evidence to look for to conduct it properly.
When you hire the Mike Morse Law Firm to represent you, we will:
- Provide you with legal advice
- Perform a thorough investigation
- Gather evidence
- Speak to insurance company representatives on your behalf
- Work to protect your interests, even if you share part of the blame for causing the collision
- Be present during police interviews
One of the most critical pieces of advice we can give to anyone involved in an accident is that you should never admit to any degree of fault. Even saying that you’re sorry can be used against you.
If you were driving a car and killed a pedestrian, even if the collision was unavoidable, you’ll likely experience confusion, shock, and feelings of guilt and disbelief. After calling the police to report the accident, one of the next calls you should make is to a competent attorney. People may assume that you are responsible for causing the accident, and you’ll benefit from the information, advice, and support you’ll receive from your lawyer.
Why Should You Choose the Mike Morse Law Firm?
The Mike Morse Law Firm is the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan, and we have used our knowledge and experience to win over $1 billion for our clients. We understand that you will probably have questions as your case progresses, and you’ll always have access to your attorney.
Contact the Mike Morse Law Firm today to see how we can help you. Someone is available to speak to you 24/7, so there’s no point in waiting. Call us at 855-MIKE-WINS or (855) 645-3946, reach out using our confidential live chat, submit our quick contact form, or email us. We’ll respond quickly.