Motorists aren’t the only ones who make use of roadways; pedestrians also cross streets, make use of sidewalks, and otherwise end up near the road as well. Through reckless action, a vehicle-pedestrian collision may occur. When this happens, serious injuries can happen – especially for pedestrians for whom even a minor impact from a vehicle can result in serious personal injury requiring medical treatment. In cases such as these, it’s important to contact a skilled Montana pedestrian accident lawyer.
Montana Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 14% of all traffic fatalities are for pedestrians, as opposed to drivers or passengers in vehicles. In 2015, over 5,000 pedestrians died in automotive accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a car crash than vehicle occupants.
In Montana, roughly 10% of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians. These pedestrian accidents were more likely to occur at non-intersections and at night, or during low light conditions. Other pedestrian accidents occur at both intersections and other locations, such as parking lots and bicycle lanes.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Montana
Both motorists and pedestrians can be at fault for pedestrian accidents. In Montana, pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks and places where traffic signals are not in place. Everyone has a right to safely traverse roads, but that involves giving due consideration to motorists and pedestrians alike. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Driver failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Impaired driving
- Not appropriately adjusting to roadway conditions, such as inclement weather
- Distracted driving
- Violating traffic laws
- Not paying attention to traffic signals
- Pedestrians not using crosswalks
- Pedestrians suddenly darting out into the road
If either a driver of a motor vehicle or pedestrian acts outside of the expected right-of-way, a collision may occur. Because they may not fully understand traffic laws, children often enter roads at unpredictable times. However, drivers are also expected to exercise caution when children are present, especially in areas near schools and parks.
How Montana Pedestrians Can Stay Safe
While drivers should exert caution when driving, pedestrians can also do their part to avoid pedestrian accidents. Some safety tips include:
- Stay alert
- Use crosswalks
- Don’t use headphones
- Avoid construction areas
- Stay off your phone
- Obey all traffic signals
- Check for approaching vehicles, even when you have the right-of-way
- Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing
Paying attention to the surrounding area is essential for both motorists and pedestrians. When everyone has an eye on the road, it’s easier to prevent collisions.
Steps to Take After a Pedestrian Accident in Montana
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be facing extensive damages. It can be hard to take appropriate action, especially in such a stressful situation. If possible, you should:
- Call 911
- Get the driver’s contact and insurance company information
- Take pictures of the scene
- Gather witness information
- Keep track of all relevant forms and medical records
- Contact an attorney
Not all pedestrians can take these steps right away, especially at the scene of the pedestrian accident. Anyone who knows the injured pedestrian should take these steps for him or her, as having this information will make it easier to pursue a personal injury claim, if necessary.
Get Help from a Montana Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
Pedestrian accidents can alter someone’s life. Some injuries will never fully heal, and victims may need to spend substantial time in the hospital to recover, creating medical bills and lost wages. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, having an attorney on your side can help you receive proper compensation.
The personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Kovacich Snipes Johnson, P.C. have been protecting Montana residents for over 30 years. Our skilled team of Montana personal injury lawyers can help evaluate your case and inform you of your rights. Contact us for a free strategy session today.