An injury suffered by a pedestrian on an interstate highway presents complex issues. Pedestrians have a legal duty under traffic laws to use an appropriate level of care to protect themselves. If a pedestrian's conduct fails to meet this standard and an injury on an interstate highway results, they may see their recovery reduced. They may even have their accident case precluded entirely.
Still, there are instances in which pedestrians injured on interstate highways may be entitled to recovery in a legal claim. A general negligence accident claim may be pursued against a motor vehicle driver at fault for causing an auto accident involving the injured pedestrian. A legal claim may also be possible against state or federal agencies responsible for designing:
- The highway
- Traffic signals
- Designated crosswalks
- Road construction
- Repairs and maintenance
These agencies have a duty of care toward anyone who could foreseeably use the highway. This is true even if a particular person, such as a pedestrian, is generally not permitted on a highway.
Accordingly, when a highway defect contributes to a pedestrian injury on the interstate, the agency and its contractors may have legal responsibility for failing to correct the defect. If you or a loved one are involved in a pedestrian accident on an interstate highway and have mounting medical bills after a serious injury, you should get the contact information of a personal injury attorney. They can discuss your claim and your legal rights with you.
Why Is There a Pedestrian on the Highway?
Pedestrian accidents on interstate highways are more common than you may think. Pedestrian fatalities on interstate highways are on the rise, per the NHTSA. Why would a pedestrian-car accident happen in the first place? The following are some possible scenarios.
Crossing or Entering
This may seem hard to believe because it is against the rules of the road, but one of the most common reasons for pedestrian injuries on the highway is jaywalking across it.
Given the speed of motorists on a highway, it is not surprising that traffic accidents happen because motorists don't have time to avoid hitting pedestrians. Many motor vehicle accidents happen because the driver doesn't even see the pedestrian until it is too late.
Walking in a Roadway After Dark
Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians can occur when they are walking on the roadway after dark. Contributing factors include suicidal behavior, driver inattention, and alcohol use.
Walking or Standing on the Shoulder
Pedestrians struck by vehicles while walking or standing on the shoulder on the side of the road also account for a percentage of pedestrian fatalities. In some cases, pedestrians may be on the roadway illegally. Driver error and driver distraction cause some of these crashes and pedestrian deaths.
Pushing or Working on Vehicles
Pedestrians may have mechanical problems with their own vehicles and may be either working on them or pushing them out of the roadway. These accidents usually involve driver inattention, sleepiness, or drunkenness.
Tending to or Involved in a Previous Crash
Pedestrians injured on interstate highways may be in the roadway because of a previous crash. In some instances, they are injured or thrown from their vehicles. In other cases, people may be exchanging information, inspecting crash damage, or waiting for help. These pedestrian accidents may result from a combination of inattentive driving and poor lighting on the roads.
Get Legal Advice From an Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured or suffered a wrongful death in a pedestrian accident on a U.S. interstate highway, you should first contact law enforcement. Then, seek immediate medical treatment.
After that, you may want to speak with a local car accident attorney to establish a client relationship. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you understand what the next steps should be for your injury claim. These personal injury lawyers can help you file an insurance claim and recover compensation for your injury.