Walking is more than just a leisure activity. It is becoming an increasingly popular way to exercise, commute, and help the environment. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission estimates that at least 25 to 30 percent of the state’s population use walking as one of their primary forms of transportation. There is no more prime location for pedestrians looking to stretch their legs than Yakima. The city and surrounding areas offer an abundance of beautiful scenery and fresh air, perfect for anyone looking to better their health or reduce their carbon footprint.
Yet, with the increasing popularity of the activity also comes the unfortunate side effect of more pedestrian-related accidents attributed to driver negligence. The Traffic Safety Commission finds that from 2011 to 2015, 1,992 pedestrians were injured in accidents with motorists. That number skyrocketed to 2,351 serious injuries for pedestrians between 2013 and 2017.
A pedestrian involved in a serious accident will almost certainly come away with serious, even traumatic injuries that may impact them for the rest of their life, both physically and financially. Paying for the immediate aftermath of the accident may be nothing compared to the long-term cost of coping with a life-altering injury. Will the negligent driver’s insurance company give you the compensation you need to deal with the potentially life-long repercussions of a serious accident?
The Yakima personal injury lawyers of Tamaki Law use the law to help accident victims recover the compensation they need to begin the process of putting their lives back together. Before you accept an insurance company’s settlement offer, talk to the experienced Yakima legal team at Tamaki Law. We can assess your case and discuss the crucial ways we may be able to help you. Contact us today at (509) 248-8338 to get started with a free consultation.
Pedestrian accidents are often violent and traumatic events that can re-shape a victim’s entire world and way of life. When 3,000 pounds of steel and glass crash into the human body, serious injuries are often unavoidable. While it is right that you should be focused on your immediate medical needs and recovery, too often, victims are unaware of the long-term costs that the accident may have. Their injuries may prevent them from working or even significantly alter their quality of life.
The money an insurance company may offer right after the accident can seem enticing, but they may be tempting you to settle for less than what your claim is truly worth. This is why it is so important to seek the help of an experienced Yakima pedestrian accident attorney.
A knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney can protect your rights and offer insights into the value of your claim. They can then negotiate on your behalf for the money that you deserve. In the end, an attorney will look out for your best interests, while the insurance company will look for ways to keep profits high and payouts low.
A skilled lawyer also brings more to the table than just their negotiating skills. An attorney can help you:
Unfortunately, the most common cause of pedestrian accidents comes down to basic negligence. When a driver fails to pay attention to their surroundings for any reason or fails to use due caution while operating a car, the result can be devastating. Distracted driving continues to top the list as one of the most irresponsible behaviors that lead to serious pedestrian accidents. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission estimates that at least 32 percent of pedestrian traffic deaths in the state involved a distracted driver.
Yet, this isn’t the only behavior that can leave a pedestrian with serious, even fatal, consequences. Some of the other common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
Pedestrian accidents can be fatal. In 2019, the Washington State Department of Transportation recorded 64 collisions with pedestrians in Yakima County. That number includes seven fatalities. Those that survive a run-in with a car or truck may have to face a life-long struggle of dealing with pain and complications from serious accident-related injuries. The sheer force of even a slow-speed impact can be bone-crushing.
Other injuries that are frequently seen in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can include:
A 2019 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association ranked Washington State as 21st in the nation for the most pedestrian traffic deaths. Washington has been trying to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths and serious accidents by implementing new safety initiatives and projects while also creating a Pedestrian Safety Advisory Council. In part, this council is tasked with studying the common causes associated with pedestrian accidents, while other organizations focus on targeting locations with past histories of pedestrian fatalities.
Some of the most notoriously dangerous areas for pedestrians are intersections, parking lots, and driveways. These are areas that both cars and pedestrians frequent. Drivers may not be exercising due caution or may be unable to see pedestrians in these areas, which can result in serious accidents. Just recently, local news outlets reported on an accident that left one person critically injured. The collision took place at the intersection of South 40th Avenue and Tieton Drive in the crosswalk.
Other particularly dangerous areas around Yakima include school zones and construction zones. These areas have numerous pedestrians frequenting the roads and sidewalks and can be hazardous areas for pedestrians when negligent drivers are present. Recently, a construction worker was killed on State Route 823 by a motor vehicle while she was working as a flagger.
Pedestrians involved in serious collisions with motor vehicles may be entitled to recover compensation. The total value of this compensation depends on the specific circumstances of the situation and can be dependent on the nature of the accident and the severity of the injuries involved. Generally, compensation will cover both economic damages, such as medical expenses, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. A complete compensation package may include money for the following:
Yet, the total value of a claim and what a victim ultimately walks away with can be two separate things. That is due to Washington’s “pure comparative fault” statute. This state law allows courts to take into consideration each party’s portion of responsibility in causing the accident in the first place. A percentage of liability is assigned to those involved in the crash, and the amount of compensation they may collect is impacted by that percentage. If a pedestrian was jaywalking and is found 20 percent responsible for causing an accident, they can recover the total amount of their total losses minus 20 percent.
Even at-fault parties are allowed to collect compensation under this model. A driver could be found 90 percent at fault for causing an accident, but they would still be able to collect the total amount of compensation due them minus 90 percent. Being the at-fault party, they, or their insurance company, would still be responsible for paying out the victim’s portion of the compensation.
While this law dictates how the courts must allocate compensation, it also heavily guides how insurance adjusters assess claims. Before putting a value on a claim, an adjuster will most likely base their final decision on how a court would end up ruling on the situation if the claim went to trial.
As the victim of a serious pedestrian accident, you may be feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed by your situation. The sheer volume of medical bills alone may have you worried about what the future holds and how you can stay afloat during this difficult time. At Tamaki Law, we understand that you’ve been thrust into an emotionally and financially draining situation, and that’s why we want to help. You deserve justice and fair compensation for your injuries. We can help you seek both and can do it on a contingent fee basis. That means we don’t get paid until you get paid.
To find out more about how we may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve, contact us at (509) 248-8338 today. We even offer a free consultation to review your situation and answer your questions. Reach out today, and let’s talk about your case.
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