The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) rightly touts the benefits of walking as a form of exercise and as a practical, inexpensive way to commute to work and school. After all, “walking can improve personal and environmental health, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance one’s quality of life.” In Seattle, pedestrian traffic continues to increase.
Unfortunately, and despite the fact that every one of us is a pedestrian virtually every day, walking on and around Seattle streets comes with significant dangers. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) reports that between 2005 and 2016, the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities trended upwards. That trend seems to have held in Seattle in 2017, with 11 pedestrian traffic fatalities and 62 pedestrian serious injuries that year.
If Seattle-area pedestrian traffic accident has left you injured or mourning the tragic loss of a loved one, then you may have legal rights to damages as compensation for your losses. Contact the compassionate, dedicated pedestrian accident attorneys at Boohoff law today to learn more.
Contact us today – call (877) 999-9999 or email us. We’re available 24/7!
Why Choose Boohoff Law’s Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Attorney Tatiana Boohoff and her team of experienced lawyers at Boohoff Law have a long combined track record of success, having represented clients in a wide range of personal injury matters, including those who fell victim to pedestrian accidents. For more than a decade, Boohoff Law operated out of offices in Florida. In 2019, the firm moved its operations to Seattle, bringing with it a well-earned reputation as a fierce and determined advocate for injured victims in and out of state and federal courts. The Boohoff Law team takes special pride in its focus on client service and its responsiveness to client needs.
Attorney Boohoff is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, a top-ranked institution that trains some of the very best litigators in the country. Under her leadership, Boohoff Law concentrates its efforts exclusively on representing clients who have suffered significant injuries or have had a loved one taken from them in a tragic accident.
About Pedestrian Accidents
There is no sugar-coating the devastation a pedestrian accident can inflict. When a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the pedestrian loses every time. Many pedestrians die from their injuries in these accidents. Those who survive frequently face a life cruelly transformed by new and painful challenges and disabilities. When someone else’s carelessness or recklessness is to blame for that suffering, injured pedestrians and their loved ones need strong, aggressive, capable legal representation to protect and pursue their rights in and out of court.
Common Characteristics of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents usually stem from a combination of environmental factors and behaviors on the part of drivers and pedestrians. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects data about fatal pedestrian accidents nationwide, offering the public an important perspective on where, when, and how pedestrian accidents occur.
Where. According to the NHTSA data, the majority of cycling fatalities happen in urban areas and on roads or at intersections. A significant number of the pedestrian accidents that occur in Seattle happen in the Pike Place, Downtown, First Hill, and Pike Pine areas, although pedestrians are at risk all over the city.
When. The national data show that 75 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur when it is dark, with most happening in the evening or before midnight. In Seattle, three-quarters of pedestrian collisions happened at intersections, and usually in a marked cross-walk.
How. National and WTSC data show that driver distraction and alcohol use constitute significant factors in fatal pedestrian traffic accidents. Although men account for a large portion of the victims of pedestrian accidents nationally, that distinction disappears in Seattle, with all residents equally at risk of a pedestrian traffic accident according to 2017 statistics. In the bulk of these Seattle accidents, the driver was driving straight or making a left turn.
The prevalence of pedestrian accidents at Seattle intersections, in marked crosswalks, reflects the growing risk of distraction for pedestrians on American roadways. As smartphone use has exploded over the past decade, drivers and walkers alike find themselves engrossed in their screens at moments when their attention should be elsewhere. Crosswalks, in theory, should be safe spaces for pedestrians, and yet their danger to pedestrians suggests just how common it is for one or more people involved in a pedestrian traffic accident to be distracted.
The team at Boohoff law wants to remind you: distracted driving is illegal in Washington State, and distracted walking in crosswalks can be deadly. Please exercise caution when using your screens while moving!
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian traffic accidents are often fatal, because of how vulnerable pedestrians are to an impact with a vehicle and/or the road surface. Pedestrians lucky enough to survive a traffic accident may nevertheless face a lifetime of disabling injuries and pain. There is no limit to the trauma a collision between a pedestrian and a vehicle can cause, but some of the more common injuries pedestrians sustain in these accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries resulting in long-term impairment, coma, or limited consciousness;
- Spinal cord injuries that cause partial or total paralysis, leaving victims unable to walk or move;
- Crushed or traumatically amputated limbs, particularly if the vehicle runs over the pedestrian;
- Extreme lacerations from sliding along the road surface, which can cause disfigurement and require lengthy and painful surgery and rehabilitation;
- Broken bones and orthopedic injuries, especially injuries to extremities that twist in, or brace for, impact; and
- Severe internal and soft tissue damage resulting from the violent force of a collision between a human and a vehicle.
Pedestrian accident injuries may heal in the long-term, but many do not. Full recovery for many pedestrian accident victims means a lifetime of physical therapy and ongoing care. When a Seattle pedestrian accident attorney pursues damages on behalf of a client injured as a pedestrian, one of the attorney’s most important tasks is to investigate the severity of the injuries and their prognosis for full recovery, so as to make sure client recovers adequate funds from legally liable parties to cover long-term medical needs.
Common Parties With Legal Liability for Pedestrian Accidents
How a pedestrian accident happens and the type of injuries it inflicts are just two of the many issues an experienced Seattle pedestrian accident attorney must contend with in representing her injured client. Another important job is to figure out who owes damages to the injured pedestrian. The attorney will typically conduct an investigation to identify every person and entity with potential legal liability. Some of those may be obvious from the circumstances of an accident, but many are less so. In a typical pedestrian accident case in Seattle, the parties with potential legal liability to the injured pedestrian may include:
Motorists. Obviously, Seattle drivers have a duty to drive in a manner that keeps pedestrians safe and yields the right of way to them in nearly every circumstance. A driver who enters a Seattle intersection distracted by a phone, or speeding, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, will likely face legal liability to a pedestrian in a collision (not to mention criminal liability for violating Washington law).
Commercial/governmental vehicle operators. If a commercial or municipal entity operates the vehicle that strikes a pedestrian, that entity may have legal liability for its driver’s negligent or reckless actions.
Government road agencies and their contractors. Local and state governments, and their private contractors, have a duty to design and maintain safe public streets in and around Seattle. That duty includes keeping city streets and intersections safe for pedestrians by designing intersections with logical traffic flows, clear sight lines, and well-marked, well-located crossings. When a state or municipal entity fails in this task, and a pedestrian gets hurt, the entity may have legal liability.
Bars and restaurants. When the car of a driver operating under the influence of alcohol hits a pedestrian, the bar or restaurant that served the driver may have liability for the pedestrian’s injuries if, in serving the driver, the bar or restaurant violated the State’s dram shop law.
This is hardly a complete list. The circumstances of every pedestrian accident differ based on their time, location, and the parties involved. To make sure you identify every party who may have liability to you for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, the smart decision is to retain an experienced Seattle pedestrian accident attorney with the know-how to spot all of the potential sources of liability in your particular case.
Common Damages for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Washington State law gives victims of pedestrian accidents and, in the case of a fatal accident, their representatives, the right to take legal action seeking compensation for their injuries and losses. Lawyers call these compensatory damages, and they fall into two broad categories in Washington: economic (or special) damages, and non-economic (or general) damages.
Economic damages compensate an accident victim for fixed, identifiable costs tied to the accident and the injuries it caused. They include:
- Un-reimbursed medical bills;
- Chronic or long-term care costs;
- Assistive medical devices and home modifications;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages from time off from work while recovering; and
- Lost income or employment opportunity due to injuries and disabilities.
Parties with legal liability for causing injuries may have the right to pay economic damages in installments according to Washington law.
Non-economic damages compensate a pedestrian accident victim for so-called subjective injuries that are more difficult to value. They can include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Damage to personal relationships (a.k.a. loss of consortium/companionship/parent-child relationship); and
- Negative impacts on quality of life.
In contrast to many other jurisdictions around the country, Washington State caps non-economic damages at 43 percent of the average annual wage in Washington multiplied by the pedestrian’s life expectancy at the time of the collision (which cannot be less than 15 years). Washington law also generally bars a court from awarding punitive damages.
Serious Injury Pedestrian Crash Statistics in King County
Pedestrian Accident FAQs
Why are Seattle pedestrian accidents so dangerous?
When you’re moving around Seattle on foot, it can be enjoyable and beneficial, as you are getting in some healthy exercise and minimizing your carbon footprint. When you are a pedestrian, however, you are also far more vulnerable to serious injuries than you would be in nearly any other kind of traffic accident. As a pedestrian, nothing comes between you and the impact of a traffic accident, and this fact greatly increases your risk of being seriously injured—or worse—in a pedestrian accident. In fact, pedestrian accidents are among the deadliest traffic collisions.
What do pedestrian accident statistics reveal?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares some startling statistics related to pedestrian accidents that highlight exactly how dangerous they are, including:
- In one year, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents, which translates to about one fatality every 88 minutes in the United States.
- That same year, about 137,000 pedestrians across the country were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents.
- Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely—per trip—to be killed in a traffic accident than are the occupants of passenger vehicles.
There is little doubt that, when you are on foot, you are extremely vulnerable to being injured in a traffic accident. Always make safety your number one priority.
What kinds of damages are associated with Seattle pedestrian accidents?
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident that was caused by a motorist’s negligence, you may have suffered considerable damages, including:
- Medical costs – The medical expenses incurred in a serious pedestrian accident can include emergency care and transportation, surgery and follow-up care, appointments with doctors and specialists, physical therapy, rehabilitation, adaptive physical devices, prescription medications, home health care, adaptations to your home, and much more. The injuries associated with pedestrian accidents are typically very serious, which means they can lead to dangerous secondary health concerns and long-term overarching effects that must be taken into careful consideration before you can assess the compensation necessary to cover your full range of damages and attendant medical expenses.
- Lost income – A serious injury typically translates to considerable time lost on the job and to a considerable loss of income. In addition, your injuries could hurt your earning potential into the future and can even put up a permanent roadblock to your chosen career path.
- Pain and suffering – The immense physical pain and suffering that accompanies a pedestrian accident is obvious, but you may not have considered the emotional and psychological pain and suffering you’ve also endured. Many victims of pedestrian accidents experience PTSD-like symptoms that leave them more anxious, depressed, and jittery. This emotional component can be among the most difficult consequences of your accident and should never be discounted.
The physical, financial, and emotional damages associated with a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming, but obtaining the compensation to which you’re entitled will allow you the ability to travel the arduous path toward your fullest recovery.
Was the accident the motorist’s fault?
While you don’t always have the right-of-way as a pedestrian and you absolutely cannot bolt into traffic out of nowhere, motorists have a duty of care to pedestrians in their midst and should take all available steps to avoid pedestrian accidents. As long as you follow the basic pedestrian rules of the road, cross at crosswalks (whether marked or not), and use sidewalks whenever they’re available, the motorist who leaves you injured is likely to be found at fault. An experienced personal injury attorney at Boohoff Law in Seattle will carefully go over your case with you to help you better understand your rights as a pedestrian who suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence.
What forms of driver negligence commonly cause Seattle pedestrian accidents?
Driver negligence comes in myriad forms, but there are some basic categories of such negligence that commonly lead to pedestrian accidents, including:
- Distraction – Distracted drivers put everyone at risk. When a motorist’s attention is distracted by anything other than maneuvering safely over the roadway, that driver endangers everyone with whom he or she shares the road. Distractions can include any number of activities, but interacting with one’s smartphone is one of the most dangerous. When a driver plugs into his or her phone—instead of focusing on the road ahead—for even a few seconds, it can lead to deadly results. Many motorists are under the very misguided belief that they can safely multitask in this way, but studies repeatedly demonstrate that this simply isn’t true.
- Exhaustion – We all know how challenging it is to get work done when we’re exhausted, and driving is no exception. Put simply, drowsy drivers shouldn’t get behind the wheel in the first place. In fact, strict hours-of-service rules and regulations are in place for commercial drivers for this very reason. Drowsy drivers pose a real risk.
- Impairment – It’s not a stretch to say that every driver on our roads and highways knows exactly how dangerous drinking and driving can be. Unfortunately, some motorists choose to continue engaging in this often-deadly practice. Impaired drivers should be held accountable for the accidents and attendant injuries they cause.
- Excessive speed – Excessive speed and other forms of aggressive driving are dangerous driving practices. In fact, speed is very closely associated with deadly traffic accidents. Aggressive drivers typically engage in multiple dangerous practices in one outing. For example, when you see a driver weaving in and out of traffic while tailgating and speeding simultaneously, you know there’s an aggressive driver in your midst—and you should keep your distance as best you can.
Any of these forms of negligence puts pedestrians at extreme risk of being seriously injured in a pedestrian accident.
What kinds of injuries are common to Seattle pedestrian accidents?
As a pedestrian, you are so vulnerable to the impact of a traffic accident that you are likely to experience multiple injuries that can include:
- Broken bones – A broken bone is a serious injury that can be painful and needs immediate medical attention. Further, broken bones can lead to permanently debilitating side effects, such as chronic pain and a loss in range of motion when they fail to heal properly.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – TBIs are brain injuries that are generally caused by a significant blow to the head or by the severe shaking of the head. These injuries are often serious, and because they affect the brain, they can have unpredictable effects. The symptoms of a brain injury can have an impact on your cognitive functioning, physical abilities, and even your mood and behavioral control. This can keep you from engaging in regular activities, working, attending school, and much more.
- Spinal cord injuries – A spinal cord injury can occur anywhere on the spine and can lead to devastating effects. These injuries are generally very painful and slow to heal, but they can also lead to chronic pain and permanent physical disability. When the spinal cord injury cuts across the full width of the cord, the resulting injury is paralysis, which is the permanent loss of control over one’s bodily movements (in the affected area). The limitations inherent to such an injury are difficult to overstate.
- Cuts, burns, and abrasions – The impact of pedestrian accidents leave you vulnerable to serious burns, cuts, and abrasions. When any one of these is on or near your face, it can be permanently disfiguring. Further, these injuries can lead to infections, scarring, and dangerous secondary health concerns.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, first seek the medical care and attention you need, and then consult with an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney. Obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is critical to your ability to fully recover, and your dedicated personal injury can help with that.
How do I protect my pedestrian accident claim?
If a motorist’s negligence injures you in a pedestrian accident, you’re going to be dealing with one or more insurance companies. While many accident victims assume this is a straightforward process, that can be a dangerous assumption. The insurance company is in the business of making money, and that boils down to cutting whatever financial corners it can get away with, which can mean minimizing your settlement or even denying your claim outright.
With this in mind, there are some important steps you can take to help ensure that you protect your pedestrian accident claim and receive compensation that covers your damages in their entirety, including:
- You aren’t required to make a statement to the insurance company and that it’s generally in your best interest not to do so. Your knowledgeable personal injury attorney will provide the insurance rep with the necessary information and will negotiate on behalf of your rights and for your rightful compensation.
- No matter how understanding and kind the insurance representative who contacts you might seem, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that he or she has a job to do, and that’s what the adjuster is doing. The insurance company and the insurance representative share the same motivation, and you’ll do well to remember this fact. The insurance adjuster is seeking any information from pedestrian accident victims that might help them challenge the claim value, so it is wise to always have legal representation and counsel.
- Following your doctor’s medical advice is not only in the best interest of your health and recovery but also serves the best interest of your claim. You’re claiming that you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, but failing to follow your doctor’s recommendations sends a clear message that you’re not overly concerned. The insurance company is very likely to pick up on your apparent lack of concern and to hold it against you in the negotiation process.
- While social media is a great outlet for expressing the highs and lows of life, after being injured in a pedestrian accident isn’t the time to engage. Laying off your social media accounts while your claim is pending is a great strategy. The insurance company is watching for activity on your social networks and is adept at translating whatever it finds into something that can impact your claim. You spent your post-accident birthday sharing casual drinks with friends? That’s great, but that picture may tell the insurance rep in your case that your injuries aren’t really holding you back. Simply staying off social media will help ensure that you don’t provide the insurer with any unintended ammunition.
- Obtain the professional legal counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney at Boohoff Law in Seattle. It bears repeating that it is in the best interest of your case to have a dedicated attorney by your side throughout the legal process. While you get down to the important work of regaining your health and stamina, your attorney will attend to the important administrative tasks involved while also building your strongest legal case. This typically involves gathering important evidence from the accident scene, securing eyewitness testimony, and retaining all necessary expert witnesses in support of your claim. Bringing a successful pedestrian accident claim is complicated but necessary, and with professional legal counsel at the helm, you are far more likely to obtain an outcome that protects your rights and works for you.
While it’s reasonable to assume that the insurance company involved will reimburse you for your full range of injuries, this simply isn’t how things work. Protecting your pedestrian accident claim is important to your ongoing health and well-being, so consult our experienced Seattle pedestrian accident attorneys today.
In many cases, the right legal representation from the start of the claims process can improve the outcome of your claim, often resulting in a favorable settlement offer in a shorter period of time. Our goal as attorneys is to get you the payment you deserve so you can move forward.
Start Working With a Seattle Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
Pedestrian accidents cause catastrophic injuries and turn their victims’ lives upside down. Recovering physical and emotional health after a pedestrian accident is difficult enough without having to worry about financial strain and interacting with insurance adjusters and law enforcement who want to know what happened.
At Boohoff Law, we know how difficult this moment is for you and your family. Seeking legal representation is probably not your top priority. Still, it’s important to know that the sooner you consult with a skilled, experienced lawyer about your pedestrian accident, the better your chances will be of obtaining the compensation you so deserve.
In Washington State, the general statute of limitations on personal injury claims is three short years. Lawyers know just how quickly that time can pass. Pedestrian accidents frequently involve complicated facts, particularly when it comes to the victim’s medical prognosis. Investigating those cases takes time, as does making sure that every party with potential liability has been identified. What’s more, evidence that could provide insight into a pedestrian accident has a way of disappearing as time passes, and witnesses memories also fade. The time to start investigating your pedestrian accident is now.
One thing is certain: insurance companies whose policyholders may have liability to you are already working hard to try and minimize their financial exposure. You may have heard from one or more of them already, asking you to give a statement or dangling a settlement offer. Before you speak with any of them, consult with an experienced Seattle pedestrian accident attorney who knows your rights and the magnitude of damages you should expect to receive.
Struck by a Vehicle While Walking? Call Boohoff Law Seattle Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Now
Boohoff Law is a team of lawyers who are proud to call Seattle home. We love walking the city’s streets, and we recognize just how difficult it can be to have your life upended while crossing at an intersection.
If you suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one in a Seattle-area pedestrian traffic accident, call (877) 999-9999 or contact Boohoff Law today to schedule your free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team. We’re here to help in any way we can.
“Everyone here is so helpful. They jumped through every hoop necessary to get me the settlement I rightfully deserved. Tracey and Maria are super sweet. They made me feel right at home. I absolutely recommend Boohooff Law and will use them again in the future if I am ever in a similar situation. Thank you all at Boohooff who helped me with my case. 10/10 stars hands down!”
– Brandy K.