When the crosswalk sign flashes “WALK” and you step into an intersection, you certainly don’t expect that an oncoming driver will try to beat the red light and run you down. You expect drivers to be focused on the road rather than a cell phone or other distraction. However, drivers do not always behave as expected. Whether you are hit by a car, truck, taxi or bus, a pedestrian accident is a terrifying and traumatic ordeal. You can suffer life-changing injuries, especially if a vehicle is travelling at a higher rate of speed. You may need months of rehabilitation to learn to walk again. Even the impact of a vehicle at low speed can cause broken bones, internal injuries, back injuries or head injuries. You may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Your mounting medical bills combined with an inability to work may cause financial stress. The negligent driver who hit you should pay for the injuries and losses you’ve suffered. Talk to a compassionate pedestrian accident lawyer who understands the difficulty you are having if you have been hit by a car.
Pedestrian Accidents in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has a higher portion of pedestrian commuters than the nation as a whole. About 4 percent of Rhode Island workers walk to work, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. In addition, thousands of students in Providence and surrounding communities walk to school and walk to and from bus stops. If you or your loved one is walking on a public street in Rhode Island, it is important to obey pedestrian traffic laws and to remain alert for oncoming traffic. Oftentimes, motorists are looking for other cars and are not expecting to encounter people on foot. A driver may strike a pedestrian because he or she is not paying attention to the road and not watching out for people on foot.
Pedestrians represent more than 21 percent of traffic fatalities in Rhode Island, according to RIDOT. In the past 10 years, an average of 12 people died each year in pedestrian accidents. In 2015, eight pedestrians were killed in Rhode Island, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The majority of pedestrian deaths occur on larger, wider roads that are designed for high speed traffic, without consideration for the pedestrians and bicyclists who use the roads for transportation. The higher the speed at which cars are travelling, the more likely a collision with a pedestrian will cause serious or fatal injuries.
Anyone can be involved in a pedestrian accident. Seniors and children are at the highest risk of being struck in a pedestrian accident. Elderly people may take more time crossing a street and react more slowly to avoid an approaching vehicle.
How to Stay Safe as a Rhode Island Pedestrian
People on foot are vulnerable to serious injuries if struck by a moving vehicle. To protect citizens on foot from being struck by cars, the state of Rhode Island has a series of laws that govern the right-of-way of pedestrians. A driver who is making a turn at an intersection may be looking for other cars and fail to see a pedestrian in a crosswalk until it is too late. Remain aware of your surroundings and that a driver may be distracted and not see you.
- Pedestrians should cross intersections in designated crosswalks when they are available and always obey the traffic lights and walk signals, if they are present.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing in a crosswalk at an intersection without a signal. Look both ways and make sure that any approaching car is stopping before stepping into a crosswalk. Even in crosswalks, a pedestrian may be difficult to see, particularly at night. Hold children’s hands while crossing a street.
- A pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection is required to yield the right-of-way to all oncoming vehicles.
- Walk or jog on the left side of the road facing traffic when using a road that has no sidewalks.
- If a sidewalk is provided, a pedestrian should not walk in the street. When walking on a sidewalk, be alert for vehicles turning into a side street or a driveway that crosses the sidewalk. Drivers crossing a sidewalk are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on the sidewalk.
- Make yourself as visible as possible. Wear bright or fluorescent clothing to help motorists see you. Runners and joggers are required by Rhode Island law to wear reflective material to make themselves visible when running after sunset.
- Avoid the dangers of vehicle traffic by walking one of many greenways or walking trails in Providence or other cities in the Ocean State. Explore Rhode Island’s network of trails and greenways.
When a driver violates the traffic laws and injures a pedestrian, the driver’s actions may be used as evidence of negligence in a personal injury claim seeking compensation to cover your injury-related expenses.
What Should You Do If You Are Hit by a Car While Walking?
The following are important steps to follow to protect your rights after an accident caused by a motorist:
Providence Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
At Marasco & Nesselbush, our Rhode Island accident attorneys have decades of experience representing injured pedestrian and successfully resolving claims to our clients’ advantage. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the support and exceptional legal service they need after a serious injury. We have multiple locations in Rhode Island found in Providence, Wakefield, Woonsocket and Warwick and also have offices in Massachusetts and Connecticut for your convenience. For a free, no-obligation case consultation, please call our law firm today or fill out the case evaluation request form.