Seattle is one of the most walkable cities in the nation. City leaders are so passionate about pedestrian safety they have developed the Pedestrian Master Plan as a means to reduce hazards those who travel on foot face throughout the region.
Unfortunately, these efforts have not entirely eliminated the threat of pedestrian injuries or fatalities. Data from Seattle’s Department of Transportation show that between 2008 and 2010, more than half of all traffic fatalities in the city involved pedestrians.
Pedestrians are our most vulnerable travelers. A pedestrian accident involving a negligent driver can result in life-altering injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury or even death. Compensation may be available to you if you or your child or spouse was injured because of a distracted or careless driver’s actions.
We are pedestrians ourselves and take seriously your right to be protected from the actions of reckless drivers. We offer legal representation in the fight for damages that may include medical treatment, disability and more. Please find additional information below in regard to your options for financial recovery.
Do I have the grounds to pursue legal action against a driver?
You may have the option to pursue compensation from your own automotive insurance policy, provided you have applicable coverage, such as Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage. Washington is a fault-based state. This gives you the opportunity to pursue compensation through the insurance policy of the negligent driver who caused your injuries and other losses.
You also may have the right to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused your injuries. This action will be based on the assertion of negligence.
A successful action will prove the following:
1. The driver (the defendant) owed you a duty of care. This means he or she was obligated to drive in such a way as to reasonably avoid causing injury to others. The Revised Code of Washington (section 46.61.245) specifically requires drivers to act with care in the prevention of pedestrian accidents.
2. The defendant violated the duty of care. An example of violating the duty of care would be a driver failing to stop at a red light and proceeding through an occupied crosswalk. Another example might be a driver who was texting while driving -- a violation of the state’s anti-texting and driving law.
3. The driver’s actions were the cause of your injuries. Your lawsuit should seek damages only for injuries directly related to the pedestrian accident. For instance, you cannot sue to repair a chipped tooth if that injury did not occur (or did not worsen) as a result of the accident.
4. You suffered damages because of the driver’s actions. This requires you present evidence of your losses, such as a loss of income or medical bills.
A lawyer can evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether it meets those four standards of establishing negligence.
What should I do if I’m ready to file a claim?
Washington’s statute of limitations gives you just three years in which to file a claim. It is in your best interest to initiate action well in advance of this deadline. You can begin by scheduling a free case evaluation with an attorney in Seattle. Call to learn more.