Common Scenarios for Pedestrian Vehicle Collisions
Interviewer: What are some of the more common kind of accidents that you are seeing when in pedestrian vehicle collisions?
Bill Levinson: They occur at intersections almost invariably. A woman that I represented and we just settled it the end of last year was crossing at a corner where you are supposed to cross. It was a four lane road and vehicles were stopping for all the way along.
She got into the third lane from the curb she left. A sheriff’s deputy was sitting there and he had stopped for her. She went by the sheriff’s deputy and the car behind the sheriff’s deputy pulled out and kind of tried to speed around them and hit my client. Having a sheriff for a witness was invaluable. There wasn’t much question that we settled.
Interviewer: Can these accidents be totally or partially attributed to some defect in a sidewalk or curb?
Drivers Are Rarely Able to Attribute a Road Condition, Rather Than Their Own Negligence as the Cause of an Accident When They Strike a Pedestrian
Bill Levinson: I can’t think of one instance where a motorist was able to defend him or herself on the basis of the roadway condition. I do have the jaywalking case, which is a motorist able to defend themselves against.
I’ve looked at a couple of cases where pedestrian is over a hill and the driver comes over the hill and hits the pedestrian. Usually that’s a question of visibility. But the headlights are required by statute to illuminate a substantial degree in front of them and that’s why it is difficult when the pedestrian is walking slowly. It is very difficult to attach significance to the driver or the conditions.
I had a case where a young man was riding on a bicycle beside travel portion of a roadway and he was going with the traffic and he was driving on gravel. A gravelly curved kind of thing and he lost control of the bike and fell into the street and was hit by the driver and we still were able to recover because the young man fell several seconds, 10 or 15 seconds before the driver got there and human reaction time, the speed limit wasn’t so sufficient that if he reacted in time he could’ve stopped.
Human reaction time is three quarters of a second so he was well within the limit of stopping and his headlights illuminated the roadside. It was interesting in that regard but we still were able to recover.
When Should You Contact an Attorney after a Pedestrian Vehicle Collision?
Interviewer: Let’s say I’ve been injured by a vehicle. At what point should I contact a lawyer?
Bill Levinson: I’ve had occasional calls from the hospital but not very many and usually its family members that will contact me and describe something. I have a case with a little boy that was riding his tricycle on a sidewalk. There was a big box truck coming down the street.
The little boy decided that he was going to cross the street and he was sideswiped by the box truck. The claim is that little boy caused the accident but we will see about that. In that case, Alex’s mother called me. Generally speaking, when people are home from the hospital they realize that they are not going to be able to deal with the insurance companies.
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