Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Legal Issues in a Mercer Island Pedestrian Accident

Posted Friday, April 14, 2023 by Chris Thayer

In 2021, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents in Washington hit a 40-year high. Speed-related accidents and child fatalities were the major driving forces. Excessive velocity is a primary factor in pedestrian crashes, to say the least. The pedestrian fatality rate jumps from 10% at impact speeds of 20mph to 90% at impact speeds of over 50mph. The increased child fatalities suggest that children were not just in crosswalks coming home from school anymore, especially during pandemic lockdowns.

Since pedestrians have no protection from oncoming cars, these incidents usually cause serious injuries. A Mercer Island personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for the economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, these incidents cause. Perhaps more importantly, legal action forces tortfeasors (negligent drivers) to accept responsibility for these incidents.

*Making a Case*The legal issues in a crosswalk pedestrian accident are often straightforward. In many cases, Washington law requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether they have the light or not.

There is some dispute as to what constitutes “in” a crosswalk. Generally, however, courts require the victim to be at least a third of the way across the street in these situations.

If a tortfeasor violates a safety law and causes injury, the tortfeasor could be legally responsible for the crash as a matter of law, under the negligence per se rule. Significantly, this rule only applies if an emergency responder issues a citation. That may or may not happen in these cases.

So, in many crosswalk pedestrian accidents, as well as all non-crosswalk pedestrian accidents, a Mercer Island personal injury attorney must use the ordinary negligence doctrines to obtain compensation. This doctrine has four basic prongs:

A Mercer Island personal injury lawyer must prove every element of an ordinary negligence case by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.

*Overcoming Defenses*Comparative fault and sudden emergency are probably the two most common insurance company defenses in a pedestrian accident claim.

Basically, comparative fault is the victim’s failure to watch where s/he was going. If the victim crosses the street without looking both ways, the law may reduce the amount of compensation the tortfeasor, or rather the tortfeasor’s insurance company, must pay.

Sudden emergency excuses negligence if the tortfeasor reasonably reacted to a sudden emergency, which the law defines as a completely unexpected situation, like a hood fly-up. A jaywalking pedestrian is not a sudden emergency. Instead, it is an everyday hazard, like a large pothole.

*Connect With a Tough-Minded King County Attorney*Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Mercer Island, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.