Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. reached the highest they have been in 40 years, according to a new study. Charlotte has not been immune to this trend, and neither have the Carolinas as a whole. crosswalk

The study, conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, revealed the total figure of pedestrians who lost their lives last year rose by 11 percent as compared to the year before. There were a total of 620 MORE deaths last year than in 2105. That brings the total of 2016 pedestrian accident deaths nationally to nearly 6,000.

As noted by the study author, this is the second year now that there has been an “unprecedented” uptick in pedestrian deaths. This is not only alarming and tragic, and inspires anger when you consider the majority of these deaths did not have to happen. They were preventable, most often the result of a driver who was careless or reckless. Distracted driving is believed to play a significant role in the increasing number of deaths.  Continue reading driver who allegedly struck and critically injured a pedestrian in Charlotte was arrested by police after surrendering himself to authorities the morning after the hit-and-run crash.

The 25-year-old motorist is charged with felony hit-and-run, while the victim, a 31-year-old woman, is still fighting for her life. She was found unresponsive in the roadway, suffering from life-threatening injuries. Police report she’s being treated at the Carolinas Medical Center-Maine. She was reportedly struck while crossing the street in the crosswalk. Several witnesses to the pedestrian accident, which happened shortly after 9 p.m. on a Saturday, say the driver’s traffic signal at the time of the crash was red.

The crash remains under investigation, and authorities are working to determine whether drugs, alcohol and/or excessive speed played some role in the crash. North Carolina’s pedestrian laws stipulate that individuals in a crosswalk have the right-of-way in traffic.  Continue reading

A youth and her parents will get another chance to secure a favorable finding in their personal injury lawsuit, stemming from an Independence Day pedestrian accident back in 2005. The girl had been crossing a street (she claims in a crosswalk) from in front of a stopped bus when she was struck by defendant’s sport utility vehicle, causing severe injuries.crosswalk1

After a jury decided the case, Samson v. Nahulu, in defendant’s favor, plaintiff’s appealed. The appeals court affirmed jury’s verdict, but the Hawaii Supreme Court vacated, remanding for either a new trial or a judgment notwithstanding verdict. Justices ruled the trial court erred in exclusion of certain evidence (including speed of defendant vehicle and evidence of crosswalk markings), jury instructions that were prejudicial and doling out jury instructions that focused more on the pedestrian’s obligation to obey all traffic laws rather than the driver’s duty to avoid collisions.

There was much conflicting testimony in this case from a number of witnesses regarding key facts, including whether the minor was in the crosswalk, how fast defendant was traveling, whether pedestrian used due caution in looking both ways. But the court wrongly decided a number of motions and requests in a way that prejudiced the plaintiff. Continue reading

A 12-year-old girl is recovering in Greenville after being struck by a vehicle at her school bus stop as she was attempting to board. The driver of the sport utility vehicle that struck her is a 53-year-old man who lacks a driving license, authorities say. He was later located and arrested and charged with unlawfully passing a stopped school bus, driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.schoolbus4

According to news reports, the bus was stopped on Highway 150, and it was shortly before 7 a.m. The 12-year-old walked across a private drive in order to board the bus. Meanwhile, the offending driver, in his 1996 Chevrolet sport utility vehicle, drove off the right side of the road in order to pass the bus. That’s when he struck the girl.

Although her injuries were deemed minor in comparison to what they could have been in the situation, she may well have cause for legal action against at least three parties here. Continue reading

In sidewalk trip-and-fall lawsuits, one of the best strategies for defendants is to bring up the “trivial-defect doctrine.” It allows a judge to determine that even if there was a defect in the sidewalk and even if that defect caused a fall, it was “trivial,” and therefore not actionable as a matter of law. The idea is that the defect was so slight or inconsequential that the defense wasn’t legally obligated to take action.
Although courts have recognized that minor defects can be dangerous to pedestrians, their existence sometimes is not sufficient in order to create constructive notice (i.e., defendant “should have known” of the problem), which is essential to winning a premises liability lawsuit. Injuries caused by minor defects can still be actionable, but each case needs to be weighed carefully.

North Carolina law holds that local governments are responsible for maintaining all pedestrian facilities, except in some cases where local ordinances were passed that shift liability onto adjacent property owners. It is in these case a matter of who “controls” the sidewalk, rather than who “owns” it.
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A mother was crossing the street with her two daughters, 3 and 6, as well as a family friend, age 5, and another girl, age 2, who was being pushed in a stroller. They approached a crosswalk at an intersection, pressed the button, waited for a signal and, when they were given the “all clear,” they entered the roadway.
Seconds later, an unlicensed driver barreled through the intersection, barely braking before striking four of them. Only the 2-year-old, whose stroller the mother pushed away seconds before impact, was spared. The woman and the other three children were seriously injured – the 6-year-old critically.

As they continue to recover, the mother has filed a lawsuit against the city, for allegedly creating a dangerous situation at the intersection and failing to take the proper steps to make that intersection safer, despite knowing the conditions. In Castro v. City of Thousand Oaks, before a California appellate court, she argued the city should be liable for creating a “dizzying” amount of signals that confused drivers, and also for giving pedestrians a false sense of security. She also noted there was no median or “safe haven” in the middle of the busy road for pedestrians who suddenly found themselves in danger.
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College campuses can be dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, with busy traffic, high-volume crowds at intersections, and the potential risk of drunk or distracted drivers. Now, South Carolina State University students are taking matters into their own hands, urging the South Carolina Department of Transportation to build a pedestrian bridge near a student housing complex. According to reports, the initiative has been underway since an SC State senior was struck by a vehicle and left paralyzed four years ago. After years of advocacy for the bridge project, the project has finally been approved by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.


Students began pursuing the initiative in 2011 with the goal of improving pedestrian safety and connecting walking routes for students. Though it has taken nearly four years of advocacy, the university has finally begun preliminary stages of engineering the pedestrian bridge. Safety advocates on campus believe that the project will help keep students safe, allowing pedestrians to pass over the bridge rather than navigate the traffic on the busy roads below. Due to the heavy foot and vehicle traffic, many pedestrians do not wait for a walk sign to cross the street. Cars that speed along the road can also create additional dangers for pedestrians.
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Pedestrian safety researchers are hopeful the next decade could bring about significant improvements in road design to bolster walkability and well-being among non-vehicle users.
However in the meantime, we are still grappling with an “epidemic” of pedestrian deaths – some 47,000 between 2003 and 2012, according to the Dangerous by Design 2014 report, released this month by Smart Growth America. Another 676,000 were injured. Not only that, pedestrian deaths accounted for almost 15 percent of all traffic deaths in 2012, which was a 6 percent increase from just a year earlier – and a five-year high.

Perhaps even more troubling for those of us in the South was the indication that those in Sunbelt communities that grew in the post-war period were among the most dangerous places. Charlotte pedestrian accident lawyers recognize that many of these areas developed rapidly, with strong emphases on wide, fast roads that would connect homes to schools, workplaces and shopping facilities. These roads are not often equipped with the safety features necessary when traveling on foot.
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A pedestrian was injured recently in West Asheville after a vehicle slammed into construction dumpster. According to the Citizen-Times, the accident happened just before 9:30 a.m. in front of the victim’s home at 170 Riverview Drive. He was taken to Mission Hospital with a number of injuries, including a possible broken leg.
“He was getting ready to get into his truck,” said a witness of the accident. “It freaked me out. I was amazed he wasn’t dead.”

Our injury lawyers in Asheville understand that these kinds of accidents are alarmingly common in residential neighborhoods. In this incident, the driver was cited for neglecting to reduce his speed. Citizens frequently express their concerns regarding traffic speeds and pedestrian safety in residential neighborhoods. It involves a joint effort between the residents and the city to improve traffic safety in their neighborhoods. Talk with your neighbors about traffic safety. Be aware of existing conditions and notify the city when situations seem to create a problem.
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In cities, parks, on rural streets and in the suburbs, it’s common to see a walker along the sidewalk or at an intersection looking down, even texting on a handheld device. While we have been warned of the dangers of distracted driving, another threat to safety is the danger of distracted walking. Hand-held devices that connect us by phone or Internet can be an overwhelming distraction. Nationwide, pedestrians and cyclists are known to have suffered serious and grave injuries because of distraction.

Even though walkers are not responsible for operating a vehicle, they can still create serious hazards when not paying attention. Inattentive walking can make a pedestrian blind to oncoming traffic, potholes, and other hazards that they would normally see as obvious risks. Statistics show that one in three people don’t put down their cell phones even to cross the street. Attention has been brought to the high risks of distracted walking to increase public awareness and prevent injury. Our Carolina accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims and to preventing future accidents and injuries.


Emergency room visits related to texting and walking, talking and walking, and Internet surfing and walking are on the rise. Recent research indicates that injuries have spiked since 2004. Many instances involve distracted walking into telephone poles or street signs, falling off of a road into a ditch, or walking into oncoming traffic. A significant number of these accidents were caused by a simple conversation, not because the walker was looking down and reading or writing a text. The number of similar accidents has doubled and has risen at about the same rates as distracted driving.

Studies indicate that there are probably additional cases that go unreported because the injuries are minor. Distracted walking can result in injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to serious head and neck injuries, paralysis, even wrongful death. A victim could suffer a significant fall, walk into an intersection or collide with a car or bicycle. Researchers believe that the number of accidents involving distracted walking are significant.

Public health professionals are urging for campaigns similar to those intended to reduce distracted driving. The downward trend for distracted driving has been attributed to the laws curbing the use of cell phones for drivers behind the wheel. Similarly, some advocates believe that lawmakers should restrict the use of cell phones when walking in public spaces. Though this would be difficult to regulate or monitor, it could show a decrease in the number of distracted walking accidents every year.

Victims may include not only the distracted walkers. A distracted walker or cyclist is also a hazard to others on the road. A wandering cell phone user could disrupt traffic, force a cyclist to swerve out of the way or interrupt roadside construction work. The variation of potential accidents is limitless and all cell phone users should be aware of these risks. If you were injured by a distracted walker, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
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