By now, most of us are familiar with the health benefits of walking. During the workweek, many Bentonville residents opt to walk to work or go strolling during their lunch break. On weekends, they wander along scenic routes like the 2.2-mile North Bentonville Trail or the Park Springs Trail, which includes wooden bridges and a natural spring.
Although an excellent form of exercise, walking has its risks. Motor vehicle operators in Bentonville aren’t always looking out for pedestrians and some of them indulge in dangerous behaviors like ignoring crosswalks and paying more attention to their phones than the road ahead. When a collision occurs, it is nearly always the pedestrian who suffers the worst.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries while walking, you need an experienced Bentonville pedestrian accident lawyer on your side right away. At the Law Offices of Alan LeVar, we know that a personal injury claim can be hugely stressful to handle on your own. When you hire us, you benefit from a team of Bentonville personal injury lawyers who are looking out for your best interests and will fight for the settlement you deserve. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Bentonville, AR
According to a 2020 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities in traffic collisions have increased 59% since 2009 and now account for 17% of all crash-related deaths nationwide. The same report also listed Arkansas as one of the top ten dangerous states for pedestrians, with a fatality rate of 2.67 per 100k population.
Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Arkansas for different reasons. They include but are not limited to the following:
- The number of drivers distracted behind the wheel has increased because of activities like social media and texting.
- Walking is becoming more popular because people are moving into the city center and minimizing vehicle usage.
- The smaller sedans have given way to heavier vehicles like SUVs, which can cause more serious injuries.
Drivers have a duty of care toward pedestrians that requires them to obey the rules of the road. Those who violate this duty of care by speeding or running red lights and causing an accident may be responsible for any resulting injuries.
Common causes of pedestrian injuries in and around Bentonville, Arkansas include:
- Drinking and driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Road rage
- Failure to follow traffic signs or rules of the road
- Mechanical problems with the vehicle
- Inclement weather
By filing a claim against the responsible party after a preventable pedestrian accident, you can not only seek compensation for your injuries but also prevent them from repeating the same negligent behavior in the future.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
A pedestrian accident is statistically more likely to result in a serious injury than a vehicle accident because pedestrians have nothing to protect them from the force of the collision. Common injuries include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken and fractured bones
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wrongful death
As the car speeds up, the pedestrian’s chances of survival decrease. According to the Foundation for Traffic Safety, when a vehicle is traveling at 23 mph, there is a 25% risk of a pedestrian suffering serious injury or death. At 31 mph, that risk goes up to 50%. Any speed over 45 mph results in a 90% chance the pedestrian will be injured or killed.
How Pedestrians Can Stay Safe
Every pedestrian who shares the roadway with motorists can stay safer by keeping the following rules in mind.
- Follow all traffic signs and signals
- Make sure you are visible to drivers when crossing the street
- Even if you have the right-of-way, don’t cross in front of a moving vehicle
- Use a crosswalk if one is available when crossing a street mid-block
- Use caution when walking near traffic and watch out for cars backing out of parking spaces
- When crossing the street with a child, always hold their hand
Compensation in a Bentonville Pedestrian Accident Claim
In a personal injury case, the amount you can recover depends on the severity of your injuries and their expected impact on your life, which is why there is no ‘average’ pedestrian accident settlement. Generally speaking, a traumatic brain injury that leaves you permanently disabled will command a higher settlement or verdict than a broken leg that’s expected to heal without complications.
Regardless of how seriously you were injured, the goal of a pedestrian accident claim is to seek maximum compensation for all damages you suffered. This may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages, past, and future
- Diminished or lost earning ability
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
If you lose a loved one in a pedestrian accident, our attorneys can help you file a wrongful death claim. The Law Offices of Alan LeVar offer diligent and assertive legal representation from the moment you file your injury or wrongful death claim until you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been in a Pedestrian Accident in Bentonville, AR?
When you’re suddenly struck by a reckless or negligent motorist while out for a walk, what you do in the next few moments can determine the outcome of your future personal injury claim. The following steps can help ensure that you have the evidence you need to pursue compensation.
- Call the Police: The first thing you’ll want to do is stay calm and determine whether or not you have any injuries that prevent you from moving. If you can move, and you were knocked into the street, get to a safe place and call the police. If you can’t move, ask someone to call 911 for you.
- Get the Driver’s Information: While you’re waiting for the police and an ambulance to arrive, get the driver’s insurance and contact information. Don’t apologize or accuse, as anything you say could be used to reduce or deny your claim later on.
- Collect Evidence: If your phone wasn’t damaged, take pictures of the accident site and any important details like a faded crosswalk or obscured stop sign. You should also collect the names and contact information of any witnesses who might be able to speak to what they saw at a later date if necessary.
- Seek Medical Attention: Be sure to seek medical attention at the hospital if emergency personnel did not need to respond to the scene. You could be more injured than you realize. Any injuries that you suffered should be documented by a doctor to strengthen your claim.
- Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: As soon as the driver notifies their insurer about the accident, you’re going to hear from adjusters. Tell them that your personal injury lawyer will be in touch once you’ve hired one. Never give a statement to an insurer without speaking to an attorney, as they are looking for ways to reduce your payout and you could damage your claim without realizing it.
What If I Was Partly At Fault for My Pedestrian Accident?
Arkansas follows a modified comparative negligence system. As a result, each party is assigned a percentage of fault for causing an accident. The amount of compensation you can receive will be determined by your share of fault, and if your liability exceeds 50%, you won’t be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
For example, if you are awarded $60,000 at trial but a jury finds you 40% at fault because you ran across the street midblock at night and made it hard for the driver to see you in time, you would only recover $36,000 instead. The other $24,000, which represents your share of liability, cannot be recovered.
Many insurance companies try to avoid a payout by insisting that your fault exceeds the 50% threshold. Your Bentonville pedestrian accident lawyer will deal with the insurer on your behalf so that there are no opportunities for misconstruing something you said or did and deter any attempts to increase your liability.
Injured? Get a Free Consultation From a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Bentonville, AR
Unfortunately, Arkansas is not always the safest place for pedestrians. Traffic congestion, negligent drivers, and poorly designed intersections all contribute to pedestrian-vehicle collisions. After being involved in such an accident, knowing when to call an attorney can help you protect your rights.
The Bentonville pedestrian accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar offer free, no-risk consultations to help injured victims better understand their options. If you hire our firm, we will handle all communications with insurance adjusters and, if necessary, also take your case to court. Let us put our years of experience to work for you. For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation, please call (479) 202-0027 or use our contact form.