Pedestrian safety matters. Unfortunately, too many motorists in Alabama fail to safely share the road with pedestrians. At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, we are strong, experienced advocates for injured victims. If you were hurt in an accident, it is imperative that you know how to hold the at-fault driver accountable. Among other things, this requires proving negligence. Within this article, our Birmingham pedestrian accident lawyer explains the most important things that you should know about proving negligence and holding a driver accountable after a pedestrian crash in Alabama.
Pedestrians Face Serious Risks From Traffic
Pedestrians in Alabama face serious risks from traffic. Without the protection offered by a motor vehicle, a pedestrian could sustain severe, life-altering, or fatal harm from even a relatively low-speed crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 101 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Alabama in 2020 alone. Many hundreds more pedestrians were seriously hurt in wrecks. Urban areas and high-traffic roads present particular danger spots. Efforts to enhance pedestrian safety should be a community priority.
Most Pedestrian Accidents are Caused By Negligent Drivers (Know the Causes)
Although pedestrian crashes in Alabama can happen for a wide array of different reasons, a significant share of these collisions are caused by reckless or careless drivers. In other words, negligent drivers are responsible for many pedestrian accidents. These drivers can and should be held accountable. Some of the most common examples of driver negligence that contributes to pedestrian crashes include:
- Running red lights;
- Running stop signs;
- Failure to yield;
- Distracted driving; and
- Intoxicated driving.
How Pedestrian Accident Liability Works in Alabama
Alabama is a fault-based motor vehicle accident state—including pedestrian crashes. What does that mean for your case? As a general rule, you have to prove fault in order to bring a successful pedestrian accident injury claim against a driver or another defendant. What determines who is at fault for a pedestrian crash in Birmingham or elsewhere in Alabama? The answer is negligence. Broadly explained, negligence is the failure to exercise due care. A driver is negligent if his or her improper conduct caused a crash, including a pedestrian collision. Every pedestrian accident should be thoroughly and comprehensively investigated by an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will help you gather the evidence and information that you need to prove negligence and bring a claim.
A Note on Contributory Negligence: Alabama is one of the nation’s only remaining contributory negligence states. The Legal Information Institute explains that contributory negligence is a legal doctrine followed by Alabama that can have a major impact on pedestrian injury claims. Under this rule, if a plaintiff is found to have contributed in any way to their injury, even as little as 1 percent, they are barred from recovering any damages. This strict rule makes proving the other party’s complete negligence essential.
An Overview of the Evidence that Pedestrians Can Use to Prove Negligence
Proving negligence in a pedestrian accident case in Alabama requires a detailed understanding of the evidence that can substantiate a claim. Collecting comprehensive evidence is vital as it builds a strong foundation for the case, particularly in a state with a contributory negligence system where even slight fault on the part of the pedestrian can eliminate the possibility of compensation. Here is a detailed overview of various types of evidence:
- Police Reports: Officers called to the scene of an accident create a police report detailing what occurred. The police report often includes statements from both parties, witnesses, and sometimes even a preliminary determination of fault. Make sure you get a copy of the accident report as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident.
- Eyewitness Statements: Eyewitness accounts can be pivotal. Witnesses who saw the accident can provide unbiased details that may support the claim of negligence on the part of the driver. Try to secure contact information for eyewitnesses right away.
- Traffic Camera Footage: If available, footage from traffic or security cameras can provide an unbiased view of the incident, detailing exactly what happened. An attorney can investigate your case to determine if any footage can be located.
- Photographs and Videos: Photographs of the scene, damages to the vehicle, injuries, road conditions, and any other relevant factors can visually support a claim.
- Driver’s Cell Phone Records: If distracted driving is suspected, obtaining the driver’s cell phone records might demonstrate that they were texting or engaged in other distracting activities at the time of the accident.
- Accident Reconstruction Analysis: Expert accident reconstructionists can recreate the accident scene using scientific methods to support claims of negligence. Professionals in various fields may provide insights and opinions that align with the claim of negligence.
- Personal Testimony: The pedestrian’s own account, as well as journals or diaries documenting pain, suffering, and recovery, can also be compelling. You should write down your account of what happened as soon as you can after a pedestrian crash.
We Help Injured Pedestrians Recover Full and Fair Financial Compensation
Injured pedestrians deserve full and fair financial compensation for their medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and other damages. In Alabama, injured pedestrians have the right to seek financial compensation for their economic damages and their intangible losses. At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham pedestrian accident injury attorney helps clients fight hard to hold negligent drivers and big insurance companies to account. You may be eligible to recover for:
- Vehicle repairs;
- Emergency room care;
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earnings;
- Pain and suffering;
- Long-term disability;
- Scarring; and
- Wrongful death.
Contact Our Birmingham, AL Pedestrian Collision Attorney Today
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham personal injury attorney has deep experience handling complex pedestrian accident claims. If you or your loved one was hurt in a pedestrian crash, we can help. Get in touch with us by phone at 205-896-6410 or contact us online to set up your free, no-obligation initial appointment. From our Birmingham legal office, we fight for the rights and interests of injured pedestrians throughout Northern Alabama.