Pedestrian Accidents on Interstate Highways
An injury suffered by a pedestrian on an interstate highway presents complex legal and factual issues. Pedestrians have an obligation to use an appropriate level of care to protect themselves against the dangers that a particular circumstance presents. So, if a pedestrian's own conduct fails to meet this standard and an injury on an interstate highway results, he or she may see their recovery reduced or even have the claim precluded entirely.
Nevertheless, there are instances in which pedestrians injured on interstate highways may be entitled to recovery in a legal claim. A general negligence claim may be pursued against any driver at fault for causing an accident involving the pedestrian. A legal claim may also be possible against state or federal agencies responsible for designing the highway, road construction, or repairs and maintenance. These agencies have a duty to exercise reasonable care toward anyone who could foreseeably use the highway, even if a particular person (like a pedestrian) is generally not permitted on a highway.
Accordingly, when a highway defect contributes to a pedestrian injury on the interstate, the agency (and its contractors) may have legal responsibility for failing to correct the defect. If you or a loved one are involved in a pedestrian accident on an interstate highway, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and your legal rights.
Why is There a Pedestrian on the Highway?
Pedestrian accidents on interstate highways are more common than you may think. More than 10 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur on interstate highways. So why would a pedestrian be on a highway in the first place? The following are some possible scenarios:
Crossing or Entering
Although it may seem hard to believe, the most common reason for pedestrians to be on the highway is to walk across it. Given the speed of motorists on a highway, it is not surprising that pedestrian accidents happen because the motorist didn't have time to avoid hitting the pedestrian. Many motorists don't even see the pedestrian until it is too late.
Walking in Roadway After Dark
More than 90 percent of crashes involving pedestrians walking in the roadway happen after dark. Contributing factors include suicidal behavior, driver inattention, and alcohol use.
Walking or Standing on Shoulder
Pedestrians struck by vehicles while walking or standing on the road shoulder also account for a small percentage of pedestrian fatalities. In some cases, pedestrians may be on the roadway illegally. Driver error and driver distraction causes most of these crashes.
Pushing or Working on Vehicles
Pedestrians may have mechanical problems with their own vehicles, and may be either working on them or pushing them out of the roadway. These accidents usually involve driver inattention, sleepiness, or drunkenness.
Tending to or Involved in a Previous Crash
Pedestrians injured on interstate highways may be in the roadway because of a previous crash. In some instances, they are injured or thrown from their vehicles. In other cases, people may be exchanging information, inspecting crash damage, or waiting for help. These pedestrian accidents may result from a combination of inattentive driving and poor lighting on the roads.