What matters & what to expect
Between increasing numbers of vehicles on the road and increasingly distracted drivers, walking or standing near moving vehicles has become a dangerous, but necessary, activity. Safety agencies call us “vulnerable road users” for good reason. People are simply no match for the mass of a car, truck, bus, or train – at any speed. If you’ve been affected by a pedestrian accident, you’re thinking about what happened and why, how you will pay for medical expenses and loss of income, and whether you may have a potentially successful case.
Motor vehicle accidents happen within seconds; you may feel confused about the details or worried you may be partly responsible. You want to take control of what happened to you, and what will happen next. You’re in the right place.
What to expect from a pedestrian accident lawsuit?
Investigation and research is the starting point for a successful pedestrian accident claim. Close review of the accident scene will help identify the primary factors contributing to the pedestrian accident. We have working relationships with well-qualified engineers and traffic accident reconstruction experts whom we retain as is necessary for our clients. Through these expert-witness relationships, evidence, and study, we have gained and can employ, for the benefit of our clients, our working knowledge of momentum analyses relating to accident reconstruction, Event Data Recorder (EDR) evidence, and US DOT coding.
Chalat Hatten & Banker has handled a number of wrongful death cases involving people on foot, in cross-walks, and who were “jay-walking.” One of our first pedestrian cases involved a man who was “jay-walking,” had recently been drinking, and was visually impaired. Nonetheless, we were able to show that he would have been clearly visible to the at-fault driver, and were able to collect a settlement from the vehicle’s owner.
We have acted as general counsel for the blind and deaf advocacy groups in Colorado, and from those relationships developed a close understanding of the “white-cane” law and various statutory pedestrian protections for individuals who were blind, deaf, or otherwise disabled.
Who is held responsible for my pedestrian accident?
In Colorado, a little more than 10% of all traffic deaths are pedestrians. In May 2013, The Denver Post reported that pedestrian deaths are up nearly 10 percent since 2002. Pedestrians are categorized by safety agencies as “vulnerable road users” because, unlike motor vehicle occupants, they have no protective structure around them and are completely dwarfed by the mass of a motor vehicle. If the driver of the motor vehicle caused the accident, then there is a basis for a claim for the injuries suffered.
A successful claim for a pedestrian accident usually involves serious damages. Medical expenses for internal injuries and broken bones can easily run into six-figures. The nature of the injuries suffered in many bicycle accidents often means expensive treatment and rehabilitation are needed over a long-term period. These medical expenses are often coupled with a loss of income if the victim was previously employed. The injured victim may seek compensation from the negligent party for all of these expenses. Read more about Damages.
We also have extensive knowledge of insurance coverage which may be available from the at-fault motorist. for an overview of insurance for car accident victims, including bicyclists hit by a car, see Insurance Coverage.
What makes a pedestrian accident case unique?
Most pedestrian crashes involve a forward moving car where a standing or walking pedestrian is struck and accelerated to the speed of the car and then continues forward as the car brakes to a halt. Although the pedestrian is impacted twice, first by the car and then by the ground, most of the fatal injuries occur due to the interaction with the car. While the lower limbs are the most commonly injured body parts, most pedestrian fatalities are due to head injuries.
When a truck or bus - weighing several tons - hits a pedestrian, the victim often suffers catastrophic injuries, sometimes resulting in death. The initial impact itself may kill or seriously injure the victim, and these injuries are compounded when the force of the collision knocks the victim to the ground or throws them through the air.
These devastating accidents change lives forever. If the injury is not fatal, it likely leaves many months of painful recovery from such severe injuries as brain damage, spinal cord damage or loss of a limb. Our firm seeks compensation for victims statewide who have suffered injuries in truck or car vs. pedestrian accidents, including:
- People run over, pinned or sideswiped by commercial vehicles at intersections, bus stops and parking lots
- People injured by actions of utility trucks, such as boom trucks tipping over, falls from bucket trucks or cherry-pickers and electrical service truck accidents
- Blind and vision-impaired pedestrians hit by a motor vehicle
- Individuals (pedestrians, bikers) injured in hit-and-run incidents involving a motor vehicle
RTD Bus Accidents
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) owns and operates more than 1,000 buses in the Denver metro area, including express buses and dial-a-ride shuttles. RTD buses carrying more than 100,000 passengers on a daily basis through neighborhoods to downtown, Park-n-Ride stations and other destinations. By sheer volume of rides, RTD buses are involved in many auto collisions and pedestrian injuries.
The RTD’s light rail trains carry more than 32,000 passengers each day, boarding at 46 stations across the Denver metro area. Many people are injured while loading or unloading onto the LRT trains, and more are injured in light rail accidents involving pedestrians struck by trains or LRT collisions with cars.
Injury claims against the RTD are technical in nature because while the RTD is a government entity subject to special protections, it contracts many of its drivers from a non-government company. A lawyer can help you navigate these differences to protect your rights and maximize your recovery.
Pedestrian Mall-Bus Accidents
The 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver is a top tourist attraction and business hub, and serves as a light rail connection for residents. MallRide, a service of the RTD, operates shuttle buses that traverse the length of the busy mall. Carrying an average of 63,000 passengers a day, dozens of riders, pedestrians and car drivers are seriously injured by MallRide shuttles.
Light Rail Train Accidents
The RTD's light rail trains carry more than 32,000 passengers each day, boarding at 46 stations across the Denver metro area. Many people are injured while loading or unloading onto the LRT trains, and more are injured in light rail accidents involving pedestrians struck by trains or LRT collisions with cars.
Accidents happen. What’s next?
Chalat Hatten & Banker can help. Let’s talk one-on-one about your case. We’ll answer your questions during a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 303.861.1042 today.
How We Helped a Client Win a Pedestrian Accident Case
Judge Awards $18.5 Million to Victim
An Idaho Springs man was awarded $18.5 million for catastrophic injuries he suffered when a driver drunk left a mountain road and slammed into him as he was laying...