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Home » Latest News » If I’m hit by a vehicle, can I make a claim for personal injury compensation?

If I’m hit by a vehicle, can I make a claim for personal injury compensation?

If I’m hit by a vehicle, can I make a claim for personal injury compensation?

Probably above all other users of the highways, pedestrians can set off from their homes pretty safe in the knowledge that they aren’t going to be involved in a road traffic accident, can’t they?

If I’m a Pedestrian and am hit by a car, cyclist or motorcyclist, can I make a claim for Personal Injury compensation?

Probably above all other users of the highways, pedestrians can set off from their homes pretty safe in the knowledge that they aren’t going to be involved in a road traffic accident, can’t they?

Well, without wishing to put people off leaving their homes, the last available road casualty statistics published by the government show that of all road traffic user deaths in 2016, 25% of those killed were pedestrians with 448 killed. A further 5,140 were seriously injured, with just over 17,000 receiving minor injuries.

Pedestrians are classified as in the vulnerable road user category, along with pedal cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. The reason for pedestrians being classified as ‘vulnerable’ speaks for itself. They have no protection if they do come into collision with a motor vehicle, or for that matter a motorcyclist of even a pedal cyclist.

What are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents?

1. Pedestrians fault

A high proportion of accidents involving pedestrians are caused by pedestrians entering the road without taking proper due care and attention. In fact a detailed study of pedestrian accidents has shown that over 50% of all pedestrian accidents are caused by the pedestrian failing to look properly. Other situations where the pedestrian is commonly at fault are crossing a road between stationary and parked vehicles, failing to judge a vehicles speed incorrectly, the wrong use of a pedestrian crossing facility eg crossing a pelican crossing on a red signal, or simply crossing a zebra crossing when an oncoming vehicle is too close to the crossing to be able to stop safely, crossing the road when impaired by alcohol or drugs, wearing dark clothing at night or dangerous action on the highway, eg playing on the road.

In such circumstances does the injured pedestrian ever have a chance of making a successful pedestrian injury compensation claim?

Depending on the circumstances, the answer is ‘yes.’ For example, Rule 170 of the Highway Code advises that if a pedestrian has already started to cross the side road into which you are turning from a main road, you must give way to them. ‘Started to cross’ puts a heavy burden on the driver, because no mention is made as to whether for instance the pedestrian has ‘started to cross’ from between parked vehicles, or has simply failed to look properly.

That general principle underlies the highway code and therefore if a pedestrian has entered the road without properly looking, but the driver that collides with them is travelling too quickly, then there is more than potentially a case for the pedestrian arguing that the driver contributed to the accident. If the pedestrian is injured in such circumstances and decides to make a claim for personal injury, then even if the accident blame is apportioned as being 90% the pedestrian’s fault and 10% the car drivers’ fault, then the pedestrian will still recover 10% of the compensation that he or she would have obtained had they been entirely blameless.

2. Driver fault

Given that there is a heavy burden on drivers to always be aware of the possibility of a pedestrian entering the road, it follows that when the driver fails to take full due care and attention and a collision occurs with a pedestrian, that the driver is going to find him or herself held to account for the accident.

Common factors where drivers are to blame for accidents with pedestrians, include;

  • Speed – if a driver hits a pedestrian whilst driving at a speed faster than the permitted limit, then he or she is most likely to shoulder the blame should they collide with a pedestrian. According to ROSPA ‘Inappropriate speed contributes to around 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police, 15% of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 24% of collisions that result in a death.’ Inappropriate speed, does not always mean exceeding the basic speed limit. It can also mean travelling too fast for the conditions that prevail at the particular time eg bad weather, poor visibility or where there is high pedestrian activity. For instance, travelling at 30 mph near schools particularly early in the morning, or in the afternoon when schools finish for the day, may still be considered excessive if there is an accident involving a pedestrian and the car. (Some local councils employ variable speed limits of 20mph near schools enforced either by speed humps or advisory signs).
  • Driver distraction – texting or otherwise using a phone whilst driving are illegal but as we witness almost every day, the practice is widespread and is increasingly a cause of pedestrian accidents, sometimes with fatal consequences. Being distracted in other ways, such as turning around to talk to rear seat passengers briefly, reaching over to the glove compartment, or changing radio stations on the car radio, can all lead to a driver averting their eyes away from the road ahead for just sufficient time for a collision with a pedestrian who has stepped out on to the road, to take place.
  • A driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol – even if not over the legal limit, a driver’s reactions may be sufficiently impaired to the extent that they are unable to brake quickly enough to avoid hitting a pedestrian crossing the road in front of them.
  • Changing lanes
  • Failing to take proper care when passing stationary motor vehicles particularly in built up areas. Pedestrians in urban areas emerging from between parked vehicles can pose a real problem for motorists, but the driver is still under a duty of care to be aware of the possibility of them doing so.

3. Cyclists v Pedestrians

Increasingly there is concern about the number of pedestrians being knocked down by cyclists, particularly on the pavement. The dangers of cyclists causing injuries, sometimes fatally, to pedestrians came to prominence in 2017 with the case of Charlie Alliston who was jailed after colliding with Kim Briggs who was killed as she was crossing a road in London. Fortunately, tragic cases like this are still rare occurrences, but in 2016 there were three pedestrians killed and 106 seriously injured by cyclists, a figure that was more than double the numbers killed or seriously injured a decade before.

For a pedestrian wishing to make a claim for personal injury compensation after being injured in an accident caused by a cyclist, there is the complicating factor that there is no compulsory requirement for cyclists to be insured, although some organisations such as the Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) do provide their members with insurance against third party liabilities (such as injuring pedestrians).

Types of injury for which pedestrians injured in road traffic accidents most commonly claim compensation

Being the most vulnerable of all road users, the types of injury for which pedestrian compensation claims are made are wide and varied in their nature and severity. Common injuries sustained by pedestrians when hit by another road user include;

  • Sprains and strains
  • Whiplash
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Head injury
  • Fractured and broken arms, legs, wrists, collarbones, shoulders, feet
  • Internal injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Multiple severe injuries
  • Broken neck or back
  • Fatal injuries

How do I go about making a claim for pedestrian injury compensation?

Making a claim for personal injury sustained by a pedestrian following road traffic accident is not always straightforward. There may be some element of contributory negligence on the part of the pedestrian i.e. it may have been partly the fault of the pedestrian and partly the fault of the driver of the vehicle that collided with them. A pedestrian might think that it is not worth making a claim for the injuries that they sustained because they feel that the accident was entirely their fault. However, as this article has already demonstrated, even if a pedestrian has stepped out into the road without looking properly, there is still a duty on motorists to be aware of the possibility of the presence of pedestrians.

That is why if you were a pedestrian who was injured in a road traffic accident and you are unsure whether you may be entitled to make a claim, you should call a specialist road traffic accident personal injury solicitor, such as a member of the road traffic accident personal injury team at Bridge McFarland solicitors, for an informal, no obligation chat. They will be able to advise you as to whether they think you have reasonable prospects of bringing a claim for compensation against the driver of the vehicle that collided with you, who is required in any event to be insured to cover such circumstances. (If the driver that collided with you is not insured or is untraced, we can help you to submit a claim for compensation through a body known as the MIB).

Your claim may include a claim not only for the pain and suffering caused by the injuries that you received, but also for loss of earnings if you have to have time off work, cost of medical treatment, and any other losses that directly result from the accident.

So if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, the best thing you could now do would be to call us at Bridge McFarland Solicitors right away, even if you just want to see whether you might have a claim. If you decide to instruct us to help you to bring a claim, we will be able to do the work for you on a No Win, No Fee basis, which means that if your case is not successful, you have nothing to pay.

Call us on 01472 311 711 or email enquiries@bmcf.co.uk and we’ll get straight back to you.