In our obsession with being constantly connected to the latest information and our desire to multitask, most of us have been guilty of texting and walking. Unfortunately, this addiction to our mobile devices can also lead to serious injuries. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2017 was the second year in a row in which there were more than 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in the United States. These numbers are the highest seen in approximately 25 years. Although the link cannot be definitively proven, the steady increase in the number of pedestrian deaths coincides with a 236 percent increase in the number of active cell phones since 2010.
The Dangers of Texting and Walking:
While most of us are aware that distracted driving can lead to a serious car accident, we tend to give little thought to the dangers of distracted walking. Despite our attempts to multitask, our brains are only designed to focus attention on one task at a time. When we try to multitask, such as typing or reading a text as we walk, we can develop a condition known as “inattention blindness” in which we fail to notice or appreciate dangers in our surroundings. One study conducted by researchers at Stony Brook University in New York found that up to 60 percent of participants who attempted to text while walking veered off course. They also walked slower and altered their gait so that their balance and posture were compromised.
Preventing Texting and Walking Accidents:
As a pedestrian, you can take the following steps to reduce your chances of becoming another injury statistic:
- step aside to a safe area if there is an urgent text or call that you must answer,
- avoid using your phone at all in congested areas or at crosswalks,
- keep the volume low when wearing earbuds or headphones so that you can hear oncoming traffic,
- cross the street only at designated crosswalks, and
- remember to look both directions before entering the crosswalk.
Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian vs. Car Accident?
In most situations, the pedestrian has the right-of-way. Drivers are expected to be alert for pedestrians and take appropriate actions to avoid potential accidents even when the pedestrian is distracted or crossing inappropriately. If the driver is doing anything wrong, such as speeding or engaging in distracted driving, they may be held liable for any damages, and they may even face criminal charges depending on the circumstances.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Pedestrian vs. Car Accident:
Since even slow-speed accidents involving pedestrians can result in devastating injuries, it is essential to contact law enforcement and emergency medical personnel immediately. If you are the driver, it is critical that you remain at the scene and cooperate fully with the authorities to prevent any potential criminal charges from being escalated. If you are the pedestrian, a police report can help you prove in a personal injury case that the driver was acting in a negligent manner that contributed to the accident.
Whether you are the pedestrian or the driver, it is important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. If you are the driver, any statements that you make to the police or witnesses can be used as evidence in any civil or criminal proceedings, and a lawyer can help you cooperate with law enforcement and insurance investigators while still preserving your legal rights and limiting your potential civil and criminal liability. If you are the injured pedestrian, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you obtain compensation for your damages by negotiating with the driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
Following any type of accident, the faster you act to preserve your legal rights the better. In California, personal injury cases generally must be filed within two years of the incident causing the injury or damage. It can take time to obtain and analyze the evidence vital to your case, including police reports, medical records, photographic and video evidence, and witness statements, so obtaining legal representation as soon as possible will ensure that you don’t lose out on your right to file a claim.
Why Call Etehad Law?
Our team of attorneys and legal professionals is dedicated to helping injured individuals receive the compensation that they deserve. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We believe that cost should never prevent an injured party from seeking the legal representation that they need, so we handle all injury cases on a contingency basis. This means that we only get paid if you receive a settlement or verdict. Call today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.