Pedestrian accidents in Denver in recent years have become an extremely serious problem. While the number of pedestrian accidents nationwide has started to drop, the number of pedestrian accidents in the Mile-High City has increased. While roads such as Federal Boulevard, Iliff Avenue and Floyd Avenue have earned a reputation as dangerous for walkers, joggers and bicyclists, these accidents can happen anywhere and are rarely minor.
Why are pedestrian accidents among the most common types of car accidents in Denver? In a bustling metropolitan area like Denver, drivers and pedestrians often have to share the road. The risks of accidents are higher in urban areas than in smaller rural locations. Whether you’ve been hit by a texting driver while legally crossing the street at an intersection or sideswiped by a drunk driver while on a sidewalk or cross-walk, knowing what to do after your accident is critical.
What Should I Do if I’m In a Pedestrian Accident in Colorado?
- Do not move – If you suspect you have a serious or life-threatening injury, stay still. You could put yourself at risk by attempting to move after a pedestrian accident. In some cases, however, this may not be possible. If you are in a dangerous location, such as lying in the road, you may have to move out of harm’s way.
- Call for help – Even if you think your injury seems minor, seek medical help. If you feel that you cannot move safely due to your injury, ask someone to call 911 and request an ambulance.
- Call the police – It’s critical that a police officer responds to your pedestrian accident. Police officers have years of experience investigating such complicated accidents. They can also create an official police report, something that could be useful when trying to obtain compensation for your injury.
- Gather evidence – If a medical professional determines you can move safely, gather evidence at the scene of your pedestrian accidents. Take photos. Talk to witnesses. Take notes.
- Call your insurance company – Your own auto insurance policy may cover you in the event of a pedestrian accident. This is why you should report your accident to your insurance company immediately.
- Call a lawyer – Even if your pedestrian accident seems straightforward, even if the other driver clearly caused your accident, don’t be so sure. Make sure you have an experienced, Denver attorney on your side. You should consult with a lawyer even before you call your own insurance company.
Colorado Bicycle Accidents
Like pedestrians, people who ride bicycles are vulnerable to sustaining severe injuries or even losing their lives in accidents. More than 48,000 cyclists were injured and 677 cyclists were killed nationwide in 2011, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s one injury every 11 minutes.
Why do bicycle accidents happen? When they involve cars or trucks, the reasons cover a wide range. In recent years, many bicycle accidents happen due to texting while driving accidents. But a bicycle accident can just as easily occur due to a number of reckless behaviors.
Circumstances that commonly lead to a bicycle accident include drivers who:
- Veer onto shoulder of road.
- Unexpectedly encounter a bicycle or pedestrian in a less populated area.
- Run a stop sign or red light, striking bicycle traveling on intersecting road.
- Become distracted by their phone, radio or another object in the car.
When Motorist Negligence Causes Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can be caused by multiple factors. Commonly, these factors involve some form of driver negligence.
When the reckless, careless or negligent actions of motorists contribute to pedestrian accidents, they tend to involve misconduct like (but not limited to):
- Driver impairment – Alcohol impairment, drug impairment and even driver fatigue can prevent motorists from seeing pedestrians and/or promptly taking the appropriate actions to avoid hitting them.
- Driver distraction – Motorists distracted by cellphones or anything that takes their attention away from the road can also experience perception impairments and delayed reaction times, both of which can also result in pedestrian accidents.
- Aggressive driving – Speeding, tailgating and otherwise driving aggressively can mean that drivers are not being careful about monitoring or appropriately responding to their driving conditions. Again, this can increase the risk that drivers will end up hitting the pedestrians who are sharing the roads with them.
- Failing to comply with traffic laws – Running red lights or stop signs, failing to yield to rights-of-way and otherwise not abiding by traffic laws is another common way in which driver misconduct can contribute to pedestrian accidents.
These forms of driver negligence are far more like to cause catastrophic – if not life-threatening – injuries to pedestrians if or when any of the following may also be a factor:
- Vehicles are traveling at faster speeds prior to the accident.
- Heavier trucks are involved in pedestrian accidents.
- More vulnerable pedestrians (like children and/or elderly individuals) are those who are hit by motorists.
Other Forms of Negligence that Can Contribute to Pedestrian Accidents
Along with motorist misconduct, some other ways that negligence can play a role in causing pedestrian accidents include via:
- Failures to maintain safe roadways – This can involve the negligence of cities (or other entities) responsible for constructing and/or maintaining safe roads. Some specific examples can include:
- Failures to repair broken or obscured signal lights
- A lack of traffic signs, crosswalks and/or sidewalks.
- Vehicle equipment failures – This can involve the negligence of equipment manufacturers, as well as the parties responsible for maintaining or repairing vehicle equipment. For instance, vehicle equipment malfunctions like brake failures or steering system failures can limit a driver’s ability to control or stop a vehicle; by intersections, that can make it far more likely that pedestrian accidents will occur.
- Pedestrian distraction, impairment and/or failures to abide by traffic laws – When this is a factor, injured pedestrians can still be entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses if another party was found to be more negligent in causing the accident.
Denver attorneys at Bell & Pollock have worked with victims of bicycle accidents throughout Colorado. Law firms sometimes shy away from such complicated cases. We thrive on them. That’s because we know that the work we do today can make a dramatic difference in the lives of injury victims for many years to come.