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Many residents of Bellevue enjoy walking not only as a means to remain healthy, but to keep emissions down in city limits. With many shops, scenery and favorable weather during most of the year, people often use the many sidewalks and crosswalks offered citywide.
But a peaceful day walking down the sidewalk can quickly turn tragic when negligent vehicles barrel through the crosswalks and hit pedestrians innocently trying to cross the street. Across Washington state, 15.6 percent of all traffic fatalities during a four-year stretch from 2012-2016 involved pedestrians.
From injured legs to death, no crosswalk accident is pleasant. If you or someone you love has endured an accident while walking peacefully, and legally, within a crosswalk, compensation may be sought. An experienced crosswalk accident lawyer in Bellevue, WA may assist in recovering money for medical payments, loss of work, pain and suffering.
Crosswalk Laws in Washington
Pedestrians have rules applicable when walking down sidewalks and through crosswalks. Washington law makes yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks mandatory, however, which is often what motorists fail to do, leading to a serious accident.
Other crosswalk laws of note that Bellevue motorists and pedestrians must abide by include the following:
Criminal charges are possible in vehicular homicides, meaning should your loved one die while using Bellevue’s crosswalk system, prosecution isn’t ruled out, but remains exclusive of civil liability.
Once an innocent pedestrian has been struck, whether by truck or car, injuries or death will trigger a series of events that should lead to an accident attorney’s involvement. Once they begin working on crosswalk accident claims, injured individuals should only have to worry about recovering from their unwarranted injuries.
Injured victims in Bellevue who miss work, time with family, incur expenses beyond what their incomes will cover, and suffer unimaginable physical and emotional pain are entitled to compensation equal to, or greater than, their losses. But first, the Bellevue, WA crosswalk accident lawyer representing aggrieved persons must investigate the incident. Part of this investigative process involves viewing police reports, video of the accident, visiting the scene and opening dialogue with negligent party’s insurer.
Discussions with insurer often start with a well-written pre-settlement demand letter, which tells the insurer an incident occurred that caused an injury, a driver insured by them hit an individual when legally using Bellevue crosswalks, injuries have left victim unable to work, and ‘x’ amount of dollars will make things right.
In extremely rare cases, the demand letter is enough. Most letters are denied, which forces a crosswalk accident suit to be filed in court. This gets the attention of most insurance companies.
One argument an insurer’s counsel will bring up involves Washington’s right of way laws. Of course, pedestrians are prohibited from darting through designated crosswalk areas when traffic is moving. So, unless an accident victim attempted this feat, drivers are always responsible for pedestrians when inside the white-lined walking area.
Some claims where drivers hit pedestrians in crosswalks may be neither party’s fault. For example, poor construction or non-working crossing signals can lead to tragic accidents.
Once fault is established through evidence or admission of guilt, negotiations will begin. This process takes time as numerous conversations are happening simultaneously between insurers, attorneys, other officials (if applicable) and the victim. An unexpected hurdle any crosswalk attorney can encounter involves whether the victim was partially responsible for their own injury.
Contributory negligence, or fault, is an often used defense tactic to lessen the financial blow. If there’s any chance that the victim contributed to their own crosswalk injury, such as wandering into a busy crosswalk while intoxicated, the amount of compensation that victim would be entitled to would be reduced by the percentage of involvement.
So, if $100,000 was the awarded amount, but the victim was found 25 percent responsible for causing the accident, $75,000 would be the maximum compensation granted to the victim.
Much stricter evidence is required to prove pedestrians were negligent in causing their own injuries. Oftentimes this means breathalyzing, using witness statements, and gathering other pieces of evidence to substantiate claims of self-infliction.
While your claim is being negotiated, keep in mind:
The attorney assigned to your claim will reach out to you once settlement negotiations reach closure. No amount will be agreed on with the negligent party until you have the opportunity to agree or disagree with amounts or stipulations put into the settlement agreement.
Once your claim is satisfied, the negligent party will be relieved of any future duty to compensate you, nor will you be able to bring other claims unless another incident occurs.
In extreme cases where trial must be scheduled, your attorney will apprise you of whatever may be necessary, such as appearances by you or loved ones, why the case went to trial, and so forth.
When an injury occurs by another’s negligence, especially when you’re legally walking within marked crosswalk areas, you’re entitled to fight every aspect of your injury. Compensation awards are always possible, although no Bellevue, WA crosswalk accident lawyer can guarantee specific amounts.
If you have been injured in a crosswalk accident, we invite you to reach out to our dedicated crosswalk accident lawyers in Bellevue, WA. At the Khan Law Firm, our legal team is eager to work aggressively on your behalf to ensure you recover the compensation that you deserve.