In 2019, a total of 65 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, accounting for 10 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths for that year in Mississippi, which was 643. Pedestrians are not afforded the same protection as drivers, who have a strong barrier to absorb impact when hit by a car. Pedestrians have zero protection from impact with any type of motor vehicle.
A pedestrian accident can be a life-altering experience that permanently disables an innocent victim who was simply trying to walk across the street. Far too often, pedestrians are overlooked by motorists, and many pedestrian accidents would not happen but for a driver’s negligent conduct. Injured victims may choose to pursue a personal injury claim to seek compensation for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages, among other damages that are the direct result of the accident.
Victims of pedestrian accidents can explore legal options by consulting with a Flowood, Mississippi personal injury attorney who routinely handles catastrophic pedestrian accident cases. The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC, represents the rights of clients who have suffered personal injuries at the expense of negligent behavior. Serving not only Flowood, Mississippi, but also Brandon, Clinton, Pearl, Richland, and Rankin County, Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. is prepared to evaluate your potential personal injury claim.
Drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists all share responsibility when using Mississippi sidewalks and roadways. Mississippi law identifies the rights and responsibilities of motorists, and such laws are used to determine whether one or more individuals are responsible for causing an accident.
Under Mississippi Statute Section 63-3-1103, vehicles have a duty to slow down or stop to yield to the right of way of a pedestrian at an intersection regardless of whether the intersection has a light or stop sign. In other words, if a pedestrian is attempting to cross the street at an intersection, a vehicle must yield to that pedestrian even if there is no stop sign or red light mandating the vehicle to stop.
Pedestrians do not always get the right of way. In some situations, pedestrians must yield to vehicles. Pursuant to Mississippi Statute Section 63-3-1105, pedestrians must yield to vehicles when attempting to cross at locations other than intersections or designated crosswalks.
Additional legal questions may arise in a pedestrian accident that has nothing to do with whether a pedestrian or driver had the right of way. If either a pedestrian or driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for example, such conduct would be crucial to the determination of liability. Additionally, whether a driver was breaking any other traffic laws (such as texting while driving) will be a factor to consider when determining liability in a pedestrian accident case.
Mississippi is a pure comparative fault state, which means that regardless of an injured plaintiff’s level of fault, he or she can still recover compensation that corresponds to the defendant’s level of fault. For example, if an injured plaintiff is found to be 55% at fault for causing an accident, and the defendant is found 45% at fault, the plaintiff can recover 45% of any compensation awarded by a jury.
Damages in a Pedestrian Accident Case
Damages are the harms suffered by an injured plaintiff. Because injuries cannot be undone, compensation is the means by which injured plaintiffs can seek recourse and be made as “whole” as possible. Damages involved in a pedestrian accident case include, but may not be limited to, the following:
Pain and suffering (physical and mental)
Lost wages (present and future)
Punitive damages (which are only awarded in egregious cases)
Medical expenses and lost wages are considered economic damages, which means they can be calculated and easily documented. Pain and suffering – whether physical or mental – cannot be calculated in the same way. As such, pain and suffering damages are considered non-economic. Juries will award damages based on the severity of the injuries and the severity of the conduct in question that caused the injuries.
Punitive damages are awarded when a defendant’s conduct is in willful disregard for the life of another. For example, a drunk driver who injures or kills a pedestrian may be found liable for punitive damages, which are intended to punish and deter similar conduct in the future.
Under Mississippi law, a person injured in a pedestrian accident has three years from the date injuries were sustained – which is the date of the accident – to file a personal injury lawsuit. One of the biggest mistakes injury victims make is waiting too long to speak with a personal injury attorney. Once the statute of limitations comes and goes, an injured person can no longer pursue legal action.
If a pedestrian accident victim sustains fatal injuries, the victim’s legal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Mississippi, the legal representative has three years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
After receiving medical treatment, victims of pedestrian accidents can begin the process of determining whether they have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim against the person at fault for causing the accident. Speaking with a pedestrian accident attorney is a good first step, but additional steps injured individuals can take include the following:
Obtain documentation from the accident (police report, accident report, and photographs, if possible)
Obtain medical records documenting injuries sustained in the accident
Obtain insurance information from the driver or drivers involved in the accident
Speak with an attorney before communicating with any insurance company
Consulting with an attorney right away following a pedestrian accident provides injured victims with the best chance possible of pursuing and recovering compensation for their injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident or any other type of accident, you deserve a thorough evaluation of your situation. The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC, provides legal representation to injured clients in and around Flowood, Mississippi, as well as Brandon, Clinton, Pearl, Richland, and Rankin County. Contact the office today for your free consultation.