All drivers are obligated to follow traffic laws and safety guidelines in an effort to reduce the risk of collision. While most drivers remain quite vigilant in their awareness of nearby vehicles, many are not so aware of pedestrians and bicyclists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian is injured every seven minutes and one killed every two hours in the United States, while 857 bicyclists died in traffic crashes in 2018.
Motorists Pose a Serious Threat to Pedestrians and Bicyclists in Missouri
There are a number of factors that contribute to the danger faced by pedestrians walking or running near a street, road, or highway. Below are some common accident scenarios:
- A driver fails to yield at a crosswalk or intersection and strikes someone crossing.
- A driver backs up too quickly or without checking mirrors or blind spots and hits someone.
- A driver veers off the roadway for some reason and strikes a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk or roadside.
- A pedestrian is struck while checking a mailbox near a street or road.
- A driver ignores the signals of a school bus crossing and hits a child who has gotten off a bus.
- A driver does not react quickly enough to a child running into the street to retrieve a ball.
Under Missouri law, a bicycle is defined as a vehicle and, as such, is entitled to all the consideration that drivers give to other vehicles. Cyclists are allowed to use the road (except in business districts), and a car may not drive in a dedicated bike lane except to make a legal turn or to avoid a collision. Nonetheless, cars frequently strike bicycles for the following reasons:
- Not maintaining a safe distance when following
- Failure to stop or yield
- Distracted driving
- Open door accidents
- Right turn/blind spot accidents
- Sideswipe crashes
- Impairment due to drugs or alcohol
Potential Injuries Associated With Pedestrian or Bicycle Accidents
Negligent driving puts everyone at risk, but pedestrians and cyclists lack the protection of a vehicle. They are much more vulnerable than motorists are and often suffer very serious injuries:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken or crushed bones
- Lacerations and scarring
- Emotional and psychological trauma
The high cost of treatment and long-term care for injured pedestrians and cyclists means that insurance companies will fight hard to dispute, deny, and devalue your claim for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This is why you need an experienced attorney to investigate your accident, collect evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company to get you fair compensation. Your attorney can also help you to file a wrongful death claim if you’ve lost someone in such an accident.
What to Do After an Accident
If you’ve been struck by a car while walking or cycling, you could be too badly injured to do anything but wait for the police and/or EMTs to transport you to a hospital. If possible, however, you should try to do the following:
- Get to a safe area, but do not leave the scene.
- Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and the car that struck you.
- Get identification and insurance information from the at-fault driver.
- Get contact information from any witnesses.
- Call 911, wait for the police to arrive, and report the accident.
- If you’re not transported to the ER by police or EMTs, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to your own insurance company in case the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
- Don’t discuss the accident with anyone except the police.
- Don’t sign anything except documents required by the police.
- Don’t post anything about the accident on social media.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer.
Are You a Pedestrian or Cyclist Who Has Been Injured by a Motorist in Missouri?
Having the representation of an experienced personal injury attorney from Layton & Southard on your side will allow you to claim the compensation you deserve and get your life back to normal. We will perform a thorough investigation of your accident and demonstrate where the fault lies. Contact us online or call us at 573-335-3359 and we'll review your case.