According to one witness, one crash victim softly emitted “a couple of groans” and the other one was covered with “a black sheet.”
The wreck happened on State Highway 18 near the Woodspoint Drive intersection. Investigators say that a westbound vehicle struck two northbound pedestrians. Both were transported to local hospitals with serious injuries. Only one survived.
Another witness said the accident was a “crazy” scene. “Honestly, I would not cross this street at all, with or without a crosswalk,” she added, “because I feel like people just don’t pay attention nowadays and I just don’t want anybody else to get hit.”
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Catastrophic pedestrian injuries are all too common on roads like Highway 18. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is travelling more than 50mph, the pedestrian fatality rate is over 90 percent. When a 4,000-plus pound vehicle strikes a 180-pound object at a high speed, the pedestrian has little chance of survival.
Speed also increases the risk of a collision, because speed does not just multiply the force in a collision. It also multiplies stopping distance. That’s the ground a vehicle covers between the moment the driver sees a hazard and the moment the driver safely stops the vehicle.
At 30mph, stopping distance is about six car lengths. At 60mph, stopping distance multiplies to eighteen car lengths. Certain factors, such as vehicle weight and environmental conditions, push stopping distance even higher.
The risk and force of a collision are not the only factors at work here. Multiple restraint systems and steel cages protect vehicle occupants from injury. But pedestrians are completely exposed to danger. As a result, they commonly sustain massive head wounds, as well as serious internal injuries. These injuries are almost extremely serious or fatal.
Evidence in Pedestrian Accidents
Frequently, the police accident report is a critical bit of evidence in a vehicle collision claim. Emergency responders examine physical evidence, talk to eyewitnesses, including the parties to the crash, and produce a narrative summary.
However, in pedestrian injury claims, the police accident report is often misleading. If the victim was unable to give a statement, due to death or serious injury, the police report obviously only contains one side of the story.
So, if you or a loved one was hurt or killed in a pedestrian collision, always ask a Lexington personal injury attorney to evaluate the claim. Experienced lawyers can usually review these reports and accurately determine liability for damages, given both the facts and the law.
Knowing who is liable is the easy part. Proving liability in court is usually much harder. To do so, victim/plaintiffs must establish facts by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
If the police report is unavailable, attorneys must look elsewhere for the evidence they need. Vehicle Event Data Recorders often fill in the gaps. Much like the black box flight data recorders in commercial jets, EDRs measure and record things like:
- Steering angle,
- Engine RPM,
- Vehicle speed, and
- Brake application.
Electronic evidence usually resonates very well with tech-savvy Fayette County jurors. But unless a lawyer acts fast, this critical evidence is often unavailable.
Generally, insurance companies destroy wrecked vehicles within several days. If that happens, any physical evidence the vehicle contains, including the EDR, disappears. So, attorneys immediately send spoliation letters to insurance companies. These letters force insurance companies to preserve all potential physical evidence, including the EDR.
Your Claim for Damages
The more evidence lawyers gather, the greater the chances of obtaining a favorable settlement, because insurance companies do not want to risk a trial. Additionally, there is usually a direct relationship between the amount of evidence in the case and the amount of damages jurors award.
If liability is relatively clear, many car crash claims settle shortly after medical treatment is at least substantially complete. If the case settles earlier, the settlement amount might not account for all current and future medical expenses.
However, there is almost always at least some question about liability. So, to put pressure on the insurance company and preserve the victim’s legal rights, attorneys file legal paperwork in court.
Insurance companies routinely file hail mary pretrial motions which seek to throw the victim’s claim out of court. Like most hail marys, these motions almost always fail. The discovery period is usually next. For victims, discovery usually involves mandatory medical examinations, depositions, and document productions.
At this point, most Fayette County judges order contested cases to mediation. A third party mediator works with both sides to try and forge a settlement. If both parties negotiate in good faith, which means they are willing to compromise to reach an agreement, mediation is usually successful.
Pedestrian accidents are often legally complex matters. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.