Picture this: you are driving through your town late on a Saturday night. Suddenly, something comes out into the road. It’s a person. You try to swerve, but it’s too late. You know you have made contact.
That is almost exactly what happened on January 17, 2015. A 73-year-old woman was walking in her town of Gatesville, Texas. When she tried to cross the street, a silver car driven by a 17-year-old boy hit her. When the police, EMS and fire department arrived, they pronounced her dead at the scene.
Whether you are driving on the highway or through a school zone, you always need to be on the lookout for pedestrians. Though it is unlikely that someone would want to try and cross a busy highway, you never know who might get out of their car on the side of the road. Hitting a pedestrian will land you in boiling hot water and can lead to both civil and criminal lawsuits. Therefore, you need to be very careful when driving anywhere you suspect pedestrians may be more common.
Two types of lawsuits
As stated, you could face both civil and criminal charges if you hit a pedestrian. More than likely, you will probably face civil charges, but depending on the situation, you may or may not be charged with a criminal offense.
In civil court cases, the pedestrian will sue you for damages relating to the injuries caused by your negligence. You might have to pay for medical expenses, lost wages and possibly pain and suffering, but you won’t lose your license or any other driving privileges.
Criminal court cases can become much more serious because now the state itself is coming after you. If you broke a law, such as driving drunk or committing a hit-and-run, you will be tied in a criminal court. You could end up paying an enormous fine, receiving probation, being sent to prison and losing your driver’s license. Your previous driving and criminal records will help the judge decide your punishment.
What to do and what not to do
If an unfortunate pedestrian accident does occur, you need to step up and take responsibility. Whatever happens, do not leave the scene until you are told that it is okay by a police officer. If you leave any earlier, you may be charged with a hit-and-run, which will only get you into more trouble.
First go to the pedestrian and check for any injuries. If you can tend to some of the injuries, such as light bleeding or bruising, feel free to do so, provided the pedestrian wants you to help. Be as helpful as possible, and if needed, call 911 and the police.
In some rare cases, the pedestrian may not be hurt or have very minor injuries, and as a result, would rather walk off than wait for police or exchange information. If this happens, report the incident to the police anyway. A pedestrian could later file a hit-and-run complaint against you, so be sure to cover your bases.
Exchange information with everyone around you, from the pedestrian to the witnesses. You may need to call on a witness in court, so make sure you have names, phone numbers and possibly email addresses.
The best way to avoid pedestrian accidents is to drive slowly, especially in residential areas, and be mindful of your surroundings. Do your best to plan for the worst.
If you have a loved one who has been injured in an auto accident in Sacramento County, you will need a lawyer with experience. Call Moseley Collins at (916) 444-4444 for a free consultation.
Moseley Collins is a personal injury attorney serving those badly hurt throughout Northern California. There is absolutely NO FEE to discuss your case and there is absolutely no fee unless we win and get you the money you are entitled to. We are on your side and know what to do to get you compensation and justice.
980 9th St, 16th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 444-4444