Walking After Dark: The Rights of Pedestrians in Nighttime Car Accidents | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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The aftermath of a pedestrian-car accident is often fraught with confusion. Many assume too much of the blame and rush into a settlement that won't meet their needs.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
February 16, 2024

A disturbing trend is spreading across America’s big cities, suburban communities, and small towns. Pedestrian auto accident fatalities at night have been climbing since 2009. This reversal of a decades-long decline is a nationwide concern. Ohio is no exception, with 75% of pedestrian fatalities occurring at night, mainly between 9 PM and 6 AM.

Nighttime Pedestrian Accidents

Victims often struggle to deal with the aftermath of an accident. Fortunately, they have options. By understanding and asserting your rights, you can seek financial restitution from the at-fault parties, heal, and push for safer roads.

What Causes So Many Nighttime Pedestrian Accidents?

The rise in pedestrian accidents and fatalities stems from several factors. Darkness reduces visibility, even more so when pedestrians dress in dark clothing or don’t wear reflective gear.

Also, smartphone use has led to more distractions for drivers and pedestrians. Beyond that, American roads are engineered more for speed than pedestrian safety, often lacking features like well-lit crosswalks. There are also issues like increased poverty in suburban areas. This has placed more pedestrians on roads not meant for foot traffic.

Were You Hit by a Car at Night? You Have Rights.

Pedestrians are entitled to a reasonable standard of care from drivers. When this standard is not met, and a pedestrian is struck, they can seek compensation for damages, including medical costs, lost income, and the intangible pain and suffering endured.

In incidents resulting in the most tragic outcome, families have the right to seek claims for wrongful death. This may provide some solace and financial support after a terrible loss.

But it’s not uncommon for insurance companies or the at-fault party to attempt to deflect blame onto the victim, especially in cases occurring at night. But despite these insurance tactics, pedestrians should try to understand and exercise their rights, as they may be entitled to compensation even if they are partially at fault. An experienced attorney can help.

Pedestrians Have the Right of Way Even at Night

In Ohio, the right of way for pedestrians at night is the same as during the day. Under ORC Section 4511.48, pedestrians have the right of way in marked crosswalks and intersections with unmarked crosswalks when following traffic control signals.

However, pedestrians must yield to vehicles when crossing anywhere other than within a crosswalk or at an intersection where traffic control signals are operational. While pedestrians must adhere to these laws, drivers must always exercise due care to avoid collisions, regardless of the time of day.

Injured Pedestrians Can Pursue Injury Claims

Navigating an insurance claim or lawsuit after a nighttime pedestrian accident can seem daunting. But it represents the best way to secure compensation and justice for the harm done by a negligent motorist.

Here’s what pedestrians and loved ones should know about dealing with insurance companies after an accident:

  • Notify Insurance Right Away: You must inform your insurance provider about the accident, even if you bear no fault.
  • Understand the Coverage: Typically, at-fault driver’s insurance covers injuries to a pedestrian. However, situations involving an uninsured or underinsured driver may require you to turn to your policy to cover costs.
  • Don’t Get Lowballed: Be cautious when insurers extend a settlement offer. These initial offers may not always reflect the full spectrum of your losses. Securing legal counsel ensures that any settlement is comprehensive, addressing all your damages, from immediate medical expenses to long-term needs.
  • Get Legal Support: Insurance entities often downplay the severity of an injury or the culpability of their insured driver, especially in nighttime incidents. Pedestrians should seek experienced legal assistance to ensure fair treatment.

Your Claim Could Be a Catalyst to Fewer Pedestrian Accidents

When injured pedestrians pursue legal action, they do more than seek compensation. Claims highlight problems, underscoring where systems failed and where they can be improved. This can prompt road safety measures, improve lighting, increase crosswalks, and improve road design.  Also, by holding negligent parties accountable, victims can reinforce the importance of vigilance and care among drivers, especially at night.

Additionally, legal action can drive changes in the law itself. Pedestrian accident cases can help policymakers enact laws focused on reducing distractions, enhancing driver education, and prioritizing pedestrian safety. When victims of pedestrian accidents assert their legal rights, they are working to reduce accidents and save lives.

KNR Fights for Ohio’s Injured Pedestrians

The aftermath of a pedestrian-car accident is often fraught with confusion. Many assume too much of the blame and rush into a settlement that won’t meet their needs.

If you or a loved one has been injured while walking at night, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick. As one of Ohio’s foremost personal injury law firms, we have over 15 years of experience guiding individuals through insurance claims and fighting for the compensation and closure they deserve.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free, no-risk consultation. We’ll explain the law, the insurance process, and what you can expect.