Pedestrians in Hawaii are at serious risk of injury. There is nothing to protect a person who is walking or jogging along the road or crossing a road from the impact of a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) says on average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in a traffic crash. In Hawaii, 23 people died in pedestrian accidents in 2013, according to the NHTSA. A study cited by AARP says that Hawaii ranks first in the nation for pedestrian deaths among people ages 65 years and older.
If you or a loved one has been hit and injured by a car, truck, motorcycle, or another motor vehicle in Honolulu or elsewhere in Hawaii, our pedestrian accident attorneys at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner can help you. You may be eligible for compensation to help with medical expenses and your other losses.
A study by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) found that 130 pedestrians were killed in Hawaii over the five-year period of 2007 to 2011. The study also says there was an average of 601 people injured in pedestrian accidents each year, with 464 on average being treated in an emergency room and about 137 each year requiring hospitalization.
In Hawaii, the DOH study says about one-third of the victims killed in pedestrian accidents were known to have been in a crosswalk at the time of the crash, usually at an intersection. Senior citizens (age 65 or older) were more likely than younger pedestrians to be hit while in a crosswalk, it says.
A 2014 report released by the National Complete Streets Coalition found that older adults in Hawaii comprise 13 percent of the population, but accounted 42 percent of pedestrian deaths for the period from 2003 to 2010. The majority of deaths occur on roadways that are designed for speeding cars with little consideration for the safety of pedestrians or bicyclists. Pedestrians in Hawaii had the highest likelihood of being hit by a vehicle and fatally injured, the report said.
Drivers are often at fault in pedestrian accidents. Nearly 60 percent of the drivers involved in fatal pedestrian accidents made an error that contributed to the crash, according to the Hawaii DOH. The NHTSA says alcohol consumption by either the pedestrian or driver in a pedestrian accident figures into about half (49 percent) of pedestrian fatalities.
The causes of pedestrian accidents cited by state and national studies underscore the fact that determining fault in a pedestrian accident can be complicated. Determining negligence and liability can hinge on any number of factors. Was the driver negligent? Was the pedestrian partially at fault? Were traffic signs plainly visible? Was alcohol involved? Were there any external factors that contributed to the accident, such as brake failure or another vehicle malfunction?
If you are to obtain an insurance settlement from the driver who ran into you, it is likely that you will have to show evidence of the driver’s negligence that is not immediately obvious. This may include evidence recorded by security cameras, the driver’s cell phone data indicating a call or text diverted his or her attention at the time, or evidence of drinking prior to the crash.
To assist in building your case after a pedestrian accident, you or a companion should take these steps if you are able:
• Report the accident – Phone 911 to request assistance from police and/or an ambulance.
• Get medical help – Even if you do not need emergency assistance, see a doctor as soon as possible. You may have injuries, including head and brain injuries, that are worse than your initial symptoms indicate. Seeing a doctor also documents the fact that you were injured.
• Document the accident – Get photos of the accident scene, the car and driver who hit you, your injuries and torn clothing, and anything else that helps to illustrate what happened, such as pictures of the pedestrian crossing sign or other traffic signs, with the crash location in the photo.
• Get witness information – Record the name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information from the driver who hit you, and the name, phone number, and address of every witness to the accident.
• Save receipts and records – Create a file and save copies of every record related to the crash, including medical records and receipts, receipts for medication, the police accident report, photos, your torn and bloody clothing (unwashed), etc. Save everything.
• Be careful of insurers – Report the accident to your insurer. The insurance company may contact you quickly with a settlement offer. It is likely to be too little and you should decline it unless an experienced accident attorney has reviewed it and advises you to accept. Refuse to sign any document from an insurance company; you could be signing away your right to compensation you deserve.
After a pedestrian accident in Hawaii, we can help you obtain the evidence necessary to support a personal injury or wrongful death claim. We can conduct an independent investigation of the accident and help you document the full extent of your injuries so that you have a strong case for the compensation you are due. With documented evidence of the driver’s negligence and your loss, we will be ready to negotiate with insurance companies or fight them in court on your behalf.
Turn to Leavitt Yamane & Soldner for Help with Your Pedestrian Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident in Hawaii, let our firm help you with your pedestrian accident claim and ensure that you don’t have to face the insurance companies on your own. Our Honolulu pedestrian accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain, suffering, and more.