Proven Portland Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Serving Greater Portland, Bend Oregon and Vancouver, WA
Did you know that, on average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every two hours and another is injured every seven minutes? Or that a quarter of pedestrians struck by vehicles are hit while using designated crosswalk areas? The Oregon state laws governing pedestrian rights are intricate and technical. Whether your injury occurred in a crosswalk, sidewalk, highway shoulder, or in the roadway, you need to clearly understand what your legal rights are and the options available to you in order to recoup the maximum amount of damages you are owed. The highly skilled Portland pedestrian accident lawyers at D’Amore Law Group have years of experience informing clients of their legal situation and crafting a customized trial strategy to optimize their chances of obtaining a favorable resolution.
Roadway fatalities have risen exponentially over the course of the past few years. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of highway deaths in the United States has risen by more than 14%. According to a recent report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 5,987 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle-related accidents in 2016 – a 46% rise in pedestrian fatalities since 2009.
In the state of Oregon alone, there were 74 pedestrians killed and another 1,066 seriously injured in automobile collisions – an increase of 11.91% from the previous year. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, the top three driver negligence errors resulting in pedestrian accidents were:
- Changing lanes at intersections
- Failure to yield pedestrians the right-of-way
- Failure to abide by traffic signals
Main Culprits of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents typically fly under the radar, because the majority of pedestrians fail to report their accident to law enforcement officials. These disastrous accidents are usually caused due to driver negligence. However, additional factors such as confusion, aggressive driving, or distracted driving can drastically increase the likelihood of pedestrian injuries as well.
Generally speaking, the deciding factor in pedestrian-automotive accident cases is what standard of care the defendant owed the injured person. Drivers and pedestrians alike must both abide by the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care. In many instances, it may appear obvious as to who was ultimately responsible and/or negligent. But the courts consider a multitude of factors when determining fault. Our highly experienced Portland pedestrian accident lawyers understand these factors.
When it comes to drivers, the general rule is that they must exercise reasonable care under the given circumstances. Failure to do so constitutes negligence. Some common practices conducive to a finding of driver negligence are:
- Distracted driving (e.g., texting, eating, talking, etc.)
- Excessive speed
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians using designated crosswalks or walkways
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to signal before turning
- Ignoring hazardous weather or traffic conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs, medications, or alcohol
Understanding Oregon Pedestrian Laws
Oregon statutes define a pedestrian as “any person afoot or in a wheelchair.” This includes walkers, runners, highway utility laborers, skateboarders, and bicyclists. Oregon law allows pedestrians to cross the road at any location. However, local ordinance variances can potentially alter pedestrian rights (such as in Portland, where pedestrians must utilize a crosswalk if one is located within 150 feet of them). If pedestrians are uneducated regarding their obligations and the rules applicable to them, a violation can hinder their ensuing claim for damages or even trigger fines and penalties.
The Oregon legislature recently adopted the Vulnerable Roadway User Law. This law is intended to provide enhanced protection to people walking, running, or riding bikes, as well as those using skateboards, roller skates, roller blades, or scooters on the roads. Before its implementation, Oregon state law provided only minimal punishments for careless driving that led to serious injuries to pedestrians and other non-motorized occupants on the road. The Vulnerable Roadway User Law subjects reckless and negligent drivers to enhanced penalties ranging from community service and mandatory driver education classes to substantial financial penalties and lengthy license suspensions.
Oregon has several crosswalk-specific laws meant to safeguard pedestrians. The official definition of “crosswalk” has remained unchanged since 1975 when it was first defined in state statute and includes: “Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere that is distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or markings on the surface of the roadway.” Pedestrians should note, however, that while jaywalking is prohibited, current laws require that drivers halt and yield while pedestrians in crosswalks cross – even if the “don’t walk” signal is showing. Additional facets of Oregon crosswalk laws include the following:
- In Oregon, every intersection is considered a crosswalk – regardless of whether it is marked or unmarked.
- Crosswalks may also exist between intersections (or “midblock”) but only when marked with painted white lines.
- A pedestrian is considered to be in a crosswalk when any part of the pedestrian moves into the roadway, at a crosswalk, with the intent to proceed. This includes not only the pedestrian’s body, but also a wheelchair, cane, crutch, bicycle, or any other extension of the person.
- A driver may be cited and fined more than $250 for failing to stop for a pedestrian.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
Those who may be liable for your injuries may attempt to place the blame on you for the accident. They may attempt to fabricate evidence, twist your words, or lie about the details leading up to the collision. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, you should immediately take the following steps to protect both your well-being and legal rights:
- Contact law enforcement officials immediately.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident before officials arrive.
- Gather the names and contact information of all involved parties including witnesses.
- Do not make any statements to anyone, including drivers and insurance representatives.
- Seek immediate medical treatment for all injuries, including a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed physician to uncover any latent injuries caused by or aggravated by the accident.
Unlike a typical car accident, a pedestrian injury collision usually leaves little tangible evidence at the scene of the accident (like broken glass or vehicular damages). In many instances, the police arrive after the injured pedestrian has been transported to a hospital. It is therefore essential, if you or a loved one is injured in a pedestrian accident, that you consult with reliable and competent legal counsel as soon as possible. Your attorney can then conduct witness interviews, gather evidence to strengthen your case, and provide you with the advice you need to determine the best actions to take. At D’Amore Law Group, our Portland pedestrian accident lawyersare well versed in Oregon pedestrian law and can provide you with the resources you need to meet all of your legal needs.
What Damages Can Be Recovered for a Pedestrian Accident?
Calculating damages is one of the most complex and nuanced aspects of any type of litigation; pedestrian accident cases are no different. Our experienced Portland pedestrian accident attorneys can assist you in developing an effective trial strategy to recover the maximum amount of damages you are owed, which can include the following:
- Loss of future income
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Coverage of medical expenses
- Reimbursement for rehabilitative care
Experienced Portland Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Pedestrians have a duty to use crosswalks, cross at right angles, and to obey traffic control devices. Everyone is a pedestrian at some point. But if you regularly walk to school or work, take a moment to review these pedestrian safety laws. Sometimes, even if you are being careful, you can’t avoid an accident. Unfortunately, pedestrians often suffer severe injuries.
Seriously injured pedestrians or their families can contact D’Amore Law Group for a free consultation. Our offices are located in Portland, Lake Oswego, and Bend, Oregon, as well as Vancouver, Washington.
The proven Portland pedestrian accident lawyers at D’Amore Law Group have helped many pedestrians injured by motor vehicles, including:
- $1 million recovery on behalf of a pedestrian who suffered catastrophic injuries after being struck by a truck driven by a distracted driver.
- $550,000 recovery for a pedestrian who was struck by a motor vehicle in a marked crosswalk in Lake Oswego, Oregon. In this case, an elderly woman sustained serious injuries, including fractured femurs, a broken knee, torn shoulder, and a concussion.
- $365,000 policy-limits recovery on behalf of a Portland, Oregon, veteran who suffered a fractured hip and leg after a motor vehicle ran a red light.
Call us today.