Pedestrian and Bicycle Injuries
Motor vehicle operators are required to exercise reasonable care when sharing the roadway with pedestrians and bicyclists. If reckless or negligent driving—such as speeding, failure to adhere to traffic laws, or driving under the influence—injured you or caused a brain injury or wrongful death to your beloved family member, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury and any medical expenses that come as a result.
At Doehrman Buba, our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys have decades of combined experience and are renowned for their exceptional representation of pedestrian and bicycle accident victims. We work closely with pedestrian accident investigators and other experts to help ensure that justice is served for both pedestrian and bicycle accident injuries. The bottom line is that everyone including pedestrians, bike riders, and motorists, have to follow the rules of the road to make things as safe as possible for everyone.
Negligent and Reckless Motorists Injure Cyclists and Pedestrians
Motorists have a responsibility to drive in a safe and observant manner and to adhere to all traffic laws, including Indiana bicycle laws. Every day, pedestrians and cyclists die or suffer serious injuries as the result of negligence or recklessness on the part of car and truck drivers.
Commonly, drivers fail to notice a pedestrian in the road because they are distracted by a cell phone, radio, or some other diversion. Accidents caused by negligent drivers account for the majority of catastrophic injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Other causes of bike accidents, pedestrian accidents, and car accidents include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to come to a stop at a traffic sign or light
- Failure to stop prior to turning right on a red light at an intersection
- Failure to stop at a crosswalk
- Failure to adhere to the speed limit in residential areas
- Failure to exercise reasonable caution to avoid accidents
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
If you are a pedestrian hit by a car or were seriously injured in a bike accident, the personal injury law firm of Doehrman Buba will defend your rights as a victim. We will hold negligent, reckless, or careless drivers accountable for their actions.
Pedestrian Accident Information
When a car or any other kind of motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian while they are walking or jogging, the injuries that are possible can be very severe, and even fatal. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, each year in the United States there are over 4,000 pedestrian accident casualties, and Indiana is known to have one of the worst problems out of all the states.
There are endless causes of pedestrian accidents, and many times pedestrians are injured due to reckless or negligent drivers. In these situations, injured pedestrians and their loved ones have the legal right to recover compensation that helps with their rehabilitation and hold drivers accountable for their negligence, but it’s much more complicated and easier said than done.
This page serves as an informational tool for anyone curious about pedestrian accident claims in Indiana by providing a comprehensive overview of Indiana’s pedestrian laws, the statistics involved with pedestrian accidents in Indiana and across the U.S., the actual letter of the law in the Indiana penal code, the overall causes of pedestrian accidents, what you can do in terms of prevention of pedestrian accidents as both a driver and walker, and lastly lawsuit information that can help formulate a plan towards litigation.
By browsing this information, you’ll get a better understanding of not only Indiana’s laws and how bad of a problem pedestrian accidents are in the Hoosier State. You will also understand what you or your loved ones are capable of achieving in terms of pedestrian accident damages claims along with the assistance of our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys.
If you are someone who generally tends to walk or jog along Indiana’s city streets on a daily basis, it’s in your best interest to know everything about the state’s pedestrian laws for you and your loved ones’ safety. It can be crucial to know what laws were violated and how an Indiana court of law would generally view a specific accident if you or someone you know does actually get in a pedestrian accident, and that knowledge is exactly what this page aims to provide.
The following are some of the most important Indiana pedestrian laws that everyone should be aware of:
- If a vehicle has stopped at a marked crosswalk in order to yield to a pedestrian then another vehicle cannot pass the stopped vehicle.
- All pedestrians must obey traffic control devices unless otherwise directed to disobey the devices by a police officer.
- If a pedestrian is crossing at a location that isn’t a marked crosswalk, then the pedestrian must yield to traffic.
- When sidewalks are not available pedestrians are allowed to walk on the shoulder of the road AND as far as they possibly can from the edge of the roadway. When a pedestrian is in this kind of situation it is their responsibility to yield to all vehicles.
- Motorists must always yield to blind pedestrians who clearly are using a walking cane or a seeing-eye guide dog.
- Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians that are using a crosswalk that is on the same half of a road as the vehicle, or when a pedestrian is closely approaching this kind of crosswalk.
- When vehicles are approaching any yield sign they must also yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians that are simultaneously crossing the road.
- Pedestrians are not allowed to leave a curb or enter onto a crosswalk when they are entering into the path of a moving vehicle that is close enough to them to constitute an immediate hazard.
- Pedestrians may only diagonally cross an intersection when they are authorized by a traffic control device to do so.
Fully understanding what you are legally able to do as a pedestrian at every crosswalk and in every general situation is essential in keeping you and your loved ones safe from pedestrian injuries. There are also a few major issues that may arise within pedestrian accident litigation that are important to know as much as possible about.
There will be more information on these issues in the lawsuit information section of this page, but the following are some of the issues that are carefully navigated in every pedestrian accident incident:
- The location where the pedestrian crossed and why the pedestrian crossed at the specific time of the accident.
- Whether or not the accident occurred at a designated pedestrian crosswalk or somewhere else.
- What color and type of clothing the pedestrian was wearing at the time of the accident.
- What time of day/night the accident occurred and the specific purpose as to why the pedestrian was walking in that area at that specific time.
- Whether or not the pedestrian was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
- Comparative fault — In Indiana, a plaintiff in any personal injury case must prove that they were no more than 50 percent at fault for the accident that occurred if they are seeking recovery compensation. If the court deems the plaintiff was in fact 50 percent or less at fault for the accident, then the recovery compensation could be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. This is an extremely important aspect of pedestrian accident law because almost always a motor vehicle driver will try to pin blame on the pedestrian victim by alleging that they walked into traffic or crossed the road illegally. Even if it’s difficult to prove these allegations, defendants will almost always use Indiana’s comparative fault laws to decrease the amount of recovery compensation they’ll owe. We’ll discuss how these kinds of assertions can be challenged throughout the litigation process in sections below.
- Child injuries — Special steps are taken throughout the recovery compensation process when a child is the injured pedestrian, and this often includes obtaining a court’s approval of a settlement that exceeds $10,000.
- Wrongful death — When a pedestrian accident does result in death then it is possible for the victim’s loved ones to pursue a wrongful death claim. These claims are regulated by Indiana’s state statutes in terms of who can bring about this type of claim and the compensation of the damages that could potentially be recovered.
For more information about Indiana’s pedestrian laws, you can research the Indiana Penal Code, in particular IC 9-21-17.
More Americans and Indianans are walking on a daily basis, and a recent report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration has urged the people of Indiana to remain vigilant while walking and advocated for a combination of better law enforcement, engineering, and education in terms of protecting people from pedestrian injuries. Some of the recommendations the study provided to help reduce pedestrian injuries include the following:
- Installing more raised medians, known as refuge islands, that can protect pedestrians
- Creating high-visibility crosswalk signals so motor vehicle operators can more easily know they are approaching pedestrians
- Reducing speed limits where a large volume of pedestrians are at risk due to fast-moving traffic
There is no doubt pedestrian accidents are a nationwide phenomenon, and in 2012 there were 4,743 fatalities in pedestrian/motor vehicle collisions, which equals more than 12 people every day. In Indiana in 2012, there were 1,750 pedestrian collisions and 64 were killed.
The rate of pedestrian accidents and deaths was virtually unchanged in the following years as there were 2,141 pedestrian deaths from January to June 2013 (34 in Indiana), and 2,125 pedestrian deaths from January to June 2014 (37 in Indiana). Although it may seem that Indiana was only coming up with a small percentage of these nationwide tragedies, it still goes to show that the problem with pedestrian deaths has become a growing national and local crisis, which is exemplified through the following statistics:
- Pedestrian accidents are 15 percent higher in 2014 as opposed to 2009
- There has been a 28 percent surge in pedestrian deaths for people between 20-69 years old since 2009
- 36 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2013 involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit
- 70 percent of pedestrian deaths happen at night between 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
These statistics may seem far from home, but a 2014 report by Smart Growth America ranked Indianapolis as the 25th most dangerous city for pedestrians. This ranking is based on the following data:
- 199 total pedestrian deaths (2003-2012)
- 16 annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people (from 2008-2012)
- 6% of the population commutes by foot (2008-2012)
- Indianapolis has a Pedestrian Danger Index score of 98 (2008-2012)
Children and older adults are at a much higher risk of being a pedestrian accident victim. Being struck by a vehicle is the third leading cause of death for children 15 and younger and is the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries for children between 5 and 9 years old. The following statistics indicate the severity of the danger presented to children in terms of pedestrian accidents:
- Around 18,000 children go to the hospital each year for pedestrian injuries
- 11 percent of these 18,000 hospital visits require surgery
- 23 percent of children who are in a pedestrian accident suffer forms of psychological distress.
Older adults account for about 21 percent of pedestrian accident fatalities, and they comprise of about 12.6 percent of the country’s population. This is partly due to older people’s inability to react quickly and avoid deadly impact, and the fact that many older people don’t drive, use public transportation, and walk more often. The following statistics indicate just how bad the problem is in terms of pedestrian accidents for older people:
- 12 percent of pedestrian casualties are people who are 75 and older, but this age demographic is only 6 percent of the general population.
- 21 percent of pedestrian casualties are adults 65 and older, which makes up 12.6 percent of the population.
- Indiana is ranked 41st in terms of pedestrian accidents involving people 75 and older.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
When answering how or why pedestrian accidents occur in Indiana, it’s important to come back to Indiana’s comparative fault laws, because in Indiana an injured pedestrian must be able to prove that an automobile driver acted negligently in order to bring about a legitimate claim for damages. It’s our job as your legal team to collect and preserve any evidence that can help your case by potentially establishing a driver’s fault in an accident with you or one of your loved ones. Many times, the evidence that we will be able to collect will help distinguish that the driver in question did at least one of the following:
- Failed to notice the pedestrian because he or she was distracted in some way or another. A common way this can be proved is by getting the defendant’s cell phone records subpoenaed, which could help indicate whether or not the driver was talking or texting on their phone at the time of the collision. Inattentive or distracted driving can also come in many different forms other than cell phone use.
- Was under the influence of either drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the pedestrian accident. The main ways this can be established is through the police records of the accident and their breath/blood test results. Many times, in these instances the defendant will plead guilty to being impaired, and even the defendant’s past incidents can be legitimate evidence.
- Ran a stop sign or red light, exceeded the speed limit, or turned their vehicle illegally, which ultimately caused the pedestrian collision. Some of the ways in which our legal team can prove these situations occurred are through utilizing red light camera footage, black boxes, and electronic data recorders, as well as eye witness testimonies.
- Failed to use caution while driving in an area where children are present or in a school zone. This is many times proven by utilizing security camera footage or even school bus camera footage if it’s available.
- Eyewitnesses are extremely important in pedestrian accident cases, and so if you are struck by a vehicle and aren’t too hurt, and you notice someone else saw it, then it could help you to get a statement from them and their contact information.
As you’ve already read in the statistics and overview sections, there are countless other ways in which pedestrian accidents occur, and the fault for these incidents aren’t always 100 percent on the drivers.
What you can do to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
Avoiding pedestrian accidents is a two-way street, pun intended, so it’s important for both drivers and pedestrians to be completely aware of their responsibilities, especially around children and the elderly who are more susceptible to being in these kinds of incidents. There are rules for pedestrians and bicyclists that must be followed, too.
It’s difficult to come up with a complete list of steps to take to prevent pedestrian accidents, though we’ve compiled a brief list of tips to take so you can minimize your risks as both a driver and a pedestrian.
Tips for Drivers
- Don’t use your phone while driving. This may not seem difficult or rather minuscule for some people, but even changing your music or looking at your navigation apps can be dangerous. If something important does come up like a work call then you really should pull over and take the call while your car is parked.
- Consistently check your mirrors. Just one check-in each mirror isn’t enough when you’re in reverse or getting out of parking spaces in crowded areas.
- Make sure your windshield is clean. Also, make sure your rearview and side mirrors are working well and are in the right positions so your field of view is maximized.
- Don’t speed in bad conditions! Speeding is always dangerous and can lead to all sorts of legal trouble, but you’re especially at risk when the roads are slippery from rain or snow. Even when you’re not speeding you always need to give yourself extra room to stop and brake when you’re in unsafe conditions.
- Always use your turn signals! Also, this may go without saying, but you should always be aware of pedestrians on sidewalks around intersections and crosswalks.
Tips for Pedestrians
- Always look both ways when crossing the street!
- Pay close attention to painted street signs and stoplights. Only walk when you have the proper signal, and avoid rushing across crosswalks when walk lights are about to change to stop.
- Remain alert when crossing and look out for drivers. If a driver is speeding and can’t slow down in time you’ll be able to notice this if you’re always looking out for it instead of counting on everyone following the rules.
- Don’t walk alone if you’ve been drinking. This is a growing issue across the U.S., and it’s something that’s so avoidable. Get an Uber or taxi, or get a friend or family member to give you a ride or just walk with you. Walking alone while impaired is dangerous on many levels, not just with pedestrian accidents.
- Try to be seen walking at night by wearing reflective clothing or bright colors, or carry a flashlight.
- Use sidewalks whenever available, and if a sidewalk is not available, walk facing oncoming traffic so you’ll have more reaction time to get out of the way.
Tips For Bicyclists
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, the opposing legal team is going to question what you were doing and if you were following rules established by the state of Indiana at the time. You won’t just have to prove that the defendant did something negligent, you’ll have to prove that you were not being negligent yourself.
- If there is a bike lane available, use it.
- If you are bicycling on a road without a bike lane, be especially aware of what’s going on around you.
- Ride with the flow of traffic. (Except in a bike lane that goes both ways)
- Use appropriate hand signals to let drivers know your intentions when biking.
- Don’t ride with music playing so loud that you can’t hear what is happening around you.
With any personal injury claim in Indiana, it’s the responsibility of the plaintiff and their legal team to prove that the defendant was liable for the accident and the liability of the plaintiff’s injuries. What we’ll do for you is complete a full investigation towards the cause of your injuries so that we can prove that the driver is at fault, or at the very least 50% at fault within Indiana’s comparative fault laws. We’ll also simultaneously examine how your injuries from the pedestrian accident have affected your life and calculate the medical needs and expenses, missed work, and other miscellaneous damages.
Sometimes it’s necessary to utilize experts to support your damages claim, and some of these people can include medical experts, life care planners and several other types of professionals who can help establish the full extent as to how the accident has affected you so that you can get the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
You may be able to file a claim for thins such as:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Prescription drugs
- Physical therapy expenses
Contact Our Indianapolis Pedestrian And Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone close to you was a pedestrian hit by a car or was injured in a bike accident, or if your loved one was a pedestrian or bicyclist killed in a fatal car accident, we are here to help.
Contact Doehrman Buba today online or by telephone at (317) 844-9999 to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Indianapolis right away. We provide confidential and free consultations. We’ll give you a complete, free case review and discuss what we can do to help you with your possible personal injust claim.