Walking has been linked to increases in cardiovascular fitness, stronger bones, and a reduction in excess body fat. Walking has even been shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers.
In Ohio, the 7th most populous state and the home of more than 100 colleges and universities, walking is commonplace. Unfortunately, recent changes in the law have made it easier for pedestrians to be found at fault in the event of a collision.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know when you put on your walking shoes in the Buckeye State.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is killed roughly every 88 minutes in the United States. In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in pedestrian accidents—the most deaths since 1990.
In Ohio, 133 pedestrians were killed in 2018. The number of fatalities has been rising, a trend which some attribute to the increased popularity of SUVs and smartphones. The vast majority of pedestrian accidents in Ohio occurred when the pedestrian was crossing an intersection.
|Pedestrian-related traffic crash statistics in Ohio (2013-2018)|
|Source: Ohio Department of Public Safety|
Right-of-way laws address when a pedestrian is required to yield the right of way to a driver and when a driver is required to yield the right of way to a pedestrian.
Failure to yield the right of way often leads to accidents. When there’s an accident, the party who failed to yield the right of way is generally at fault.
Under Ohio Revised Code 4511.46, a driver must yield the right of way in the following situations:
Under Ohio Revised Code 4511.48, a pedestrian must yield the right of way in the following situations:
The right-of-way laws above don’t relieve pedestrians or drivers of their duty to exercise due care to avoid a collision. In other words, just because a driver has the right of way, doesn’t mean the driver can intentionally collide with a pedestrian. Similarly, a pedestrian can’t leap in front of a vehicle when it’s clear the vehicle is not going to yield to the pedestrian.
Most pedestrian accidents are the result of a pedestrian or driver failing to yield the right of way. However, there are some other Ohio laws impacting pedestrians that both pedestrians and drivers should know about:
All drivers have a legal duty to drive with reasonable care and to obey all traffic laws. If a driver violates these duties and causes an accident, the driver can be sued for negligence.
Similarly, all pedestrians have a duty to exercise reasonable care while navigating the roads and to obey all traffic laws. If a pedestrian violates these duties and causes an accident, the pedestrian can be sued for negligence.
What happens if a driver and pedestrian are both at fault for an accident?
Under Ohio’s modified comparative fault theory, the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover is reduced by a percentage that reflects the plaintiff’s degree of fault. However, if the plaintiff’s degree of fault is 51% or more, they are prohibited from recovering any damages.
Let’s look at an example:
Pedestrians aren’t protected by steel frames and airbags like drivers. As a consequence, pedestrians often suffer serious injuries when hit by a motor vehicle.
Some of the most common pedestrian injuries include:
Economic damages are tangible losses that come with a price tag (medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc.). Non-economic damages refer to losses that don’t have a clear dollar value (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.).
If a loved one is killed in a pedestrian accident, certain family members can recover damages associated with the loss by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you’re an injured pedestrian, you can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Fortunately, Ohio requires drivers to carry liability insurance.
Once you file an insurance claim, you’ll probably be contacted by an insurance adjuster. Be aware that the insurance adjuster is working for the driver’s insurance company and is trying to determine if you may have been at fault or partially at fault for the accident. If the insurance adjuster believes you were at fault or partially at fault, they may deny your claim or offer a reduced settlement.
If your claim is denied or you receive a settlement below what you think your claim is worth, then it’s time to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney near you.
We know pedestrian accidents are traumatic. After an accident, do your best to take a deep breath and consider the following:
Still have questions? Need help dealing with the insurance company or filing a personal injury lawsuit? Consider using the free Enjuris Lawyer Directory to locate an attorney in your area.