Russell & Hill, PLLC

Pedestrian Accidents in Spokane

Spokane, known for its beautiful parks and outdoor recreation, is unfortunately also gaining notoriety for an increasing number of pedestrian accidents. In the previous year alone, according to WSDOT, there were 196 pedestrian crashes, resulting in nine fatalities. Such a rise in accidents isn’t merely a statistic. It represents the harsh reality and life-altering impact on victims and their families.

Division Street, in particular, has been identified as a hotspot for pedestrian accidents, accounting for almost half of the city’s pedestrian deaths. The survivability of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle drastically drops with increasing vehicle speed. At speeds of 40 mph, the chance of survival is a mere 15%, compared to a 55% chance at 30 mph.

Spokane Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Russell & Hill, PLLC

After a pedestrian accident in Spokane, quick and decisive legal action can make all the difference. Our attorneys will help you understand your rights and the steps toward recovery and pursuing compensation. We have decades of experience helping victims who have experienced such traumatic accidents, including those who have suffered catastrophic events such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. You don’t pay anything unless we win your case.

Types of Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, which vary significantly in severity. Here are a few of the common pedestrian accident injuries we encounter in these cases:

  • Head and Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including concussions, are common when pedestrians are struck and the impact causes them to fall or be thrown. Symptoms can range from mild, such as headaches and dizziness, to severe, including long-term cognitive issues.
  • Bone Fractures: The force of a collision often leads to broken bones. The most frequently fractured bones in pedestrian accidents include legs, arms, ribs, and hips.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: These include injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Sprains, strains, and contusions are typical soft tissue injuries that can occur even at lower speeds.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Depending on the impact, spinal injuries can occur, potentially leading to temporary or permanent paralysis. These injuries require immediate medical attention and can have long-lasting effects.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt trauma from being hit by a vehicle can cause internal bleeding and damage to internal organs. These injuries are particularly dangerous because they may not be immediately apparent.
  • Cuts and Abrasions: Contact with the vehicle and the road can lead to severe lacerations and scrapes. While these may be less severe than other types of injuries, they can still require medical treatment and lead to significant scarring.
    More severe injuries often lead to increased medical expenses, longer recovery periods, and greater compensation claims. This complexity not only affects the victim’s life but also influences the approach we take in your case to be sure that adequate compensation is secured to cover long-term care and rehabilitation needs.

Common Factors Contributing to Pedestrian Accidents

In our work with Spokane pedestrian accident cases, we see several recurring factors that contribute to these accidents.

  • Distracted Driving: This remains a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. When drivers divert their attention from the road—whether due to texting, adjusting the radio, or other distractions—they may fail to notice pedestrians. Such inattention is particularly dangerous in higher traffic areas within Spokane, such as Division Street, where pedestrian activity is high.
  • Failure to Yield: Washington state law requires drivers to stop or slow down for pedestrians at crosswalks. Despite this clear regulation, many of the cases we manage involve drivers who neglect this duty, leading to preventable accidents.
  • Poor Visibility: Limited visibility can greatly increase the risk of pedestrian accidents. Factors such as inadequate street lighting, inclement weather, or poorly lit pedestrians can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians in time to avoid a collision.
  • Speeding: Exceeding speed limits or driving too fast for conditions reduces a driver’s ability to stop or react in time to avoid a pedestrian. High-speed areas are particularly dangerous for pedestrians due to the severe impact at higher velocities.
  • Impaired Driving: Alcohol or drug impairment significantly decreases a driver’s reaction time, decision-making ability, and overall awareness of their surroundings, increasing the risk of hitting a pedestrian.
  • Unmarked Crosswalks: Intersections without clearly marked crosswalks can create confusion for both drivers and pedestrians. Areas lacking signs or road markings contribute to a higher incidence of pedestrian accidents.
  • Turning Vehicles: Accidents often occur when drivers make turns without adequately checking for pedestrians. This is especially common in left turns where the driver may be more focused on vehicular traffic and overlook pedestrians crossing the street.

Every pedestrian accident case is different because the circumstances surrounding each vary widely. Factors such as the location of the accident, the behavior of the driver, the time of day, and environmental conditions can all influence the specifics of the case. Also, the injuries sustained and their impact on the victim’s life differ, affecting both the legal strategy and the potential compensation. Our attorneys will create a customized strategy for your case, one that will maximize your recovery and compensation.

Legal Rights of Pedestrian Accident Victims

Spokane pedestrian accident victims have certain legal rights that can significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury claim. Not only do victims have the right to take legal action within the statute of limitations time period, but they also have the right to seek compensation for their injuries.

In some cases, if the accident leads to a fatality, eligible family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Russell & Hill will provide the necessary guidance and representation to ensure that your rights are upheld and enforced and that compensation is maximized.

Overview of Pedestrian Rights

Under Washington law, crosswalks are present at all intersections, even if they’re unmarked. These crosswalks are designed to provide a safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians and cyclists are required to obey traffic signals and crosswalk signs, just as motorists do. This means that vehicles must stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or cyclist to cross the crosswalk that intersects their lane of traffic.

However, pedestrians and cyclists must also yield to vehicles already on the road at the crosswalk to prevent accidents when a car is unable to stop in time. Pedestrians must not suddenly enter traffic in a way that a driver would not be able to reasonably stop. In unmarked crosswalks or intersections without signals in Spokane, the right-of-way is generally determined by who is already in the crosswalk or road.

Right to Compensation

When a pedestrian is injured in an accident, they have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. This compensation, often referred to as damages, can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In certain cases, victims may also be eligible for punitive damages. These are awarded in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm, where the at-fault party’s behavior is deemed particularly reprehensible.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in personal injury law and thoroughly review each case to identify all potential sources of compensation. Not only do we seek to recover compensation for immediate losses, such as medical bills and wage loss, but we also consider future medical expenses and the long-term impact on the victim’s earning capabilities.

Statute of Limitations

In Washington State, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including pedestrian claims, is three years from the date of the incident. This means that victims have three years from the date of the accident to:

  • Gather evidence
  • Seek medical treatment
  • Consult with an attorney
  • Negotiate with insurance companies
  • File a lawsuit against the at-fault party

It is important to be aware of this time limit and take action within the three-year period to protect your rights and pursue compensation for your injuries.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if the injury or its connection to the event is not immediately apparent, the discovery rule allows the three-year statute of limitations to start when the injury is discovered.

For individuals who were minors at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not start until their 18th birthday, providing them until their 21st birthday to file a claim.

Washington’s Fault-Based System

Unlike some states, Washington uses a fault-based system for pedestrian accident claims. This means the driver who caused the accident is financially responsible for compensating injured pedestrians for their losses. Compensation typically comes from the at-fault driver’s property damage liability and bodily injury liability insurance coverage.

Wrongful Death Claims

In the tragic event of a pedestrian accident resulting in a fatality, the victim’s family may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. This type of claim seeks to compensate the family for their loss and can cover expenses such as funeral costs, loss of companionship, and the emotional distress caused by the loss of a loved one.

Families considering a wrongful death claim should consult with a Spokane pedestrian accident attorney. These cases are complex and emotionally charged, requiring the expertise and sensitivity of a seasoned attorney to handle the legal aspects while the family focuses on healing.

Key Washington Statutes Related to Pedestrians

Below are some of the Washington state statutes that can come into play in a pedestrian accident case. The specific Washington state laws that apply to a particular pedestrian accident will depend on the circumstances of the case. The complex nature of these laws and the wide variety of variables in these cases highlight why an experienced attorney is needed to achieve the best possible outcome.

  • RCW 46.61.210 – Duties of Driver Approaching Intersection: This section requires drivers to stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • RCW 46.61.235 – Pedestrians on Roadways (at crosswalks): This section defines crosswalks and outlines pedestrian right-of-way within them. It also mentions pedestrians yielding to vehicles already in the crosswalk when crossing wouldn’t be safe.
  • RCW 46.61.240 – Crossing at Other Than Crosswalks: This section covers situations outside marked or unmarked crosswalks and requires pedestrians to yield the right-of-way to vehicles.
  • RCW 46.61.050 – Traffic Signals: This applies to both drivers and pedestrians. It requires them to obey traffic signals and signs, with exceptions for situations where a police officer is directing traffic.
  • RCW 46.61.250 – Roadway Pedestrians (no sidewalks): This statute outlines pedestrian behavior on roadways when sidewalks are unavailable. It requires walking on the left side facing traffic for better visibility.
  • RCW 46.61.261 – Sidewalks: This section emphasizes the importance of pedestrians using sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible, as they have the right-of-way in those designated areas.
  • WPI 70.01 General Duty – Driver or Pedestrian: This Washington Pattern Jury Instruction defines the general duty of care for both drivers and pedestrians. It essentially states that everyone on the road must act with reasonable caution to avoid collisions and injuries.
  • RCW 46.61.236 – Running Into Traffic: This statute prohibits pedestrians from suddenly darting into traffic from a curb or median in a way that wouldn’t allow a driver enough time to stop safely. There are some exceptions for school zones, but generally, pedestrians can be held liable for accidents caused by such actions.

The Role of Comparative Negligence in Washington State

Washington State follows comparative negligence laws, which can have a significant impact on pedestrian accident claims. Under these laws, a pedestrian accident victim can pursue compensation even if they are found partially at fault for the accident, but any settlement amount will be reduced by the pedestrian’s share of fault.

Both motorists and pedestrians are responsible for doing everything within their capability to avoid a collision with one another. For example, if a pedestrian suddenly steps into traffic, causing a motor vehicle driver to swerve and hit another vehicle, the pedestrian may be found partially at fault. Our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers can help victims through these complex legal issues and advocate for a fair determination of fault.

Types of Damages Recoverable in Pedestrian Accident Claims

Victims of pedestrian accidents may be entitled to recover different types of damages that encompass both economic aspects and personal losses. The goal of these damages is to compensate the victim for the losses they have suffered as a result of the accident. The types of damages recoverable can vary significantly depending on the specifics of each case. Our lawyers can assess and quantify these damages accurately.

Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to monetary losses directly related to injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents. These damages typically include past and future medical expenses, as well as past lost wages and estimated future lost earnings due to the accident. For instance, if a victim is unable to return to work due to their injuries, they can seek compensation for their lost earnings.

Calculations for economic damages can encompass past expenses along with anticipated future expenses related to ongoing medical care and the impact on wages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to non-monetary losses that include the psychological and emotional effects of injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents. These damages are often more challenging to quantify as they do not have a straightforward monetary value like medical bills or lost wages.

Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and a diminished quality of life. The amount awarded for these damages is often determined by a jury, who evaluates the severity of the victim’s injuries and determines a monetary value they think is fitting to compensate for the victim’s pain and suffering.

Steps to Take Following a Pedestrian Accident

Understanding what to do following a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with the shock and stress of being involved in an accident. Taking the right steps can significantly impact the outcome of any future legal action.

Seeking Medical Attention

Regardless of the severity of the accident, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Many injuries, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries, may not present immediate symptoms but can have serious long-term effects if left untreated. Therefore, obtaining a medical examination within 48 hours is critical to ensure that any latent injuries are identified and treated.

It’s also important to note that delaying medical treatment can compromise your ability to claim that your injuries are related to the pedestrian accident when dealing with insurance companies. Seeking immediate medical attention will protect your health, but also ensure that your injuries are officially recorded, which is essential for any subsequent accident claim.

Reporting the Accident

After addressing medical needs, the next important step is to report the incident to the police and your insurance company. Contacting law enforcement creates an official record of the accident, which is invaluable when establishing the facts of the incident. It’s also essential to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, as failing to take legal action within this period can result in the loss of the right to pursue the claim.

Documenting the Accident Scene

Documenting the accident scene is one of the most important steps to take following a pedestrian accident and will directly affect your case. Adequate documentation includes:

  • Taking photos of the accident scene
  • Taking photos of your injuries
  • Taking photos of any property damage
  • Collecting contact information from the driver
  • Collecting contact information from any witnesses to the accident

In some cases, pedestrian accident scenes can be captured on surveillance cameras, providing crucial evidence for your claim. Our attorneys can help locate and secure this critical documentation, strengthening your claim and helping to establish liability.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Pedestrian Accident Claims

In the challenging time following a pedestrian accident, it’s easy to make mistakes that can impact your claim. Here are a few critical mistakes to avoid to ensure a smooth and successful claim process:

  1. Delaying Medical Attention: Even if injuries seem minor initially, seeking medical attention right away is critical. This establishes a clear record of your injuries and their connection to the accident, strengthening your claim.
  2. Failing to Report the Accident: Police reports document the scene, witness statements, and initial observations of fault. Having a report helps establish a clear picture of the accident.
  3. Talking About the Accident Publicly: Social media posts about the accident, your injuries, or the claim details can be used against you by insurance companies. Avoid discussing the case online.
  4. Going it Alone: Insurance adjusters are trained to negotiate settlements that benefit their company. A Spokane personal injury lawyer with experience in pedestrian accidents can ensure your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation.
  5. Accepting the First Offer: Insurance companies often make initial offers that are much lower than your claim’s true value. Don’t be pressured to accept the first offer. A lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement that reflects the full extent of your damages.
  6. Missing Deadlines: Personal injury claims have filing deadlines. Missing these deadlines can result in losing your right to seek compensation. An attorney can ensure all deadlines are met and paperwork is filed correctly.
  7. Not Keeping Records of Expenses: Keep all receipts and documentation for medical bills, lost wages, car repairs, or other accident-related expenses. These records are crucial for proving the extent of your financial losses.
  8. Not Following Doctor’s Orders: Failing to follow your doctor’s treatment plan can give the insurance company grounds to argue that your injuries weren’t as severe as claimed or that you worsened your condition through neglect.
  9. Not Understanding Shared Fault Laws: Washington is a comparative negligence state. This means the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced if you are found partially at fault for the accident. Knowing your state’s laws and how they apply to your case is important.

Working with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help you avoid these mistakes.

How a Russell & Hill, PLLC Can Help

The pedestrian accident attorneys at Russell & Hill’s Spokane office can greatly affect the outcome of your claim. They can provide personalized, compassionate representation to victims and assist with:

  • Avoid critical mistakes during your claim
  • Establishing the driver’s negligence
  • Handling communications with insurance companies
  • Evidence collection, such as securing police reports and medical records

We can provide essential legal advice and ensure all filing deadlines are met, which will preserve your right to seek compensation. Our Spokane pedestrian accident lawyers are skilled in helping victims achieve the best possible outcome for their claims, ensuring they receive the compensation they need to recover and move forward. Contact us today at (509) 361-2065 or use our contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation. You pay nothing unless we win your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common factors contributing to pedestrian accidents in Spokane?

In Spokane, common factors affecting pedestrian safety include distracted driving, failure to yield to pedestrians, poor visibility, speeding, impaired driving, unmarked crosswalks, turning vehicles, and pedestrian behavior.

What legal rights do pedestrian accident victims in Spokane have?

Pedestrian accident victims in Spokane have the right to seek compensation for their injuries, file a wrongful death claim, and pursue claims against government entities.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a pedestrian accident claim in Washington State?

You have three years from the date of the pedestrian accident to file a claim in Washington State.

What types of damages can be recovered in pedestrian accident claims?

In pedestrian accident claims, victims can recover economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

What role does a pedestrian accident attorney play in the recovery of damages?

A pedestrian accident attorney plays a crucial role in helping victims establish negligence, communicate with insurance companies, and receive personalized representation to ensure the best outcome for their claim. This can significantly impact the recovery of damages.


Date published: 2024-01-08
5 out of 5

Nicole and Melissa are amazing! They worked together to get me through this difficult time and went over and beyond. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support and help in this difficult situation. 💜

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