If you’ve been hit by a car as a pedestrian in Alabama, you’re likely injured, upset, and confused about the nature of your situation. Even if you were in a crosswalk when the accident occurred, someone might try to shift the blame so that they can avoid paying for a costly claim.
Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the Alabama laws pertaining to pedestrians. Like drivers, pedestrians in Alabama are subject to some rules and a standard of care. The good news is that drivers are held to a higher standard of care in most cases, and pedestrians do have rights in Alabama.
What Are Your Rights as a Pedestrian in Alabama?
Alabama law requires that pedestrians obey all traffic-control signals (such as crosswalk signs) unless they are told to do otherwise by a law enforcement officer.
When a pedestrian is in a sidewalk, they have the right-of-way under most circumstances. When there is no crosswalk signal or if the signal isn’t working, the pedestrian has the right-of-way. Vehicles are required to stop or slow down as they approach a pedestrian that is either in or near their driving lane.
Even in a crosswalk, the pedestrian could be at fault in an accident if they fail to exercise “reasonable care.” For example, if the pedestrian crosses against the traffic lights when the signal says, “Don’t Walk” or if they dart out in front of a moving vehicle without allowing it time to slow down or stop, there might be a question of negligence.
Some Little-Known Alabama Laws Governing Pedestrians
It does seem as if most rights are given to pedestrians in Alabama, as well they should be since a pedestrian doesn’t have the protection of a 4,000-pound vehicle to keep them from seriously bodily harm. This does not mean, however, that a pedestrian can run out into the road at any time and avoid responsibility for the consequences.
There are several laws that govern or restrict pedestrian activity in Alabama. For example, it is unlawful for a pedestrian to cross traffic or a road diagonally. If a sidewalk is available, it is also unlawful for a pedestrian to choose instead to walk on the roadway instead of the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk present on a two-way road, pedestrians may only walk on the left-hand side of the road.
Pedestrians in Alabama are also not permitted to be on the roadway if they are:
- Attempting to hitchhike
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Soliciting contributions, business, or employment from drivers or vehicle passengers
The Seriousness of Motor Vehicle vs. Pedestrian Accidents in Alabama
Pedestrian accidents in the United States happen over 200 times per day, and Alabama is in the nation’s top 10 list for having the highest rates of pedestrian accident fatalities. Aside from the tragic deaths, nearly 76,000 people are injured in pedestrian accidents in the U.S. each year.
The people most at risk for a pedestrian accident are children and the elderly. Adults age 65 and older account for 20% of all pedestrian accident fatalities. Children are also particularly vulnerable, with one in five children killed in accident crashes being a pedestrian.
The tragic thing about these accidents is that they are completely avoidable. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents are distracted driving and reckless driving. Specifically, these accidents are caused by:
- Drivers looking at cell phones
- Failure to yield or obey traffic signals
- Disregard for road and weather conditions
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Damages in Alabama Pedestrian Accidents
When a pedestrian goes up against a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or large truck, they aren’t going to come away from the experience unmarked. These pedestrian accidents often have catastrophic and heartbreaking consequences. If you or a loved one have been hit by a car as a pedestrian in Alabama, the damages in an ensuing case could include:
- Medical expenses
- Permanent disability
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum at (334) 262-1911 to discuss your case and we can help protect your rights.