The Perils Of Pedestrian Accidents In Minnesota
In 2016, and improving economy put more cars on the road. At the same time, more people walked to their destinations, for various reasons. This combination helped drive pedestrian fatalities to their highest level in twenty years. In other words, it is very dangerous to cross the street even if you stop and look both ways.
In response to this sudden uptick, many cities in Minnesota and elsewhere have announced ambitious goals to reduce or eliminate such fatalities. But talk is easy and action is hard. For example, longer red lights would give slow-moving pedestrians more time to cross busy intersections. But the resulting traffic congestion would most likely irk motorists, and many of these people would be very vocal in their opposition.
So, for the most part, it’s up to Minneapolis personal injury attorneys to stand in the gap. Victims deserve justice and compensation. Typically, there’s only one way to get these things.
Some Specific Causes of Minnesota Pedestrian Accidents
Speed is one of the leading causes of pedestrian-auto accidents, and there are some other specific causes that bear mentioning as well.
Most pedestrian-auto collisions occur outside marked crosswalks on major urban streets or semi-rural highways. So, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is often traveling at or near full speed at the moment of impact.
Because Minneapolis pedestrians are completely exposed to danger in these cases, velocity has a profound impact on injury severity. At impact speeds of 30mph, the fatality rate is only about 10 percent. But the fatality rate skyrockets to 90 percent at impact speeds of 50mph.
Distraction is a serious problem as well. Small and slow-moving pedestrians often do not draw driver attention away from their smartphones or other distractions. The fact that many drivers do not maintain an active lookout for pedestrians compounds this issue.
Alcohol is often a factor as well. This depressant impairs both judgement and motor skills, so Minnesotans who drink should never drive.
Available Legal Theories in Minneapolis
Negligence is basically a lack of ordinary care. For noncommercial drivers, that usually means reasonable care. But truck drivers, Uber drivers, taxi drivers, and other commercial operators have a higher duty of care in Minnesota. So, it is easier to establish negligence based on something like surfing the web on a cellphone while driving. Such conduct is clearly negligent but not technically illegal in Minnesota.
If the tortfeasor does violate the cellphone law or any other safety law, such as speeding or DUI, the negligence per se shortcut usually applies. In these cases, victim/plaintiffs must only establish that the tortfeasor’s safety law infraction substantially caused the car crash.
Damages Available in Minneapolis
In serious injury cases, medical bills alone often exceed $100,000. Furthermore, the pain and suffering these victims must endure is almost unendurable. Minnesota law provides financial compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages.
But perhaps the more important damages have no attached dollar sign. Legal claims provide some measure of emotional closure for victims. Such closure is often necessary to speed their physical recoveries, so they can get on with their lives.
Additional punitive damages may be available as well. There must be clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor intentionally disregarded a known risk and therefore put other people in serious danger.
Join With a Tenacious Attorney
Pedestrian-auto accidents often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Minnesota, contact the Gunther Law Office. Home and hospital visits are available.