Minnesotans should not have to take their lives into their own hands just by walking along a road or crossing a street. Yet, every year dozens of our fellow citizens die, and roughly nine hundred (on average) get hurt, in pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles. Any time a car or truck strikes a person on foot, the person stands a good chance of suffering severe, catastrophic, or fatal injury. Although pedestrians sometimes bear the blame for walking into traffic, statistics show that more often than not, motor vehicle drivers cause pedestrian accidents.
In the wake of pedestrian accidents caused by drivers (or some other third party), victims and their families have legal rights to seek compensation under Minnesota law. At Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers, we make it our mission to help those victims assert their rights and recover every dollar they deserve. Contact us today to learn more.
Patterson Dahlberg – Lawyers for Pedestrian Accident Victims
In Southern Minnesota, one law firm stands out as the go-to personal injury practice for victims of motor vehicle-related accidents: Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers. Since its senior partners founded the firm a decade ago, Patterson Dahlberg has achieved $120,000,000 in settlements and judgments for clients injured in all kinds of accidents, including pedestrian accidents, and on behalf of families of those tragically killed. Our attorneys only represent victims of personal injuries, so you can be sure we’re always on your side.
Pedestrian accidents inflict untold physical, emotional, and psychological pain on victims and families. At Patterson Dahlberg, our team considers it our highest purpose to provide sound, compassionate legal advice to those suffering people in their time of need. Our clients particularly appreciate our supportive, responsive team of professionals who help guide them through unfamiliar legal territory and answer all of their questions.
The Problem of Pedestrian Accidents in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) collects and publishes detailed records of pedestrian accidents around the state. The data show an unfortunately steady rate of pedestrian deaths and injuries in motor vehicle-related accidents year-over-year. The vast majority of pedestrian deaths and serious injuries happen in-and-around the Twin Cities, although Olmsted County sees its share of these tragedies, too.
OTS reports on the most common actions of both motor vehicles and pedestrians in accidents. The bulk of pedestrian accidents involve motor vehicles traveling straight ahead or turning left. Nearly two-thirds of the time, pedestrians get hit while crossing a road.
OTS’s studies also reveal who is most vulnerable to pedestrian accidents, and when those accidents happen. Teenagers and young adults constitute the majority of victims of pedestrian accidents. Accidents tend to happen later in the day, and alcohol use by the pedestrian victim plays a role in fatal accidents about a third of the time, on average.
Legal Liability for Pedestrian Accidents in Minnesota
As a so-called “no-fault” auto insurance state, Minnesota requires its residents who own motor vehicles to purchase at least $40,000 of “personal injury protection” (PIP) insurance coverage. That coverage serves as the primary insurance for any personal-injury related expenses (such as medical care, lost wages, and replacement services) suffered by the insured person in an auto accident, regardless of the fault of any of the parties. Pedestrians who happen to carry PIP policies also resort to that coverage as their primary insurance if they sustain injuries as a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle.
Many pedestrians, however, do not carry PIP insurance (because they are not car owners), or suffer injuries that inflict costs much greater than the mandatory minimum limits of most PIP policies. As a result, Minnesota pedestrians injured in accidents with motor vehicles may have to look beyond their own insurance policies, to other parties with legal liability, for full compensation for their injuries and losses. The parties from whom pedestrians may seek damages can include:
- Drivers (and their employers, if applicable). OTS statistics show driver behavior is to blame in more than half of all pedestrian accidents. Distracted driving has become a particular danger to pedestrians in this day-and-age, because drivers have a bad habit of checking their phones when they slow down at an intersection (even if they never come to a stop). A driver whose recklessness or negligence harms a pedestrian faces legal liability for the pedestrian’s injuries. So does the employer of any driver who strikes a pedestrian with a company vehicle or while working.
- Municipal governments and road agencies. Because so many pedestrian accidents involve people crossing roads, some of the fault for a pedestrian accident may lie with municipal governments and other agencies whose job it is to design, build, and maintain safe crosswalks and other pedestrian rights of way. When a government entity fails in that job – say, by locating a crosswalk near a blind curve, or neglecting to maintain crossing signals – it may have liability to the pedestrians struck by motor vehicles at those locations.
- Auto and other product manufacturers. Sometimes a driver cannot slow down or stop for a pedestrian because of a defect in the driver’s car or some other equipment that could prevent the accident. In those cases, the manufacturer of the defective car or other product may have liability for the injuries the defective products cause.
- Alcohol vendors. Minnesota has a so-called “dram shop law” that enables those who suffer injury in connection with intoxication to bring legal action against anyone who “illegally sold” alcohol to the intoxicated person. This could lead to liability for bar or restaurant owners if they over-serve a driver who strikes a pedestrian, or sell alcohol to a minor who becomes intoxicated and gets injured as a pedestrian.
We could go on, but the list above gives a representative sample of the various parties who could face legal liability in a pedestrian accident. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney’s job includes investigating the facts and circumstances of an accident to identify every person or entity who may have liability to the victim. Anyone against whom liability can be proven may have to pay the following damages, among others:
- Present and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages and loss of ability to earn an income;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Punitive damages in those cases in which the defendant showed “deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others.”
Your Rochester, Minnesota Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Cars and trucks can cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities in collisions with pedestrians. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a pedestrian accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case consultation. You can reach us at 507-424-3000 or visit us online.