I Was Texting While Walking and Struck by a Car. Who Is at Fault?
In 2018, close to 100 pedestrians were killed in car accidents in Colorado. The number of pedestrians killed so far in 2019 is also higher than it needs to be. Colorado Department of Transportation urges pedestrians to take an extra step while they’re out walking. Never step into a roadway until you’ve made eye contact with all drivers at an intersection or in a roadway. Looking directly at them lowers the chances of injury caused by a driver claiming they didn’t see you.
It’s urged that before you enter a crosswalk, you stop at the edge or curb, look both ways and make eye contact with the drivers, and continue checking left and right as you cross. That can help keep you from getting hit. But what happens if you were hit while walking and texting? If you were checking your cellphone and were hit? Is it always your fault? It depends on the situation. These are the things to know.
Key Pedestrian Laws in Colorado
Pedestrians are required to use crosswalks and sidewalks. If there are traffic signals in place, pedestrians must abide by them. If there are no traffic signals, cars must yield to the pedestrians in a crosswalk. Pedestrians have to pay attention to the traffic signals, if they’re installed, and make sure they only cross when the “walk” signal is in place. If you’re glued to your smartphone and not paying attention, you could be at fault and charged with a Class A traffic violation.
Despite this, drivers also need to be aware of pedestrians. Drivers are supposed to slow down, watch for pedestrians trying to cross, and yield to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk. A crosswalk is considered a “no-car zone.” Cars cannot block a crosswalk while waiting for a light to change or a pedestrian to get out of their way. They cannot continue to inch forward hoping that action will make a pedestrian move faster.
Does Colorado Have Distracted Pedestrian Laws?
While some states and cities are starting to talk about distracted walking laws, experts are uncertain they’ll be useful. It may cause drivers to take bigger risks thinking the pedestrian will be blamed. Honolulu was the first city to past distracted pedestrian laws in 2017. Between 2017 and 2018, pedestrian deaths in Hawaii increased from 15 people to 43 people. It’s debatable if the distracted pedestrian law helped save laws.
At this point, there are no distracted walking laws in Colorado, so the fact that you’re walking with a cellphone in hand isn’t a violation of any law. You are bound by the other pedestrian laws that require you to cross at a crosswalk when possible and to abide by the traffic signals, if they’re installed. If you’ve done that and were hit, it doesn’t matter than you were texting. Drivers are supposed to be watching for pedestrians and not try to drive over a crosswalk when pedestrians are there.
What Do You Do If You Are Hit?
If you’ve been hit by a car while walking, take photos of the scene if possible. Get the driver’s contact information. Call the police. The police will investigate the accident for you, and you’ll appreciate being able to focus on your well-being by being assessed by a medical professional.
Seek medical care. Even if you feel okay and are walking around, let a doctor check you out. You don’t want to have internal injuries or a concussion worsen when you’re at home alone. It’s better to get looked over at the hospital than to take any chances with your health. Do what the doctor recommends and attend all follow-up appointments. If your symptoms worsen, return to the doctor to be checked again. Some issues may appear after the adrenaline fades. You may have been given an all-clear, but things can get overlooked. It’s best to be checked out twice than ignore a possible complication.
Ask for advice from a legal expert. So many exceptions to laws can make it hard to tell if you were at fault. Don’t automatically assume that you were at fault while texting and walking. Talk to experts in car accident laws. Jordan Law’s Denver personal injury lawyers – Trial Lawyers for Justice – offer free consultations. It won’t cost you anything to see if you have a valid complaint. Call (303) INJURED at any hour of the day or night to discuss your accident with a personal injury attorney.