Auto-pedestrian accidents are among the most serious crashes on any roadway. Pedestrians simply don’t have any protection against a collision from a motor vehicle, and so they may be seriously injured or killed even in accidents involving a car that was not driving particularly fast.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation recorded 94 traffic accident deaths in 2021 and 25 of them were pedestrians. That means 23.5% of all people killed in Hawaii motor vehicle accidents that year were pedestrians. That’s higher than the percentage nationwide, which some sources say was 17% in 2021.
Of the 25 pedestrian deaths in Hawaii, 19 were in the densely populated city and county of Honolulu.
These figures do not account for the number of non-fatal pedestrian accidents. It’s important to note that pedestrians’ vulnerability makes them likely to suffer serious, permanent injuries if they survive being hit by a motor vehicle.
Personal injury and auto-pedestrian accidents
A pedestrian who has been injured in an auto-pedestrian accident may be able to recover compensation for their damages through a personal injury lawsuit based on the theory of negligence.
The basic idea behind negligence is that all of us have a duty to take reasonable care to avoid an accident that might ourselves or others. A driver has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid hitting other cars or pedestrians. If they breach this duty — for instance, by taking their eyes off the road to read a text message when they’re supposed to be looking where they’re going — they have breached that duty. If their breach causes an accident that injures another person, the injured may hold the negligent driver liable for their damages.
These damages can include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more. Because the injuries can be so serious in auto-pedestrian accidents, the dollar amount of damages in these cases can be very high. A person who has been left permanently disabled because a negligent driver deserves to be compensated for the income they will no longer be able to earn over the course of the rest of their working life.
Wrongful death and auto-pedestrian accidents
For cases involving a fatal accident, the surviving family members of the victim may pursue compensation through a claim of wrongful death.
A wrongful death case is typically brought by the legal representative of the deceased person’s estate and seeks to compensate the family for their damages. These damages can include the loss of the loved one’s income and the expenses of their medical treatment and burial. It can also include noneconomic damages such as the loss of the loved one’s care, companionship and protection.
One must treat these cases with much delicacy and care. No one likes to think of a loved one’s death as an economic loss. Still, the sudden loss of a loved one can throw a family into financial chaos, and surviving family members need and deserve compensation for all they have lost.