Hiring a Washington, D.C., Pedestrian Accident Lawyer With Civil Litigation Experience

The District of Columbia welcomes millions of visitors every year from around the world, and plays home to thousands of government workers who live within walking distance of their offices. Pedestrians crowd the city’s sidewalks, traffic crossings streets, and parking lots, and they rarely expect to be at risk for a pedestrian accident.

If you have been injured as a pedestrian in the Washington, D.C., metro area, after seeking medical attention, it can be important to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. Call The Abelson Law Firm in Washington, D.C., at (202) 331-0600 for a free consultation about how they may be able to help.

Incidence of Pedestrian Accidents in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., stands out for having a high incidence of pedestrian injuries, no doubt in part because of the District’s high number of out-of-town visitors and walking commuters. According to the District Department of Transportation, the number of pedestrian accidents increased from 1,038 victims in 2013 to 1,243 victims in 2015. What’s more, of those accidents recorded in 2015, there were 15 fatalities, 60 victims with disabling conditions, and 451 victims with a physical complaint that wasn’t visible. Men were more often victims of pedestrian accidents.

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

The risk of devastating injuries and death from a collision with a car, truck, or bicyclist is particularly high among pedestrians. Pedestrians tend not to wear any protective gear and often have no warning before an accident happens. Common injuries may include:

  • Death
  • Traumatic brain injury resulting in loss of life functions
  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
  • Broken bones and severe lacerations
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional trauma

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Most pedestrian accidents involve some amount of negligence on the part of motor vehicle drivers or bike riders. It’s rare, though not unheard of, for someone to injure a pedestrian on purpose.

Here are some typical causes of Washington, D.C., area pedestrian accidents involving collisions with motor vehicles or bicyclists:

  • Distracted driving (texting, looking at a smartphone, talking on the phone without a hands-free feature).
  • Tired or impaired driving (driver is tired, falls asleep, has a seizure, or is under the influence of prescription drugs, alcohol, or street drugs).
  • Failure to yield in a crosswalk.
  • Failure to stop at an intersection (running a red light or a stop sign).
  • Driving on the sidewalk to avoid a vehicle crash or an animal in the road.
  • Driving without lights on for safety at night or in wet conditions.
  • Failure to signal before turning on a side street.

Who May Be Held Liable in a Pedestrian Accident

Because they are so vulnerable to injury, pedestrians have special protections in the traffic laws. Drivers must yield to them in most circumstances, and must take care to avoid collisions. As a result, in many pedestrian accidents, the driver of a motor vehicle may be held liable for the victim’s injuries. But, drivers are not the only potentially responsible parties. A pedestrian accident may be the result of a malfunction of a motor vehicle, which could result in the vehicle’s manufacturer or service center being liable. It is also possible that the government or private landowner responsible for maintaining safe roads, sidewalks and crosswalks may also be liable for creating or failing to fix an unsafe condition.

Because the law may recognize multiple parties as potentially liable for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, it can be important to consult with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney soon after the accident to ensure you or your loved one have the best chance of recovering compensation from every party responsible.

How Parties Responsible May Try to Avoid Paying

In the Washington, D.C., metro area, when a pedestrian accident results from a someone else’s negligence and also the victim’s potential negligence, a complicated and often harsh set of laws may limit the victim’s ability to recover damages. It all depends on exactly where the accident happened. Within the District, since 2016 the law has been that a pedestrian victim can recover damages so long as he or she wasn’t more than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident.

As a result, the parties responsible for an accident have a strong reason to try to blame a pedestrian accident victim. When there are multiple potentially liable parties (such as the driver and the manufacturer), they will often also try to point the fingers at each other, making it more complicated for the victim to recover damages.

That is why having an experienced pedestrian accident attorney by your side when you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident can be important. A knowledgeable lawyer can often help guide pedestrian accident victims through the legal pitfalls and help ensure they recover all of the compensation they deserve.

Types of Damages Recoverable in Pedestrian Accident Cases

Pedestrian accident victims can typically seek damages for medical expenses related to the accident, lost wages, pain and suffering, and injury-related expenses. For serious permanent injuries, there may also be future medical bills and future lost wages to consider (especially if the victim has died or cannot continue working due to the accident). In certain limited cases where the responsible party’s actions were particularly bad, victims may also be entitled to recover “punitive” damages that punish the wrongdoer and help ensure no one else is hurt by the same conduct in the future.

How Much Does a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Cost?

At The Abelson Law Firm, we understand the stress and uncertainty pedestrian accident victims and their families often feel. To help ease that stress, we offer free consultations for victims and their families to help evaluate their legal options. In appropriate cases, we may also agree to represent a client on a “contingent fee” basis in which the client pays little or nothing up front and our fees are paid only out of a final settlement or judgment.

Please Contact Us Today

The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm has more than 35 years of experience in handling pedestrian accident claims. Attorney Michael A. Abelson aggressively defends the rights of our clients. Contact us today online or by phone at (202) 331-0600 for a free consultation to discuss how we might help.


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If you find that you are in need of a personal injury lawyer, I HIGHLY recommend Attorney Michael Abelson. I suffered a permanent disabling injury in a car accident. Mr. Abelson worked hard on my case and prepared carefully for trial. He guided me every step along the way. His diligent preparation led to a settlement agreement that greatly exceeded my expectation. Date published: 09/07/2018
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