A 68-year-old man found himself in a Seattle hospital after a November 9 accident in Port Hadlock. The man, a well known resident of his community, had to be airlifted for medical treatment after being struck by a 1984 Ford van while crossing the street in his motorized wheelchair.
According to reports, the van struck the wheelchair in a marked crosswalk after making a left turn from a stop sign at the intersection of a state highway. The man in the wheelchair suffered injuries but, fortunately, was listed in satisfactory condition. The accident was under investigation at last report and it remains to be determined whether the accident resulted from an inattentive driver. It appears from reports of pending charges that the van driver may have violated traffic laws in causing the accident.
Washington law makes it a traffic offense for pedestrians or bicyclists to bolt into a crosswalk at a time that makes it impossible for an oncoming vehicle to stop, but it requires drivers to stop for pedestrians even at an unmarked crosswalk. When a pedestrian accident takes place at a road crossing, liability for injuries and damages may turn on the question of whether or not the driver had the ability to stop in time.
Issues of liability for an accident, especially when there are no independent witnesses, often center on the conclusions of police reports and accident investigations. Unfortunately, investigations and accident reports frequently suffer from a susceptibility to human error and personal bias. An experienced personal injury attorney can help an injured accident victim challenge flawed investigation reports and obtain fair compensation for expenses caused by an inattentive driver.
Source: The Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader, "ACCIDENT: Man in wheelchair struck by van in Port Hadlock," Nov. 13, 2012