The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us. Let's face it, most residents in Washington state and other states in the United States have started their holiday shopping even before Thanksgiving happened.
At some point of another, we are all pedestrians. This could be when we are walking on the sidewalk, in a parking lot to and from our vehicles, in a residential area or in a park. No matter where Washington residents are walking, it is always important to be aware of vehicles traveling nearby. Even more so, motorists are supposed to be on the lookout for pedestrians, giving them the right of way when crossing the street. Failure to use caution around pedestrians, remain attentive and follow the rules of the road could be the cause of a pedestrian accident.
Readers of this blog know that Washington state law provides that those who are injured in a car accident can recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if the accident was caused by another driver's negligence. In the case of a fatal accident, the immediate family may be compensated for their damages through a lawsuit based on the legal theory of wrongful death.
A previous post here discussed the difference between "economic" and "non-economic" damages in relation to civil actions for personal injury and wrongful death. Our readers in Seattle might remember that economic damages refer to relatively objectively quantifiable injury, such as recovery for medical costs associated with an accident, or actual lost wages due to inability to work as a result of the injury. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to more subjective claims, such as compensation for pain and suffering, or loss of companionship or consortium.
Seattle is an amazing city in many ways. It has major sports franchises, beautiful scenery, waterfronts and outdoor activities within a close proximity, and is known for its environmental consciousness. One way that many of the city's residents demonstrate this dedication to ecological health is by walking to their destinations instead of driving vehicles with internal combustion engines which burn fossil fuels whose by-products contribute to air pollution and climate change. Sometimes, this dedication comes at a price, however, because while many people walk, there are still a great number of vehicles on the roads that can pose a threat to pedestrians.
Previous posts here have discussed some of the major elements of claims arising out of car accidents. These tend to be personal injury claims for which the victim requests compensation for various consequences of the crash. The most serious injury claim of all is, of course, wrongful death. When someone dies as the result of another party's negligence, the family would be the ones who may be entitled to compensation. But, what kinds of damages are recoverable in such instances?
There is an old saying that "no good deed goes unpunished." In this rather cynical view, going out of one's way to help someone else is just asking for trouble. While likely not completely true, as with most old adages, one can often find isolated examples that support the principle. Unfortunately for a would-be "good Samaritan" on Interstate 90 in Washington, this old saying turned out to be all too accurate.
Some Seattle residents may think that the city is not very pedestrian friendly. Due to the geographic limitations of the urban center being sandwiched between the sound and the lakes, many road junctions and other interchanges are awkwardly constructed and designed. Further, the growing number of people living in the area has created traffic volume that makes being a pedestrian even more dangerous.
A few weeks ago, we took a look at the Center for Disease Control's (CDC's) statistics for pedestrian accidents nationwide. While those numbers showed that over 4,500 people were killed in the U.S. in pedestrian accidents in 2013, what does this mean for us here in Seattle? Luckily, we can take a look at some statistics compiled by the city's department of transportation (DOT), and see how dangerous it is to walk around Seattle now that the weather is starting to get better.
Summer time is coming, and here in the Pacific Northwest, that means a chance for many residents to get outside and enjoy milder weather after a long winter of being cooped up. Especially in an urban area like Seattle, this involves an increase in the number of people walking the city's streets, either to get from place to place, or just exercise and feel the sun on their faces. Unfortunately, with more pedestrians comes an increased chance of pedestrian-automobile collisions. These can be some of the most harrowing accidents there because of the serious and sometimes fatal injuries that a pedestrian can suffer in such crashes.