North Carolina is a hub of activity for motorists and pedestrians alike. There’s a lot of walking done around the state’s towns and cities, and that can cause some confusion as to the rights of pedestrians.
Some motorists think that pedestrians have the right of way at all times, and this is true to some extent. Because injuries from a pedestrian accident can be so severe, motorists may be held responsible even when the pedestrian is partly to blame for the accident.
It’s said over and over that pedestrians have the right of way at all times. But is that really true? The short answer is no. Just like motorists, they must follow traffic signals and laws at all times. Pedestrians have certain laws regarding how they share the road with motorists.
Pedestrians do usually have the right of way, especially when they’re obeying the above traffic laws. But that doesn’t mean that a motorist doesn’t have to watch out for a pedestrian breaking the law.
Pedestrians have no protection when they’re sharing the roads and walkways with others. They certainly don’t have airbags or a large steel frame around them, and they don’t even have the benefits of a helmet that cyclists and motorcyclists have. Because of this, pedestrians rarely walk away from a collision with a vehicle unscathed. And most of the time, the injuries they suffer are catastrophic in nature.
Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries that typically affect the spine, spinal cord, skull, and brain. Spinal injuries can occur in pedestrian accidents when the pedestrian is hit from the back, crushing the vertebrae and the spinal cord along with it.
These injuries occur more often than most people would think. The majority of pedestrian accidents in Wilmington, NC occur when the pedestrian is hit from behind, most often when the pedestrian is walking on the side of a road facing the same direction as traffic.
Injuries involving the brain and skull are often secondary. These injuries occur when a pedestrian falls after being hit by a car, and hits his or her head on the car or the surrounding pavement. Brain injuries, like spinal injuries, can be permanent and can greatly affect the victim’s quality of life.
Claiming compensation after a pedestrian accident is possible, but can become tricky due to the fact that North Carolina is a state that operates under contributory negligence. While other states will simply deduct an amount from any compensation granted, North Carolina does not grant any compensation in contributory negligence cases.
In order to claim compensation, the injured party must be able to prove that negligence on the driver’s part caused the accident, and that he or she was injured as a result. He does not have to prove that he was following the law, but it’s important that he was.
This is because the driver and his or her legal team will likely try to prove that the pedestrian was not following the law at the time of the accident. If the pedestrian was jaywalking, walking on the wrong side of the road, or otherwise disobeying traffic laws and signals, he can be found partly responsible for the accident. And this might prohibit him from filing a claim.
Contributory negligence may be waived by the courts when children are victims of pedestrian accidents.
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