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Your rights as a pedestrian and how to stay safe when walking

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All people think that walking is safer than driving but there are a small minority of accidents involving pedestrians occurring every year. Although I would like to assure you that these accidents are rare, let's just take a look at some of the accidents that have taken place in the last year.

Are you really safe walking on the pavement or the zebra crossing?

In the past year there have been reports of cars and buses mounting pavements and injuring pedestrians which have sometimes proved to be fatal. Of course when cars and buses mount the pavement, the innocent person walking is not at fault at all, so personal injury compensation is most likely to be undisputed. There was recently a case of a pedestrian being run over whilst on the zebra crossing. Drivers must stop if there are people who are trying to cross but in this case the person was run over. The driver was a 15 year old boy with no licence and no insurance. The victim later claimed compensation from the owner of the car which was successful and was therefore awarded over £14,000 to cover injury and loss of earnings.

What can pedestrians claim if the accident was not their fault?

  • If evidence supporting pain and suffering can be produced, then this can be claimed for.
  • Financial losses can be claimed which are related to the accident; for example transport for medical treatment, prescription costs, clothing damage etc as long as they have a direct connection to the accident.
  • You can also claim for loss of earnings as a result of the accident and if it was a dependent relative who is now deceased, the cost of the funeral and loss of income can be both compensated for.
  • If you were a victim of a pedestrian car accident and the driver did not stop or you found that the driver was uninsured, you may still be able to claim for personal injury compensation.

If you are unfortunate to be involved in an accident, remember to take down the details of the other party (if possible) and take down names and numbers of witnesses who were present and call the police immediately. To have a strong enough case for compensation, you will need to provide as much evidence as possible that you were not at fault at all. You may also need a good lawyer/attorney specialising in such claims.

What safety measures should you keep in mind

Accidents involving pedestrians are very rare but they can happen. By taking these simple steps you can help keep you and your family safe:

  • When it's daylight savings time (end of October - March) wear reflective jackets or shoes. If this is too much, wearing a reflective sash is sufficient.
  • Don't listen to music via earphones especially when crossing the road as sometimes you can hear what you can't see.
  • Don't use your mobile phone while crossing or try to send a text message as this is also very dangerous because it lessens the awareness of your surroundings.
  • If you have children or pets with you, make sure they are secure and safe and cannot step out onto the road and injure themselves.

gices Published 19 Sep 2009