Statistics from the Department for Transport show that in 2011 453 pedestrians were killed on the roads and over 5,400 pedestrians suffered serious injuries such as brain or spinal injuries. Worryingly, in both cases of deaths and serious injury there was a significant increase on the previous year's pedestrian casualty figures.
Pedestrians are classified as 'vulnerable road users'
In many cases, pedestrians who are injured in a road traffic collision can pursue a claim against the driver. The Highway Code places a high duty on drivers in respect of pedestrians especially children. All pedestrians are classified as vulnerable road users by the Highway Code. When pedestrians are knocked over by cars or other moving vehicles there is a very high likelihood that the pedestrian will suffer severe injuries such as an acquired brain injury, or spinal cord injury. We commonly see cases of serious head, brain and spinal injuries. Sadly, as the statistics demonstrate, there is a very high number of pedestrian fatalities every year.
Pedestrian legal cases
Leigh Day has successfully represented the families of pedestrians who have been injured or killed by drivers. Some sustained the injuries on whilst on the pavement or on a pedestrian crossing. Below are some of our cases:
- We secured a multi million pound award for a pedestrian who suffered a severe brain injury and who was knocked over by a distracted driver when he drove in to a side street
- A grandmother who was killed by a driver who lost control of her car because she had been texting on her phone
- Acting for a pedestrian who was one of six pedestrians who suffered serious injuries in a collision involving a driver under the influence of drugs.
- Representing a photographer who was hit and seriously injured when he was hit by a car
- Securing compensation for a child who was involved in an incident when a car mounted the pavement when he was out walking with his grandfather and suffered serious psychiatric injury.
Some cases will involve the pedestrian misjudging the speed of oncoming traffic or often, in the case of children and young adults, running out into the road. Sometimes in the cases of young adults alcohol will be a factor. Typically the courts place a high duty on car drivers to be aware and on the look out for pedestrians, particularly children, whilst driving in built up areas, and also young adults especially at night when alcohol can impair judgment. So that even in a case where it seems that the pedestrian may also have been to blame it is possible to obtain compensation. The court may attribute some of the blame to the injured person by finding there was contributory negligence and therefore they will only receive a percentage of the total award. However, in the case of severe brain or spinal injuries where the compensation will run to several million pounds it can still be worth pursuing a claim even if there may be a deduction to reflect fault on the pedestrian's part.
If you or a member of your family has been involved in a road crash as a pedestrian and have suffered a brain or spinal injury, you should seek legal advice about claiming compensation. We would be happy to discuss this will you and advise you about the steps you would need to take to make a claim.
Other relevant information: Making a claim for yourself, Funding your case, Car and motorbike crashes