Downtown Indianapolis has many proudly pedestrian-friendly corridors. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects many downtown neighborhoods. Mass Ave, Fountain Square, and Circle Center attract thousands of visitors every day. That’s not to mention the crowds pulled for Indianapolis Colts, Indy Eleven, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Indianapolis Indians, and Indy Fuel games.
With the wide, walkable paths and bike lanes, downtown Indy can seem like a haven for people who want a break from the traffic and the freedom to explore all their city has to offer. But the reality is that pedestrian injuries and fatalities are on the rise in the U.S., even as automobile accidents decline. In Indiana, pedestrian fatalities increased 50 percent when comparing the first half of 2016 to the first half of 2017.
Safety Advice for Downtown Indianapolis
While pedestrians usually have the right of way when properly using crosswalks downtown, both walkers and drivers can take steps to help prevent accidents.
Defensive Driving Tactics
Hearing the phrase “defensive driving” may bring your mind back to the seemingly endless driver’s education classes you may have taken to get your permit. In practice, defensive driving is the best way to keep yourself, other drivers, and especially pedestrians safe on the road.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on the street. This means those who are less vulnerable to injury (i.e., those driving cars) are responsible for keeping them safe. When you’re driving downtown, drive slowly. When you turn, always check for pedestrians who may come into your path. Do not turn right or left in front of crossing pedestrians, even if you know you won’t hit them. Wait until they’ve reached the other side before turning.
Defensive Walking Tactics
Okay, “defensive walking” may not be a real term, but people walking downtown are also responsible for keeping drivers and other pedestrians safe. In most cases of pedestrian injuries, the driver of the car is typically more responsible for the accident. However, the pedestrian can be found responsible if he or she acted negligently, either by jaywalking or crossing the street without a walk signal.
The key for pedestrians is to be cautious. Keep your eyes open, look both ways, listen for speeding cars, and stay out of their way, even if you have the right-of-way.
After an Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident
However, taking all the recommended precautions may not protect you from every circumstance that leads to an accident. Some situations just can’t be predicted or avoided.
If you’re ever involved in a pedestrian accident, here’s a little bit of what you need to know about filing a claim against the responsible party.
Prioritize Your Health
You should always get medical attention after being in an accident if you are injured. Pedestrians are especially vulnerable compared to the vehicles that compete with them on the road, and even minor bruises, scrapes, or soreness could be a sign of something much more serious. Seek help, then worry about filing a claim.
Document the Accident
If you’re able, take pictures of the accident scene and exchange information with the driver before leaving the scene. Indiana law makes it illegal for those involved in any kind of car accident to leave the scene without stopping.
A pedestrian accident is just like any car accident in this way: getting contact information for witnesses, the other parties involved, and the insurance companies who will deal with the claim is a high priority.
File for Medical Compensation
Since you visited the doctor right away after your accident, he or she will be able to tell you what kind of injury you sustained. This is the evidence you need to file your personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Indiana is a fault state, which means that if you are 50 percent or less at fault for the accident, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company instead of your own. By not filing with your own insurance, you may avoid an increase in your monthly premium.
Getting Help from an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
Though it may seem easy to prove you were the victim of a pedestrian accident, it’s still possible for the driver’s insurance company to come up with all kinds of reasons why you don’t deserve their compensation. They will likely use quirks of Indiana’s laws to reduce the amount they have to pay you.
That’s why consulting with an attorney is important. They know the strategies insurance companies use and can help you gather the evidence to refute their arguments and control your case. In addition, they’ll do the paperwork and communication on your behalf, which means you can focus on healing. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t wait any longer. You can start a conversation with an experienced attorney at Hensley Legal Group by calling us or contacting us online.