Have you been hit on a pedestrian or zebra crossing?
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users and require the most protection against motor vehicle traffic. Unfortunately, the most common accidents involving the highest consequences for victims occur on pedestrian or zebra crossings.
These accidents usually cause serious injuries and involve long recovery periods as the victim is exposed to the direct impact of the vehicle, whether it’s a car, motorcycle, taxi, bus, etc.
The basic steps taken when a pedestrian is hit by a car or any other type of vehicle are to protect the area, notify the authorities and health services and help those involved.
For possible claims for compensation, it is also essential to obtain a police report, gather evidence and witnesses (photographs and statements) and, of course, seek counsel from a professional accident expert.
Types of pedestrian collisions
Pedestrian hit by a car or vehicle
Although the Law on Civil Liability and Road Safety holds motor vehicle drivers liable for the damage that he/she may cause to a pedestrian while driving, there is one clear exception: “[…] they shall be exempt from this liability when it is proven that the damage was due to the sole fault of the injured party […]”. This means that if the pedestrian crossed at an inappropriate place or on a red light, the driver of the vehicle will not be liable for the collision or may be jointly liable with the pedestrian, shared fault.
On the other hand, the data speaks for itself, 80% of collisions happen because of the driver and only 17% of pedestrians act recklessly or cross in an inappropriate place.
In all these cases in which the pedestrian is entitled to receive compensation, the insurer of the vehicle involved in the accident shall be required to cover it.
Let’s analyse three circumstances that can determine the right to receive compensation when a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle:
If the collision takes place while the pedestrian is crossing a pedestrian crossing, the fault lies solely with the driver and the victim will be entitled to claim compensation for damages.
When the pedestrian violates road safety regulations and crosses the street at an inappropriate place or on a red light at the time of being run over, it can be difficult to settle responsibility. That is why witness statements are important. There may also be a concurrence of faults, if the vehicle has also violated some traffic regulations. Normally, in these cases, a judge will decide on the basis of the evidence and usually the responsibility is shared between both driver and pedestrian.
In the last case, if the accident occurs when the pedestrian acts recklessly and crosses in an inappropriate area, thus preventing the driver from reacting, the victim will be at fault and, therefore, will not be entitled to receive any compensation.
Pedestrian hit by a cyclist or bicycle
The bicycle is also considered a vehicle for all purposes, even if it does not have an engine. This means that it must use the appropriate bike lanes and follow road signage.
There is an important aspect that differentiates bicycles from motor vehicles. As you probably know, bicycles are not required to have an insurance policy that covers possible damages arising from an accident.
This circumstance is essential in the event of a collision as a cyclist may run away so as not to have to personally cover any type of damage.
What can you do if you are hit by a cyclist?
Steps to take to claim compensation:
The first thing is to ask the cyclist for their details. Remain calm and talk to the person to get them to cooperate.
You should also take photographs of the site and gather personal details and statements from witnesses. Call the police and emergency medical services to attend to the injured person and open a police report.
Likewise, if your personal items are damaged, try to provide an appraisal of them or the original purchase receipts.
You will also need counsel from a lawyer specialising in collisions from the beginning.
There are two circumstances related to the perpetrator of the damage that you may encounter:
Minor cyclist: if the cyclist is a minor, it is the same procedure. The minor’s parents or guardians will be liable for the compensation.
Hit and run: an investigation can be conducted to help locate him/her, talking to witnesses and employees of nearby premises, janitors, shopkeepers, etc. The cyclist may also come back to the same place if it is a frequent route.
Pedestrian hit by an electric scooter
Personal mobility vehicles (VMP) such as electric scooters, unicycles, hoverboards, segways, etc. are becoming more common on the road.
These types of vehicles are not classed as motor vehicles and, therefore, there is no need to have a licence to drive them nor is it mandatory to take out insurance, as is the case with bicycles.
The municipalities regulate where these vehicles transit, although there is no unanimity in this regard. Depending on where, they are supposed to remain on the pavement, in which case they must respect the speed of pedestrians. They are also widely used for guided tours and as a means of transport in large shops and hospitals.
In short, pedestrian collisions with any of these vehicles are more than possible. If this is your case, you must follow the same procedure that we have explained for bicycles: take down the driver’s personal details, gather evidence and get a police report and health report.
Trust the experience of your accident lawyer. It is important to have counsel from the beginning to gather evidence and present the right documents. Remember, your compensation is at stake.
A specialist collision lawyer is the only person who will be able to properly counsel you and guide you through the steps to follow in the medical and legal proceedings so that you get the greatest compensation.
The first thing you should do is call the police to prepare a certificate that will prove that the driver is at fault to give to your insurer.
If you are in a collision it is also important to contact eyewitnesses since their statement is often key in determining who is at fault for the accident.
This will depend on whether it is clear who is at fault for the accident. If the perpetrator accepts responsibility, the insurer should not cause any problems and should pay the compensation within a maximum of 3 months as stipulated by law.
Collision compensation is calculated in the same way as the compensation for any traffic accident, based on the compensation amounts established by Law 35/2015 on the assessment of damages caused to people in traffic accidents.
If the collision occurs on a pedestrian crossing, in principle the pedestrian will never be responsible for the accident and therefore will be entitled to receive compensation. Conversely, if the collision occurs when the pedestrian crosses outside of the crossing, there may be many variants and factors to determine whether the pedestrian is entitled to receive compensation or not, which is why it is advisable to contact an expert lawyer.
It will depend on whether the driver of the electric scooter or bicycle who perpetrated the accident has civil liability insurance that covers damage to third parties. If the perpetrator doesn’t have any type of insurance, he/she will be responsible for paying the compensation as long as he/she is solvent.
ONANDIA LAWYERS BARCELONA
Barcelona-based lawyers specialised in
traffic and occupational accidents
and medical malpractice. Civil liability.
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