Pedestrians and interstates are never a good combination. The vehicles – traveling at speeds in excess of 70 mph – cannot react quickly enough to avoid a pedestrian. The drivers – zoning out to music or having conversations with their passengers – aren't thinking to look out for people on foot. Even worse, the pedestrians are completely vulnerable to death and catastrophic injury in the event of a collision.
Because pedestrians are not supposed to be on the interstate, whenever a crash happens, the first question is: Did the pedestrian have a good reason to be on the interstate? The answer to this question will dictate whether or not the pedestrian was at fault for the crash. It will also dictate whether or not the pedestrian – or his or her family members – may be able to pursue financial compensation relating to the accident.
Reasons why pedestrians could be on the interstate
Potential reasons for pedestrians to be on the interstate include:
Entering or crossing the interstate: It's never a good idea to try and cross the interstate as a pedestrian, but this is the primary reason why most pedestrian accidents happen. In these cases, unsuspecting motorists may not notice the pedestrian until after it's too late to slow down. Since it's unlawful for pedestrians to be on the interstate, the pedestrian might be faulted in these cases, and it may not be possible for the pedestrian – or surviving family members – to bring forward a lawsuit.
When it's dark, a pedestrian entering or crossing the road is an especially dangerous situation. In these cases, an injured pedestrian, or his or her family, may have an even more difficult time pursuing a lawsuit.
Working on a broken down vehicle: When a driver's vehicle breaks down, he or she may not have any choice but to get out of the car and work on it. In these cases, the pedestrian has a valid reason for being on the interstate.
Usually, these pedestrians can be found on the side of the road next to their broken down car, or they might be walking on the shoulder of the road in an attempt to seek help. Interstate drivers must be on the lookout for pedestrians in this kind of situation to avoid hitting them. If the pedestrian was cautious and followed the law, a driver who strikes him or her could be at fault.
After being involved in a crash: A crash or collision could result in multiple drivers and their passengers exiting their vehicles on the interstate. It could also result in other drivers stopping to help with the accident scene. In these instances, interstate drivers need to take precautions to avoid getting into a crash with the broken down cars and pedestrians. When interstate drivers hit cars involved in crashes due to speeding or lack of attention, then those drivers could be liable.
Know your rights as an injured pedestrian
Regardless of whether your pedestrian accident happened on the interstate, if you were injured, it's important to learn about your rights. You may be able to pursue financial compensation relating to your injuries in court.