Was the Injured Pedestrian in the Crosswalk or Not?

Recent studies have tried to explain out why so many pedestrians are run down in cross walks by turning vehicles. Trucks are particularly notorious for doing this due to their many blind spots.

A recent newspaper article brought to mind my experiences with what I refer to as "the pedestrian as an immovable object" problem. Basic physics dictate that in a collision "mass wins". This means the big object, in these cases the car or truck, will win in any collision with a predestrian. As a result pedestrians struck in crosswalks are RARELY if ever still in the crosswalk after they are hit.

Studies have show that a speed of about 15-20 m.p.h. is sufficient to lift a pedestrian into the air and deposit him or her on the hood of the car. Any greater speed will produce a broken windshield and so on as speed increases. In almost every collision the pedestrian will be moved beyond the final resting point of the vehicle. Rare exceptions exist but that is pretty much what physics dictates. Even a few miles per hour will throw a pedestrian several feet.

In some cases the pedestrian is knocked out of his or her shoes. Unfortunately, in many cases all we know is that the pedestrian had no shoes when admitted to the hospital. In one case the "witnesses" were actually critical of the child victim because "she was outside with no shoes on" so she had to be up to no good. None of them thought that perhaps she was literally knocked out of her shoes, as she was.

A common phenomenon is that "witnesses" hear the collision or the screech of brakes, only then do they look. What they see is the pedestrian lying in the street sometimes far from the crosswalk. The natural conclusion is the pedestrian was crossing outside the the marked crosswalk. Of course the fact that the car is stopped mid-crosswalk or just past it, is over looked. In these cases the police report often claims the pedestrian was not in the crosswalk. That conclusion is false. It is impossible for a pedestrian to stop a car or truck. Physics won’t allow it.

When the point of impact is within the crosswalk, even at low speeds, it is virtually impossible for the pedestrian to remain in the crosswalk. In one case no fewer than four "eye witnesses" told the officer the pedestrian was running across the street outside the crosswalk. Interviews showed not a single one had actually seen the pedestrian prior to hearing the impact, they then saw her flying through the air. The jeep that hit her was stopped with its over half its length still in the crosswalk.

These cases can be very difficult. The authorities cannot be counted on to perform a complete investigation. They simply don’t have time and their job is to get traffic moving. If injuries are not severe they may not even attempt to determine if a prosecutable crime was committed. Prosecution for a crime requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases the standard is "more likely than not". The longer the time between the accident and beginning a real investigation the harder it can be to determine the actual point of impact. Delay can make even the more likely than not standard tough to prove.

It is amazing how few people understand the physics of a collision. To get past this problem hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, SOON after the collision is essential. Nothing can be taken for granted. Just as in motorcycle cases, the eye witness testimony cannot be trusted and a careful and prompt investigation is essential.

Often pedestrian cases will either be rejected by attorneys based on the police conclusion the pedestrian was not in the crosswalk or will be considered a "slam dunk" when the police get it right. As a result evidence is not documented and witnesses not located and interviewed until, "surprise" liability is denied.

Next, "Was the pedestrian dragged?"

In Vancouver and Southwest Washington, personal injury attorneys Caron, Colven, Robison and Shafton www.ccrslaw.com have the knowledge and experience to find the flaws in the official version where a pedestrian was at the time of a vehicle collision. Spotting these problems and obtaining solid proof that the pedestrian was in the crosswalk makes all the difference in determining if justice is done.
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William Delmar Robison

Licensed since 1983

Member at firm Caron Colven Robison & Shafton P.S.

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