Though only a small percentage of traffic accidents involve pedestrians, those that do are much more likely to result in serious injury or death. Improvements in motor vehicle safety have helped reduce injuries to drivers and passengers over the years, but the risk vehicles pose to pedestrians has remained largely unchanged.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HIDOT) recently recorded 44 pedestrian fatalities, the highest number since 1990. Like most years, a majority of these deaths occurred on Oahu, home to Honolulu.
Over a five-year period, pedestrian deaths accounted for 22.24 percent of all traffic fatalities in Hawaii, the seventh-highest number in the nation. Clearly, walking along roads in the state carries tremendous risk.
If you were hurt as a pedestrian on Oahu, don’t hesitate to talk with an experienced Honolulu pedestrian accident attorney at Recovery Law Center. Our compassionate legal team will listen to your story and discuss your options for recovering compensation for your injuries and losses.
Call or contact us for a free consultation today.
What Are the Pedestrian Laws in Honolulu?
Hawaiian pedestrian laws are consistent with those in most other states and include the following:
- Jaywalking, or crossing a street outside of a crosswalk or away from a street corner, is illegal.
- All vehicles must stop at crosswalks when a pedestrian has entered or is about to enter the crosswalk on their half of the road.
- It is against the law for pedestrians to walk along the road when a sidewalk is available. When no sidewalk is available, they must walk on the left side of the road or on the shoulder, facing approaching vehicles.
- Pedestrians who jaywalk or disregard crossing signals are subject to citations and escalating fines. The fine for a first infraction is $150, a second infraction within one year of the first is $300, and a third infraction within one year is $1,000.
It’s always important to follow pedestrian laws, not only to prevent injury, but to avoid citations from the police and legal claims from drivers.
Is the Driver Always Liable for Pedestrian Accidents?
Hawaiian pedestrian laws are simple in theory. In practice, it can be difficult to determine whether a driver exercised due care prior to an accident.
Because pedestrians usually suffer much more serious injuries than vehicle drivers in a collision,
it may seem like the driver is always to blame. Not so — pedestrians may be at fault for an accident if they broke traffic laws and contributed to the accident.
That said, establishing fault in accidents involving pedestrians can be complicated. Sometimes, pedestrians break traffic rules and end up getting struck by an oncoming car. Still, drivers are obligated to exercise due care to avoid colliding with anyone on foot. An investigation can help identify the liable parties and whether the injured pedestrian can step out of the state’s no-fault auto insurance system and file a claim against the other driver.
When Is a Pedestrian Liable for an Accident?
Passenger and commercial vehicles have a number of safety features that protect their occupants. Pedestrians have none. Because of their vulnerability, people mistakenly assume that the driver is always at fault for a collision.
However, pedestrians may be liable for traffic accidents when they are found to have caused the crash, either intentionally or through negligence. This can include anything from jaywalking on a busy street to using a crosswalk while the “don’t walk” sign is on.
When pedestrians fail to exercise reasonable care while walking, they may be found liable. For this reason, it is important when walking along a roadway to always follow HIDOT’s guidelines.
- Stay on sidewalks when walking. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Always cross streets as quickly as possible. Your crossing should be perpendicular to the roadway, not diagonal.
- Use crosswalks whenever available, and obey all traffic signals.
There are also situations where both a driver and a pedestrian may be considered at-fault for an accident.
Consider this example: A speeding driver hits a jaywalking pedestrian. In serious injury cases where fault is shared, a skilled attorney can help identify who is to blame for a pedestrian accident.
Proving Liability After a Pedestrian Accident
Hawaii uses a comparative negligence rule when determining liability after an accident. That means that even if you were partially at fault for your accident, you can still recover compensation as long as you weren’t more than 50 percent at fault.
In addition, the amount of compensation you can receive after an accident will depend on the portion of fault you are assigned. Let’s say the court found you 30 percent responsible for an accident. Your compensation would be reduced by that amount. If your compensation was valued at $100,000, you would recover $70,000.
In cases where fault is being disputed, it’s especially important to seek advice from a pedestrian accident lawyer. If you are deemed more than 50 percent responsible for the collision, you will be barred from recovering any compensation at all. With so much on the line, you want an attorney who can collect the evidence necessary to build a strong and compelling claim.
Examples of evidence your law firm may gather to show liability and the extent of your losses includes:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Photos of the accident scene
- Surveillance video footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Testimony from expert witnesses
Finding, cataloging, and presenting this evidence properly is essential to make a convincing case and is why it is so vital that you feel confident to put your case in the hands of a caring and qualified lawyer.
How Can Recovery Law Center Help Me?
A serious and sudden accident can create an immense financial strain for victims. The mental and emotional toll of surviving a serious accident is also significant. You don’t have to cope with these triple losses alone. Recovery Law Center provides professional yet personalized representation to clients. In addition to being your lawyers, we can help connect you with the best medical specialists to put you on the path to healing.
Recovery Law Center can also help place an appropriate value on your claim by looking at how cases similar to yours have settled in the past. While every case is unique, past results can be useful in coming up with a reasonable amount not only for your medical expenses and lost wages, but also for your pain and suffering.
The pedestrian accident attorneys at Recovery Law Center have been helping Honolulu accident victims for over 25 years. We’ll review the circumstances of your accident and help you determine your best path forward.
When you work with us, we will:
- Take the time to listen to your needs and craft a legal strategy that meets your goals
- Investigate your accident in detail and gather evidence that helps show that the other driver is to blame
- Ensure that your injury claim is filed properly and on time
- Negotiate aggressively with the at-fault party’s insurance company in order to secure maximum compensation
- Prepare your case like it is going to trial if the insurance company fails to make a fair settlement offer
Contact Recovery Law Center Today
If you have been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to Recovery Law Center. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by scheduling a free consultation.
Call or contact us today to get started.