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Pedestrian Accidents and Bicycle Accidents

Episode 58: Calloway County attorney Jeff Roberts discusses 2 important topics, especially during the “back to school” season.  He hopes you’ll take time to talk about these topics with your children, even if they are going to college.  Please consider sharing this episode with other parents and school groups.  Let’s listen to Jeff discuss pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents.

Even College Students Ignore Traffic

Jeff begins with a quick recap of situations he sees fairly often around Murray State University.  Students often walk in to the road without looking.  Even if you have the right of way, you’re going to sustain serious injuries (or worse) if you get hit by a car. 

Many students fail to look for oncoming traffic as they step into crosswalks, if they use them at all.  Even at slower speeds, a driver’s reaction time and/or braking distance may not avoid a pedestrian accident. 

Regardless of whom you believe has the right of way, it’s critical that you remember to look both ways, before stepping into the street.  Don’t assume the oncoming traffic see you.  Drivers are often distracted by a cell phone, conversations with passengers, the radio or even fatigue.  In some situations, they may be driving under the influence.

Kentucky is a Pure Comparative Fault State

This means the jury can assign fault to anybody involved in the accident.  If you are deemed to be 10% at fault (maybe because you didn’t look) you may only be able to recover 90% of your damage.  Under Kentucky law, the jury can split the blame between the parties involved.

In some states, if you are greater than 50% at fault, you don’t get to recover anything.  This is not the case in Kentucky.

pedestrian accidents

Insurance Coverages for Injured Pedestrians or Bicyclists

Jeff clarifies that even a bicyclist is considered a pedestrian in these general terms.  If you are struck by a car, there are various sources of insurance coverage that may be available to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other types of damages.  We’ll spend an entire episode on types of insurance in Episode 59.

As a pedestrian, you will be able to receive no-fault (“PIP”) benefits from the at-fault driver’s insurance, if the vehicle made contact with you.  Your own motor vehicle insurance may also have under insured motorist coverage (UIM).  This policy would be available to pay for damages.  If the driver is driving without insurance, you may be able to use your own uninsured motorist coverage (UM).  This assume you have an insured vehicle.

Student Struck by Car Out of State

Even if you son or daughter is away at college, it’s most likely that the student could file a UIM or UM claim based on the insurance the parents have on their car, even though the student doesn’t have a car on campus.  As long as the student is covered by the parent’s policy, even if they are not specifically a named insured.  If the student has a vehicle on campus, but is hit while walking or biking, they would generally have some level of UIM or UM coverage.

Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents or Bicycling Accidents

Kentucky has an unfortunate gap that may come into play if someone is the victim of a hit and run accident.  Jeff explains the contact is a critical issue.  In a hit and run situation that doesn’t actually involve contact by the vehicle, you may not be able to use your UIM or UM coverage. 

For instance, if you jumped out of the way, or swerved on your bike to avoid being hit and get injured – but you avoided being struck by the vehicle – you may not be able to establish you were involved in a motor vehicle accident (incident).  Some insurance policies specifically exclude situation in which no contact was made with the offending vehicle.  The insurance adjuster may argue that you could have simply fallen or ridden into a ditch resulting in an injury.

However, if you avoided contact, but the driver stopped to check on you, you may still be able to identify the driver or the vehicle and file a liability claim against him or her.  You’ll still need to prove he or she was negligent, but it can be done.

If you are able, and it’s safe to do so, take a photo of the car, the license plate, the person’s driver’s license or something else that would enable your attorney to pursue the claim.  This is important evident.  Remember, you should call the police to have them come to the accident scene and to complete a police report.

Bicyclists Should Obey the Rules of the Road

This is something that may bicyclists forget, or simple choose to ignore.  If you are riding a bike, you are required to follow the rules of the road as if he/she were operating a vehicle.  You must come to a complete stop at stop signs or red lights, before going through the intersection. 

You should ride with traffic, not against traffic. 

Remember Kentucky’s pure comparative fault system can place some of the blame on the injured bicyclist if he/she is at least partially negligent.  Just like a motorcyclist, you need to ride defensively and anticipate the action of other drivers.  Similar to a motorcycle wreck, the person on the bike will be injured more severely than the driver of the car. 

The same fact applies to a pedestrian.  Even if you are in the right (have the right of way), you are going to be hurt worse than the driver who hits you.  Avoiding the situation is far better than arguing who had the right of way.  Your right of way is far less important than risking a potential traffic fatality.

Jeff recalls a case he was not involved with, but one he observed as a young attorney.  A child darted into the road and was struck by a car.  The jury felt the child was mostly responsible for the collision.  The jury seemed to put themselves in the position of the driver.  The reaction time may not have prevented the accident.  The pedestrian should have looked before walking out into the street.  Again, this impacted the application of pure comparative fault.

The Risk of Catastrophic Injury

Even at slow speeds, pedestrian accidents can result in catastrophic injuries.  Jeff has spoken about many of these types of injuries in previous podcast episodes:

It’s incredibly important that you exercise caution when you are stepping into a street or other roadway.  Quite some time ago, we uploaded a blog post to Jeff’s website: PSA to Trick or Treaters and Chaperones.  The objective was to provide some safety tips to help prevent pedestrian accidents during Halloween.  It’s about being cautious.

Students and Parents Are Getting Ready for Back to School

Jeff explains that this would be an excellent time to remind your student about the importance of following the rules, as they related to traffic crossings, intersections and other important situations.  Many students walk or bike to and from school.  Being on the cell phone or being overly engaged in conversations with friends, while attempting to cross the street can place your student in danger of a pedestrian accident. 

If you can walk with your student, you can help him/her to think about the potential risks.  You don’t have to accompany them every time, but a refresher may be a prudent thing to do.  Jeff is offering this advice to ensure your student arrives at school and returns home, safely.

Get a Good Helmet

If you’re riding a bicycle, Jeff encourages you to get a good helmet and wear it.  The same advice goes for motorcyclist.  The pavement is not very forgiving.  Jeff comments that a helmet can be the different between you’re being able to get back up or you not being able return to a normal life, as a result of your life-changing bicycle accident. 

Help Other Parents by Sharing this Episode

Are you involved the PTA?  Do you have a group of Facebook friends who are also parents?  Once again, please consider sharing this episode to help protect children from getting hurt in a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident.  Your simple clicks could save a life.

Jeff Roberts Represents Injured Clients Throughout Kentucky

With offices located in Calloway County and now Christian County, Jeff has a history of representing personal injury clients, workers’ compensation clients and social security disability clients across the state.  He’s represented clients from Paducah, Bowling Green, Louisville, Covington, Whitesville and many other Kentucky locations.  He’s not just a Western Kentucky injury attorney. 

We hope you found this episode insightful and helpful.  Thank you for listening!

Is It Time to Speak with an Attorney Who Understands Pedestrian Accidents Cases?

The office phone number is (270) 753-0053 or toll free at 800-844-5108.  For more information, visit This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice.  Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky.  Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson.  This is an advertisement.