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How to Avoid an Accident with a Pedestrian and What to Do When It Happens


Following a tragic pedestrian accident this is heard all too frequently, “the person seemed to come out of nowhere.”

Though Wisconsin is not the worst place for pedestrian accidents, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there are over 2,000 pedestrians hit by cars every year in this state, with scores of these accidents resulting in fatalities.

How Do You Avoid These Accidents?

Your number one job behind the wheel is to be aware when you drive –

  • Check out your surroundings, especially people on the sidewalk.
  • Be careful around people on bikes, rollerblades, and skateboards, as it will be harder for them to stop at intersections.
  • Look out for pedestrians wearing headphones or who are distracted while on the phone.
  • Pay attention to younger children or older adults, as they may be less aware of oncoming traffic.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way.
  • Do not drive drunk.
  • Trying to beat oncoming traffic can make you ignore pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • Do not pay more attention to your phone than the traffic.
  • Respect the crosswalk. In Wisconsin you have to yield or stop at a crosswalk when pedestrians are using it.

What If You Cause an Accident

Do not leave the scene! Causing a hit and run will compound the penalties. Instead, stay calm and be aware of the situation. Be prepared that the person you hit at the moment may be very mad at you, but don’t respond in anger.

Call for emergency help if anyone is seriously injured.

Make sure you and the pedestrian are out of the way of traffic.

Call the police.

File an accident report with the police.

Document the accident as best you can. Take pictures of the scene and of any damage caused. If your phone has an audio recorder app, make vocal notes.

Contact your car insurer.

If the pedestrian is conscious and able, exchange names, phone numbers, and insurance providers.

DO NOT admit or imply fault.

Call an attorney

We are experts on pedestrian accidents. Reach us at 414-272-3776 if one occurs while you are driving. You may not be totally at fault, and our team of seasoned attorneys can help you navigate this tough period.

Wisconsin law considers contributory negligence when determining liability. This means that more than one party to an accident can be found liable. Because this system of determining liability can be complex, it is very important to have an attorney .

In a personal injury case, such as a pedestrian accident, the court can assign a percentage of fault to either the pedestrian or the driver between 0 and 100%, reducing the liability of the driver and the amount they would have to pay.

If a pedestrian, for example, negligently failed to check for traffic or obey the walk signs, the victim is not barred from filing suit against the driver.

However, in Wisconsin there is a 51% rule, allowing anyone with 50% or less of the assigned fault to recover damages. If a jury finds the driver 70% at fault for a case with $40,000 in damages, the driver would be liable for $28,000.

The liability rules can be confusing and depend on various factors. Our attorney can guide you through the options and work for your most just settlement. Please call us at 414-272-3776.