The Holiday Season Can Be Dangerous for Pedestrians

The Holiday Season Can Be Dangerous for Pedestrians During the holiday season, shoppers flood our pedestrian-friendly streets in Tulsa to find gifts for their family and friends. With the increase in pedestrian traffic, there is also the amplified risk of pedestrian strike accidents, as store workers and frantic shoppers jockey for the scarce parking spaces in dense areas.

This danger is highlighted in the ever-updating Utica Square shopping center. In city sections such as this we see an increased threat of seasonal congestion. With cars and pedestrians crowding into this Tulsa shopping hub, all road users must be on high alert.

Whether parking in cramped lots or navigating the intersecting streets, when a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the risk of serious and often long-term injury is high even when the impact occurs at otherwise low speeds. Adding to that, The Oklahoman reports that Tulsa’s 2023 winter will be “unseasonably cold”, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, amplifying the risk of frozen or slippery roadways and people quickly scurrying around in the frigid air.

What is a pedestrian strike accident?

Simply put, a pedestrian strike accident is any collision between someone on foot and a vehicle. In these incidents, severity can range from minor injuries to fatal trauma, but no matter how mild injuries may seem in the immediate aftermath of the accident, victims should seek prompt medical attention.

How is liability established in a pedestrian strike crash?

Determining liability is a complex process in a pedestrian strike case. Typically, there are at least two potentially liable parties: Drivers and property owners.

Driver liability in pedestrian accidents in Tulsa

In most pedestrian strike accidents, accountability primarily rests on the driver of the vehicle that struck the pedestrian. The driver’s conduct plays a pivotal role with various actions contributing to these car accidents. These include:

  • Negligence: Negligence involves the failure to exercise the duty of care and attention expected of all drivers.
  • ​​Distracted driving: Distracted driving occurs when a driver diverts their attention away from the road, often due to activities like texting, talking on the phone, or using in-car entertainment systems.
  • Recklessness: Recklessness entails a conscious and deliberate disregard for the potential consequences of one’s actions, exhibiting a high degree of risk-taking behavior.
  • Impairment: Impairment refers to a diminished ability to operate a vehicle safely due to the influence of substances such as alcohol, drugs, or medications.
  • Inadvertent skidding or sliding: While drivers from states with regular seasonal snowfalls and freezes commonly drive cars that are well equipped for these elements with all-wheel-drive systems, Tulsa drivers are less likely to be prepared for slippery conditions on the road, putting pedestrians in greater danger during a freeze or snowfall.
  • Pedal confusion: Pedal confusion occurs when a driver accidentally presses the accelerator pedal rather than the break. These incidents commonly result in serious or fatal injury.

Is the driver always liable in a pedestrian strike accident?

Drivers are not necessarily liable in these accidents. However, during this time of year, while pedestrians are unusually stressed, oftentimes whole families will walk our busy streets with their seasonal gifts in hand or stowed in strollers. Despite potential distractions, pedestrians maintain the right of way in most situations.

Property owner liability in pedestrian strike accidents

In certain situations, property owners may share responsibility for a pedestrian strike accident. They are legally obligated to safeguard their premises, implementing necessary safety measures to protect pedestrians and the building.

Furthermore, in the event of an uncommon snowfall or freeze, Tulsa property infrastructure may not be properly prepared to handle such road hazards, exposing inadequacies in the premises pedestrian security. For instance, if there is snowfall and private roads and lots remain untreated for slip or skid hazards, there could be potential liability. Failure to properly safeguard pedestrians may result in a premises liability case against property owners.

Can multiple parties be held liable in a pedestrian strike accident?

In instances of a pedestrian strike accident, liability may be shared by both the driver and property owner, a principle termed “shared liability” or “comparative negligence.” This concept evaluates the degree of fault assigned to each party. If both the driver and property owner contributed to the accident, damages may be apportioned based on their respective levels of fault.

If you or a loved one has sustained any injuries in a pedestrian strike accident in Tulsa, your first step should be to seek medical care. It is critical to have your injuries documented promptly after your accident, so insurance companies and juries alike, can be assured of the connection between your symptoms and the accident in question. It is important to note that from the scene of the accident victims should avoid driving themselves to the hospital, as they are in a vulnerable state after a pedestrian strike accident. Even if you feel like you may be able to drive, avoid this option and call an ambulance or a trusted friend or family member.

At Biby Law Firm, we want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season. If you are injured by a dangerous or negligent driver – whether you’re shopping in Utica Square or traveling to see friends and family – we want to help. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free consultation with a Tulsa pedestrian injury lawyer from our firm, please call or contact us today.