When pedestrians and cars meet
It is an accident that happens perhaps more often than you think-pedestrians hit by moving vehicles. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, in 2010, there were 1,041 pedestrians involved in motor vehicle accidents in Oregon, with 70 deaths and 128 major injuries.
Just recently, two teenage girls who were hit by a car on a Wilsonville sidewalk near Southwest Wilsonville Road and Southwest Memorial Drive. Reports indicate that a vehicle heading westbound on Wilsonville Road reportedly veered off the road, went across the sidewalk, and struck two 13-year-old girls walking on the sidewalk. One girl was flown by LifeFlight to OHSU and the other was taken there by ambulance, but both injuries were not serious. The driver, a 19-year-old from Wilsonville, stayed at the scene and cooperated with police.
In January, 2013, an 18-year-old teenager was crossing Silverton Road near 47th Avenue with two friends when she was hit by a car driving about 35 miles per hour. The teen was the only one hit of the three crossing the crosswalk on Silverton Road and was seriously injured. The driver of the car stopped immediately after hitting the 18-year-old and drove her to a hospital rather than waiting for paramedics because he and her friends were concerned about how severe her injuries were. He was in the waiting room at the hospital when a Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived. The driver reported that he hit the victim as she started across the crosswalk and did not see her until he hit her because of thick fog and that the victim and her friends were wearing dark-colored clothing.
Oregon’s “hit and run” law requires a driver to remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled all of the requirements under the law, and to render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including conveying or making arrangements for conveying such person to a hospital for medical treatment, if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if such conveying is requested by any injured person.
These two cases also highlight the potential civil liability of the drivers. Under Oregon law, contributory negligence does not bar recovery in an action by any person to recover damages for death or injury to person or property if the fault attributable to the claimant is not greater than the driver. The law compares the fault of the claimant with the fault of any party against whom recovery is sought. Thus, even the girl who was wearing dark clothing on a foggy night and walking without pressing the signal button is not foreclosed from recovering damages for her injuries.
The above is not intended to assess the likelihood of damages in either case, but to point out the importance of seeking the advice of an experienced pedestrian injury attorney to receive competent legal advice as to the possibilities of a successful claim in Oregon.