North Carolina Wrongful Death Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Home / North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer / North Carolina Wrongful Death Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

A pedestrian in black jeans and white shoes about to cross the road on a crosswalk.Almost everyone in the United States travels in a motorized vehicle at some point, but even more people walk. According to Wikipedia, a pedestrian is a person traveling on foot, whether walking or running.

Pedestrians have the ability to walk anywhere, but some places are off-limits due to the danger of doing so. We are in a society that integrates travel into our everyday lives, either through us traversing the roads or by requesting others to do so for us by making deliveries.

More motor vehicles and pedestrians are sharing the roads every day without giving much thought to the inherent dangers of sharing this space, especially in urban areas.

With no real safety gear to speak of, pedestrians are always on the losing side of any collision with a motor vehicle. They are more likely to suffer serious injuries or death.

If someone you love has been seriously injured or killed as a pedestrian, you have probably been left with large medical bills or funeral expenses that you were not expecting.

The North Carolina wrongful death pedestrian accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson will help you recover financial losses and protect your future by getting you the compensation that you are legally entitled to receive.

Filing a Claim With a North Carolina Wrongful Death Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Many accidents involving a pedestrian are tragically fatal. The victim’s family is able to pursue compensation through filing a claim for wrongful death damages.

These damages may include the following:

  • Medical Expenses – including hospital stays, surgeries, and transportation
  • Pain and Suffering – the victim’s physical and emotional trauma that was endured before death
  • Funeral Expenses
  • Lost Income of the Victim – the income the victim would have received if the accident had not occurred
  • Loss of the Family Member – the deceased person’s protection, care, companionship, guidance, advice, assistance, society, comfort, consortium, and services

Medical Expenses

Any treatment the victim received before their death, including transportation to the hospital, will be charged to their estate. There are many victims of pedestrian accidents who live for a long time with medical assistance before dying from their injuries.

While families are not responsible for paying these expenses, medical bills are expensive and would take a large portion, if not all, of the deceased’s estate. Some families could be left with nothing, especially if assets, such as the family home, were only in the deceased’s name.

Pain and Suffering

The family can also receive financial compensation for any pain the victim experienced from the accident until death. Some deaths happen instantly while other people experience extreme pain from their injuries, and they may have suffered for a long time before help arrived if they were trapped somewhere or in the hospital or another care facility.

Funeral Expenses

According to Funeralocity, the average cost for a funeral in North Carolina is over eight thousand dollars and varies depending on the city, elected services, and service provider.

Accidents that involve pedestrians are unplanned events that can leave families unable to pay for funeral arrangements.

Lost Income of the Victim

The income the deceased would have earned if the accident had not happened is also calculated in a claim for damages. This amount is significant to families who depend on the victim as the household’s primary income source.

Personal injury lawyers use economists as well as vocational and forensic accounting specialists to calculate the victim’s future earnings from the time of the injury until they would have reached retirement age if the collision had never occurred.

These specialists are able to accurately calculate this amount by reviewing the victim’s employment and earning history.

Loss of the Family Member

Family members are owed compensation for the loss of their loved one. Non-economic damages are for the loss of the individual.

Family members have lost the care, protection, and services of the deceased. For example, a child who lost a parent also loses a guide, counselor, and comforter, while a spouse loses a companion, support, and consortium.

They have lost their ability to build future memories and will suffer emotionally for the rest of their lives.

Common Injuries Sustained in Pedestrian Accidents

Accidents involving pedestrians result in serious injuries and fatalities. The most common injuries pedestrians suffer as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
  • Skull fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Disfigurement from severe lacerations of burns, including road rash
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments and tendons
  • Death

Any of these injuries can be completely life-altering for survivors. Victims are often unable to continue to work or take care of their families, and so they lose their enjoyment of life.

Other victims do not survive either the initial accident or they succumb to their injuries after some time has passed. When a pedestrian is killed in an accident, a North Carolina wrongful death attorney can greatly help the family through the complex legal process of obtaining compensation and hopefully help them get some closure.

North Carolina’s Pedestrian Laws

Pedestrians, cyclists, and other people have the right to share the roadways with motorists in North Carolina. However, the same law that grants these rights also applies certain obligations to pedestrians about the correct way to walk along and cross these roads safely and legally.

A clear understanding of North Carolina’s pedestrian laws is crucial to building a successful case for compensation, but the way these laws apply to your unique circumstances may be complicated. Discussing your situation with a North Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer will give you an advantage in understanding whether you have a valid case and what options you have for pursuing a claim for damages.

Pedestrian Control Signals

All pedestrians must obey the pedestrian control signals to remain both safe and legal while crossing North Carolina’s roads.

When the “Don’t Walk” signal is activated, pedestrians must not enter the crosswalk but are permitted to finish crossing if they have already entered the crosswalk while the “Walk” signal is illuminated and they were unable to complete their crossing in the allotted time.

Pedestrians must, however, stop and wait on the traffic islands if they are unable to complete crossing the entire road while the “Walk” signal is illuminated if these islands are provided.

Walking Along the Road

When sidewalks are provided, pedestrians are required to use them in order to walk along the road legally. In locations where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians must walk facing oncoming traffic on the far left side of the road or shoulder, if available, with the understanding that the oncoming traffic has the right of way.


When there are no pedestrian control signals, pedestrians have the right of way while walking in either a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Motor vehicles are not permitted to pass another motor vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross the road.

Pedestrians are still required to obey traffic control signals such as stop signs and stop lights. This means that pedestrians are not permitted to enter an intersection while a red light is illuminated in their direction of travel.

Crossing a Street Outside of Intersections and Crosswalks

Motor vehicles have the right of way when a pedestrian is attempting to cross the road without a crosswalk and while not crossing at an intersection, and the pedestrians must yield to traffic.

Pedestrians have the right of way while crossing alleys, private roads, and driveways. Drivers are always expected to use appropriate caution around pedestrians who are either on or along the road in order to avoid a collision.

Turning Right on a Red Light

Drivers are required to yield to any pedestrians attempting to cross an intersection before making a right turn on a red light.

There are other laws that may affect your case as well. The way these laws apply to your case may be very complex, and the driver may or may not have been issued a traffic violation citation in order for you to have a valid claim.

The best way to determine whether you are entitled to receive compensation is to hire a North Carolina wrongful death pedestrian accident attorney to investigate your case and unique circumstances.

Proving Your Claim

When you file a claim for compensation, you must be able to show four things to prove that the defendant was negligent and, therefore, at fault.

  1. The defendant owed you or your family member a duty of care
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care
  3. The breach of care caused the accident
  4. You or your family member was injured or killed as a result of the accident

The main two factors to consider while building your case are whether the defendant was negligent and the amount of compensation you should receive for your damages. Strong evidence of negligence includes any traffic citations the driver was issued for the accident or the verdict of a criminal trial, if available.

However, you may still file a claim without the driver having been issued a citation, and a criminal trial may not take place until after your case has been filed and possibly even settled.

Your pedestrian accident attorney will help you by investigating your accident to determine fault and proof of negligence. Your lawyer will also consult with an economist to determine the full amount of compensation that you will be able to pursue.

People without legal knowledge and experience in investigating accidents will find proving their case very difficult. The North Carolina wrongful death pedestrian accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson know how to build a strong case and will get you the compensation that you are entitled to receive.

How Does North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Law Affect Pedestrian Accidents?

North Carolina is one of the few states with a contributory negligence law. According to Forbes, this law prevents injured victims from receiving compensation if they had any part in causing the accident that caused their injuries.

For example, if a pedestrian was crossing a road but not using the provided crosswalk and was struck by a car, the driver could argue that the pedestrian was partially at fault because they were not crossing in the crosswalk.

The victim would only have to be found sharing as little as one percent of the fault for the collision to be ineligible for receiving any compensation due to the contributory negligence law.

Many defendants or their insurance companies attempt to use the contributory negligence law to avoid liability for their part in causing the accident. In order for a driver to use this law as an affirmative defense, they must prove that the pedestrian was somehow negligent and that this negligence contributed to the cause of the accident.

Using contributory negligence may seem easy, but it is actually difficult to prove. Tatum & Atkinson, experienced pedestrian accident attorneys, know how to overcome this defense strategy to ensure that you get your compensation.

What Are Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Many drivers claim that they simply did not see the pedestrian, but this does not mean that they will not be held accountable for the accident. All drivers have an obligation to drive safely and to watch for other people, whether they are pedestrians or other drivers.

The majority of accidents involving pedestrians are caused by the following factors:

  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving, most often caused by texting, general cell phone usage, eating, or using a navigation system
  • Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding
  • Driving while tired

The occurrence of an accident involving a pedestrian is not enough to be successful in your claim. You have to provide proof that the driver caused the accident by their negligent actions.

A pedestrian accident attorney with experience in wrongful death cases in North Carolina will investigate the accident and gather all available evidence possible in order to hold the driver accountable for the death of your family member.

Call the Heavy Hitters: Your North Carolina Wrongful Death Pedestrian Accident Law Firm

If your loved one was tragically killed in a pedestrian accident, we are so sorry for your loss, and we are here to help. We will take care of your case and ensure your family receives the best possible outcome.

Call Tatum and Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters at (800) LAW-0804 as soon as possible to discuss your options and to determine if your situation qualifies for a wrongful death claim.