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Distracted Walking: The Risks of Using Devices while Crossing the Street

The surge in smartphone usage shows no signs of stopping. While the plethora of information and connectivity available at our fingertips has plenty of advantages, a less attractive outcome has become increasingly prevalent: distracted walking. Under-regulated compared to distracted driving, this behavior can cause a significant rise in accidents.

Risks Associated with Distracted Walking

Distracted walking, often overlooked as the focus is placed on distracted drivers, poses significant risks as individuals navigate through pedestrian spaces while engaging with their devices. This phenomenon can lead to various dangerous situations, like:

Increased likelihood of traffic accidents: Using a cellphone while walking can pull your attention away from an oncoming vehicle, leading to disastrous and potentially life-threatening outcomes. It’s also possible that pedestrians could collide with bicycles or scooters, leading to severe accidents.

Increased vulnerability to crime: Pedestrians that are distracted by their phone are much more likely to be victims of a crime. They may not hear someone walk up behind them, leaving them open to theft or assault.

Missed pedestrian signals: When pedestrians fail to notice or act on these signals due to distraction, they are at a higher risk of walking into oncoming traffic or creating hazardous situations for drivers who have the right-of-way.

Reduced situational awareness: Engaging with devices while moving through pedestrian areas limits an individual’s ability to hear and respond to crucial audible cues in their surroundings. Car horns, emergency sirens, or shouts from others can serve as vital warnings of potential danger, and if a pedestrian is not paying attention, accidents are more likely to occur

Distracted walking is a behavior that has serious consequences. Ensuring personal safety should always come first – this requires disconnecting from devices momentarily while navigating through pedestrian spaces to keep our roads and sidewalks safer for everyone. 

Accidents Caused by Pedestrians Can Lead to Personal Injury Lawsuits

Although drivers bear a significant responsibility to avoid crashes, pedestrians have duties of care as well. Failing to follow traffic laws, moving into traffic unexpectedly, or disregarding pedestrian rules carries several risks and can potentially lead to accidents. In the event you’ve sustained an injury as a pedestrian, call our Colorado Springs pedestrian accident lawyers today.

In some of these circumstances, a pedestrian may even be held liable in personal injury lawsuits. This could arise if they acted negligently in some way that directly contributed to an accident. For instance, walking off the sidewalk abruptly into oncoming traffic without warning could cause a car to crash, leading the injured driver to hold the pedestrian liable for their injuries.

Both Parties May Share Liability in a Pedestrian Accident

In pedestrian accident cases, it’s not uncommon for both the driver and the pedestrian to share some degree of blame. Colorado applies a legal rule known as modified comparative negligence when dealing with these situations.

Under this rule, even if a pedestrian is partially responsible for an accident leading to their injuries, they may still be able to recover damages from other at-fault parties. However, the amount that they can secure will be reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault.

2022 Colorado Code
§ 13-21-111. Negligence Cases – Comparative Negligence as Measure of Damages

Contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in any action by any person or his legal representative to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or in injury to person or property, if such negligence was not as great as the negligence of the person against whom recovery is sought, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person for whose injury, damage, or death recovery is made.

For example, if it’s determined that the pedestrian suffered $100,000 in damages and was 40% responsible for being in the road but the driver was 60% responsible for speeding and running a red light, the pedestrian can recover 60% of awarded damages. This means they will get $60,000.

If the pedestrian is more than 50% responsible for causing the accident, they cannot obtain any compensation whatsoever.

Regardless of the type of accident you’ve been involved in, what the cause was, or how responsible you think you might be, it’s essential to reach out to a personal injury attorney in Colorado Springs to determine your next steps and see if you’re able to seek compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.