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Car accidents involving pedestrians can have devastating results, and they are on the rise in Oregon. Pedestrian accidents can also be among the most complex regarding insurance settlements and liability claims.

Get help from a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible following a crash. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you file a claim to seek compensation for your medical bills and more, even if the accident was partially your fault. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about avoiding pedestrian-vehicle accidents and what to do if you get into a pedestrian crash in Oregon.

Oregon Pedestrian Accident Statistics

A car hitting a pedestrian can cause life-altering injuries and even death. Unfortunately, pedestrian traffic deaths continue trending upward.

A 2020 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that 2019 saw the most pedestrian deaths on America’s roadways since 1988. It also showed an increase in pedestrian deaths of nearly 60 percent between 2009 and 2019.

The trend continued through 2020. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed a four percent rise in pedestrian deaths between 2019 and 2020.

In Oregon, the car accident death rate among pedestrians is alarming. At a press conference in late 2021, the supervisor of Portland’s Major Crash Team reported a spike of 62 people killed in car crashes in Portland during 2021. Twenty-six of them were pedestrians.

These numbers are tragic. We can all do our part to help reduce these accident rates. Part of preventing pedestrian deaths from automobile crashes is understanding how they happen.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

A vehicle crash injuring a pedestrian can happen in many ways. The following are some causes of accidents a pedestrian injury lawyer will commonly see in their cases. 

Distracted Driving

The number one cause of cars hitting pedestrians is distracted drivers. Driving distractions can be obvious, like texting while driving. They can also be more subtle things like looking for a parking space while driving around the parking lot.

Impaired Driving

Impaired drivers cause many crashes too. Most people think of an impaired driver as a drunk driver, but they can also be driving while drowsy or on drugs. 

Driver Error

Drivers can make any number of mistakes that result in an accident: cruising through a crosswalk or intersection, failing to yield to pedestrians, not looking properly while backing out, or even just hitting the wrong pedal. Distracted and impaired drivers are more likely to commit a driving error that leads to an accident.

Hazardous Conditions

In some cases, environmental factors may contribute to an accident. Poorly designed intersections, faulty traffic signals, and faulty sidewalks can create hazards that ultimately lead to a car hitting a pedestrian.  

Where do vehicle-pedestrian accidents happen most often?

Most pedestrian-vehicle accidents happen in urban areas. More than 50 percent of pedestrian deaths occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. And 73 percent occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. No doubt the dark makes pedestrians harder to see. The most common pedestrians struck were males over 20 years old.

Not surprisingly, most accidents that involve a car hitting a pedestrian occur in places where lots of vehicles and pedestrians interact. 

Parking Lots

Almost every day, a local news outlet somewhere in America publishes a story with a headline like, “Pedestrian Hit by Car in Parking Lot.”

Drivers looking for parking often don’t see pedestrians walking between cars or crossing unmarked driveways. Pedestrians in parking lots often focus on quickly getting to and from their vehicles and can make unexpected moves. Children are particularly vulnerable in these situations.

Unfortunately, sometimes the crowds of people can spook the drivers in these accidents and cause them to flee. This situation creates a hit-and-run in a parking lot. If you hit someone in a parking lot, don’t flee. Most parking lots have surveillance cameras, so the guilty party often gets caught, and the fleeing can add harsher punishment to the case.

If a driver hit you in a parking lot, get help from a parking lot accident attorney to get compensation for your injuries and trauma.


Drivers often hit pedestrians at crosswalks. Distracted or impaired drivers turning left make mistakes and don’t yield properly. They can turn directly into pedestrians crossing the street.

If you were struck by a car while crossing the street, contact a crosswalk injury attorney. Don’t get stuck with the medical bills associated with your recovery when you were simply walking across the street.

Most Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

The crushing force of an automobile hitting a person can be catastrophic. It often results in severe injuries. The following injuries commonly occur as a result of a vehicle-pedestrian accident:

  • Broken Legs
  • Broken Ribs
  • Concussion
  • Fractured Hip
  • Head Trauma
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Road Rash
  • Severe Lacerations

Recovering from these injuries could require extensive and expensive medical treatments. Some injuries may develop into chronic issues that can be debilitating or require ongoing therapy.

Don’t get stuck paying for these medical expenses yourself. Get help from a reputable Oregon car accident attorney, like SLP. They could help you seek compensation for your injuries even if you were partially at fault.

Know Your Rights in An Oregon Pedestrian Accident Case

Understanding Oregon law can help you know whether you have a winnable claim for compensation in your case.

Vulnerable User Law

The state of Oregon follows the rule of the Vulnerable User Law. Under the vulnerable user law, pedestrians have the right of way to cross the road at almost any point, but with a few important exceptions.

The pedestrian must use a crosswalk if they are within 150 feet of one when crossing.

The pedestrian must proceed directly across the street and not meander in the roadway (crossing pedestrians are allowed to stop at designated safety islands.

Drivers traveling in both directions must yield to pedestrians on the road.

Comparative Negligence

Oregon uses comparative negligence in pedestrian accident cases. That means accident investigators can portion out the liability in a case to multiple parties. So, you could be partially responsible for your accident and still file a compensation claim.

For instance, the court may determine that a driver was 60 percent responsible for an accident and the pedestrian was responsible for 40 percent of it. In this instance, the pedestrian can still seek damages. However, they can receive only 60 percent of the total value of the case because that’s what the driver was responsible for.

Pedestrians who are more than 50 percent responsible for an accident cannot seek damages.

If you were injured in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, even if you were partly at fault, get help from a pedestrian accident lawyer. They may be able to reduce your percentage of liability and help you with your claim. 

Get a free consultation from SLP on your Oregon pedestrian accident case.

Compensation for Your Losses

If you or a loved one have been injured in a vehicle-pedestrian accident in Oregon that was mostly someone else’s fault, you’re entitled to seek compensation for the damage done to your life. That’s why the court calls the payment “damages.” Those damages come in many forms. They include compensation for medical bills and much more. The monetary damages you can seek include the following and more:

  • Long-term Care Costs
  • Loss in Quality of Life
  • Loss of Future Earnings
  • Medical Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Rehab and Therapy Costs

Get help from a pedestrian accident attorney like SLP when filing your claim for damages. They help you identify and claim all the damages Oregon law allows. That way, you get the maximum compensation possible when you win your case.

Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys in Salem, OR

Contact Swanson Lathen Prestwich, PC, today for a free consultation about your pedestrian accident case. Every day you wait can hurt your case. Do not hesitate to get the help you need.

Complete the online contact form or call 503-581-2421 to get started!