What Happens If You Hit a Pedestrian?

What Happens If You Hit a Pedestrian?

In Washington DC, there are many pedestrians AND a lot of pedestrian fatalities.  With a rate of 1.89, DC came in second for pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 of the population, from January to June 2020, behind only New Mexico with a rate of 2.12.

Ultimately that puts all pedestrians at a high risk of being involved in an accident. Although you might not intend to harm a pedestrian, doing so can come with serious consequences. It’s important to understand those consequences and to know what you should do if you hit a pedestrian.

The Potential Consequences

There are several potential consequences you could face if you are a driver involved in a pedestrian accident. Any of the following could occur, depending on the circumstances of your accident:


If you were reckless or negligent, you could be fined for the incident. This is often the case when the accident was not intentional and you were at least partially responsible for the accident.

Criminal Charges

When the accident is intentional or the driver committed a crime, there is a possibility of them facing criminal charges. If the victim died, the driver could be charged with manslaughter. In Florida, this crime is a felony and can come with a lengthy jail sentence.

Hit and runs can also result in criminal charges. To avoid facing charges, you should always stop after an accident. No matter how much you worry about the consequences, you should check on the pedestrian and wait for the police to arrive.

Although not all drivers who hit pedestrians face criminal charges, some do. It’s in your best interest to contact an attorney and learn more about the steps you need to take to prevent the maximum penalty.

Suspended or Revoked License

If you were driving while drunk or under the influence of a substance, you could have your license suspended or revoked. This can also occur if you were driving a certain amount above the speed limit or committing another serious traffic violation.

Getting your license back might not be easy. The court could require you to pay fees, take classes, and wait for a certain period of time.

Personal Injury Claim

If you were partially responsible for the accident, the victim or their family could file a personal injury claim against the driver. However, this type of lawsuit is a civil case. Even if a judge rules in the victim’s favor, you cannot receive jail time.

Typically, the claim will affect your insurance company and not your own bank account. The victim can seek damages for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and missed wages.

Who is Responsible for Your Accident?

Sometimes, the driver is not responsible for the accident. You might follow every traffic law and be very vigilant, but a reckless pedestrian could still cause you to be involved in an accident.

This is often the case when the pedestrian is drunk, ignores traffic signals, or intentional jumps in front of a vehicle. If the pedestrian is the only one responsible for your accident, then you are unlikely to face consequences.

Regardless of your situation, you should contact an attorney for help. A pedestrian accident in DC could have serious consequences, and you may need to fight for your rights. By working with an experienced attorney, you may be able to limit or eliminate the legal consequences of your accident.

Tips for Pedestrian Safety

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