Are Drivers Liable for Accidents When Pedestrians Are Hit at Roundabouts or Traffic Circles?

Drivers are often liable if they hit a pedestrian at a roundabout or traffic circle, but sometimes another party shares liability for the accident or (in rare cases) is entirely responsible. By working with experienced pedestrian accident attorneys, pedestrian collision survivors can often secure significant compensation for their losses.

Roundabouts and Traffic Circles in Kentucky

An increasing number of Kentucky roads feature roundabouts and traffic circles.  A roundabout is a small-to-medium-diameter circular intersection in which traffic flows constantly in a counterclockwise direction at a relatively low speed, with entering vehicles yielding to others. Roundabouts rarely feature stop signs or traffic lights.

A traffic circle, in contrast, is a large-diameter road feature (or an entirely separate road) in which counterclockwise traffic flows at a relatively high speed. In a traffic circle, entering vehicles have the right-of-way, and the circle often includes traffic signals.

Pros and Cons of Roundabouts and Traffic Circles

Kentucky road engineers have recently gravitated toward roundabouts as a safer, more efficient alternative to traditional four-way intersections. Compared to four-way stops, roundabouts keep traffic constantly moving, gently reduce (or “calm”) vehicle speeds, and have fewer “points of conflict” where vehicle collisions can occur. Additionally, accidents in a roundabout tend to be sideswipe collisions that do far less damage and cause fewer and less severe injuries than the angular, head-on, or rear-end crashes that occur at traditional intersections.

Roundabouts and traffic circles, however, can pose safety challenges for pedestrians. Unlike traditional intersections, they rarely feature stop signs and red lights that provide pedestrians with a designated moment to cross. To traverse traffic lanes at a roundabout or traffic circle, pedestrians must wait for the right moment or depend on an entering or exiting driver to see them and yield. The design of most roundabouts requires pedestrians to cross two separate lanes (one for entering traffic, one for exiting) and forces them to wait on a narrow, exposed traffic island.

Common Causes of Roundabout or Traffic Circle Pedestrian Accidents

Various circumstances cause pedestrian accidents in roundabouts or traffic circles. Common causes of pedestrian collisions include:

  • Failure to see a crossing pedestrian due to inattention or distraction on the driver’s part
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian due to unfamiliarity with circular traffic patterns
  • Excessive speed in a circular traffic pattern that results in an out-of-control vehicle
  • Poor roundabout or traffic circle design or construction, including inadequately sized islands, confusing signage, low lighting, or deficient traffic calming features

Notably, many pedestrian collisions at roundabouts or traffic circles occur because of errors made by someone other than the injured victim. In such cases, the pedestrian may have a right to seek compensation from the party (or parties) at fault. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help achieve a positive result for the victim and their family.

Liability and Damages for Pedestrian Accidents

Anyone who causes a pedestrian accident in Kentucky due to careless, reckless, or intentional actions can be held liable for compensating their victims. Drivers that hit pedestrians at roundabouts or traffic circles often bear ultimate responsibility for the collision, simply because motorists have a fundamental duty to exercise care not to hit people in or near a road.

Other parties could also be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. These other parties could include:

  • The employer of a driver who hits a pedestrian with a commercial vehicle
  • A road engineer or contractor who designed or built an unreasonably dangerous roundabout or traffic circle
  • A municipal agency that was responsible for maintaining the traffic circle or roundabout and whose negligence caused the accident

An injured motorist can typically seek damages from anyone liable for hitting them. Through an insurance claim or lawsuit, a pedestrian could recover payment for their medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering, diminished quality of life, and other damages. The spouse or family of a pedestrian who dies in a roundabout or traffic circle accident could similarly seek compensation for their loved one’s wrongful death.

How an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help

The most reliable way to secure compensation for losses you suffered when a car hit you in a Kentucky roundabout or traffic circle is to hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Louisville. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know how to investigate the accident, prepare your claim, and secure the maximum payment available through a negotiated settlement, court judgment, or jury verdict. The attorney will manage every aspect of your case, dealing with insurance companies on your behalf and taking care of all the paperwork and court appearances so that you can focus on healing from your trauma and moving forward with your life.

Sam Aguiar Injury Attorneys Get Results in Pedestrian Traffic Accidents. Call Us Today!

If you or your loved one has sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident at a roundabout or traffic circle in Kentucky, experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at Sam Aguiar Injury Attorneys are here to help. We fight for injured pedestrians and have a track record of getting results in even the most challenging cases. Contact us today for a free case assessment to learn how we can help you.