Pedestrian deaths are on the rise and recently reached their highest levels in nearly 30 years. The Governors Highway Safety Administration reports 6,277 people died last year after being struck alongside a road—that’s a 52% increase in the past ten years. In our state alone, we’ve seen a 41% jump in pedestrian deaths from 2017 (64 deaths) to 2018 (90 deaths). Let’s take a look at:
- Contributing Factors for Increased Pedestrian Deaths
- Liability of the Driver Involved in the Pedestrian Accident
- What’s Being Done to Address Pedestrian Safety
- What to do if a Loved One is Injured or Killed Due to Negligence
Contributing Factors for Increased Pedestrian Deaths
It’s estimated that pedestrians will account for 16 percent of all traffic deaths this year, compared to 12 percent in 2008. Walking to work, walking the dog and that after-dinner stroll are becoming high-risk activities! GHSA’s report is based on information collected by state highway safety offices. Those offices are citing America’s growing desire to drive pickup trucks, SUVs and crossover utility vehicles for the increase in deaths. The bigger, heavier and more powerful vehicles mean pedestrians struck are more likely to die or suffer life-altering injuries. Other factors contributing to this alarming trend include:
- Night-time Walking: Over the past ten years, these types of crashes accounted for more than 90 percent of the total increase in pedestrian deaths.
- Unsafe Driving Behaviors: Speeding, along with distracted, alcohol-impaired or drowsy driving, have accounted for about half of all traffic-related crashes involving pedestrian fatalities in the past 3 years.
Liability of the Driver Involved in the Pedestrian Accident
In our state, the driver who struck a pedestrian may face criminal charges and be held civilly liable for the injuries if a court or jury determines that the driver was negligent at the time of the incident. This means, the driver may be held liable for expenses incurred by the pedestrian, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
Anyone behind the wheel of a car has a legal duty to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances that exist at that time. Slowing down in thick fog, on icy roads and during a torrential downpour would be factors to consider for additional care. If the person behind the wheel fails to reasonably adjust his or her driving for present conditions, he or she would be considered negligent.
There are many other factors that come into play when determining negligence in these types of cases.
- Was the driver distracted (on a cell phone or texting)?
- Was the driver speeding?
- Did the driver disobey traffic lights or signs?
- Was the driver intoxicated?
- Was the driver not being mindful of his or her surroundings (school zones, etc.)?
- Did the driver fail to yield the right of way?
What’s Being Done to Address Pedestrian Safety
The Governors Highway Safety Administration says every state has taken measures to address the issue of pedestrian safety in recent years. In our state, police officers are conducting enforcement stings targeting drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Extra attention has also been placed on biking lanes, speed bumps and raised intersections.
Even with precautions being taken and measures being put into place, accidents happen. And in the case of pedestrian accidents, injuries are often catastrophic.
What to do if a Loved One is Injured or Killed Due to Negligence
When someone is injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to:
- Call Police Immediately. Having an official police report can make it much easier to procure compensation for an injury.
- Call for Medical Help. Have an EMT, doctor or another medical professional examine the injuries, even if you feel fine. Serious, life-threatening injuries aren’t always felt immediately.
- Get the Driver’s Information. Be certain someone is getting the driver’s name, address, license plate number, driver’s license number and insurance company information.
- Take Notes at the Scene. If possible, have someone take pictures and notes that show the scene of the accident and the factors that may have contributed.
- Talk to Witnesses. If others saw the accident, ask them to talk to the police to explain what they saw. Be sure to get their names, addresses and phone numbers in case you need them down the road.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident, act now. Generally, the longer it takes for you to reach out to an attorney, the more difficult your case can be to litigate. Call Georgelis First and our experienced personal injury attorneys will get to work immediately, gathering evidence, collecting expert and key witnesses, filing the appropriate paperwork and handling all the communications with the insurance companies.
Pedestrian accidents can be very complicated. Often times, the driver who causes the accident denies they did anything wrong. There are other times that the driver flees the scene. Then, there are the insurance companies that do everything they can to ensure that they have to pay the accident victims the least amount possible. Call Georgelis First at 1-800-HURT-NOW, and we’ll take care of everything. We’ve won more than 99% of our cases and helped secure more than $50,000,000 in settlements for other accident victims…and we can help you, too!