If you are someone that goes out walking running, whether that is with a dog or simply for exercise, you know the dangers of being hit by a car. In some cities, although public transport is readily available, choosing to walk or jog is a good option for exercise. Unfortunately, this also leaves you at risk for a pedestrian accident.
As a pedestrian, an accident can occur by a motor vehicle crashing into you, and causing injuries, or even death. This can occur easily because both busses and cars are often in a rush. In 2019 alone, 6,590 pedestrians were killed in the United States. This is quite scary, and actually is 300 more deaths than those that occurred from pedestrian accidents in 2018.
So why are pedestrian accidents happening even though there are many laws in place to prevent this? Let’s take a look to see why these accidents are happening, and what we can do to prevent them.
The trouble with pedestrian accidents is that poor driving or mistakes are not the only reason for accidents. Intoxicated drivers and distracted driving are also a huge cause of accidents as well. First off, the numbers of pedestrian accidents resulting in deaths vary widely from state to state. Five states, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, accounted for 47% of all pedestrian accident deaths in 2019. Why are accidents higher in these states? There are a few main reasons why pedestrian accidents occur in general.
With the rise in the use of cell phones and other devices, it is very easy for drivers to become distracted. Whether that is texting, using Instagram, taking selfies, or simply talking on the phone, distracted driving means you are not paying attention to the road. This makes it very easy to accidentally hit a pedestrian in the road, even if they do not have the right of way.
Whether a driver is drinking or doing drugs, reaction times are different. This means that their driving skills overall are impaired, and they may not see a pedestrian. This can often happen at night and typically results in a fatality.
Speeding is not only illegal but in some cases (over 100mph) it can be considered a reckless driving ticket. Pedestrians hit by someone speeding are often a lot more hurt due to their being a very high impact.
We are only human, and mistakes often happen. There are various accidents that occur while driving that unfortunately result in pedestrian accidents. These might include:
Failing to stop or yield: Although stop signs exist, many people do not fully follow these directions. This might also occur in an intersection where pedestrians often walk. Whether or not the pedestrian has the right of way, if a driver does not stop at a stop sign, or does not yield when they are supposed to, this can result in a pedestrian accident.
Improper lane use: The number one reason that pedestrian accidents occur is because of city streets and individuals not using lanes properly.
Making a left–hand turn: Even if a crosswalk is present, pedestrians are often hit by vehicles turning left. This occurs because most of the driver’s attention is placed on the right and trying to get through the intersection. Unfortunately, they may not see the pedestrian, and a crash occurs.
Backing up: Many horrific accidents happen when backing up. Often this occurs with young children that are not seen through their mirror. This can also occur in parking lots as well.
If a pedestrian is walking at night in dark clothes it can be very difficult for cars to see that person. This is a very common reason that a pedestrian will get hit. To avoid this, wear something reflective, wear lighter-colored clothing, or carry light when walking or jogging at night.
Weather conditions have a huge impact on pedestrian accidents. If there is snow, fog, or rain, drivers that drive the normal speed limit can offer the chance to sleep and slide into a pedestrian.
Any pedestrian is at risk to be hit by a vehicle, but there are individuals who are more at risk, these include bikers, runners, construction workers, and more. Interestingly enough though, the CDC states that men are more likely to be hit by a car than women, and people between the ages of 15-29 are at higher risk as well.
Older people are more likely to be killed by a pedestrian accident impact, as well as those who are hit by someone who is under the influence of alcohol. Anyone can be hit, accidents don’t discriminate. Even if you are on the sidewalk following pedestrian laws, you are still at risk to be hit.
Every year fatalities rise due to pedestrian accidents. Between 2018 to 2019 there were 300 additional fatalities in 2019 alone than that in 2018. There are three easy ways to prevent these accidents as a pedestrian.
Do not assume any drivers see you: This will be helpful because although you may have the right of way, it does not mean that the drivers will be looking out for you. Often drivers will go through lights quickly and even crosswalks if the pedestrians have a green light. Be sure that the road is clear before you cross and always look both ways.
Always use crosswalks: Although you should not bet on it, many drivers will actually look for pedestrians at crosswalks. This can help drivers to see you, rather than running across the street in a random location. You should also wait for your light to turn green before you cross.
Do not walk in the street: This will not only block traffic but can cause a lot of other problems as well. In some states, walking in the street is actually illegal. If you stick to the laws and walk within areas meant for pedestrians, you run a lower risk of being a part of an accident.
There are different instances in an accident where a pedestrian will be at fault versus a driver. For example, if a pedestrian is walking in a crosswalk with a green “go” light, and they are hit by a driver, then the driver is obviously at fault. However, if a pedestrian is walking between parked cars, and then walk into the path of a vehicle that is driving, this would most likely be the pedestrian’s fault. One exception to this would be if the driver had the opportunity to avoid this accident, then they might be considered at fault.
There are cases when both parties would be considered to be at fault. That is if both parties have contributed to the accident. If the liability can be understood and deemed to a percentage, then one party may receive 30 percent damages, versus the person who is 70 percent at fault may pay them only a percentage of what the overall total is.
There are a few steps you can follow should you be involved with an accident involving a car or motor vehicle as a pedestrian.
Make sure that you are physically safe, and assess your injuries.
Seek medical help immediately.
Document your injuries.
Call the police.
Do not discuss fault at the scene.
Do not speak to an opposing insurance company until you have spoken with a lawyer.
Contact your insurance company.
Seek professional assistance from an attorney.
At Anderson Hammat we have been working with victims of pedestrian accidents for over 25 years. We know how difficult it can be to deal with a case while recovering from an accident. All of our fees are contingency-based, meaning you pay nothing unless you win your case!
If you or someone you love has been a victim of a pedestrian accident, you should never feel alone. Contact us today to learn how we can help you, or for a free consultation.
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