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Pedestrian Accidents – A Snapshot

Pedestrian Accidents – A Snapshot

Car-vs-Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents account for about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities each year. Nearly 85 percent of nonfatal pedestrian accidents happen in urban areas and two-thirds of fatalities on urban roadways. In 2008, 4,378 pedestrians were killed and nearly 70,000 injured in traffic accidents nationwide.

Pedestrian accidents occur on roads with and without crosswalks. On freeways and interstates when vehicles break down, the disabled driver out fixing a flat tire or inspecting his engine is at considerable risk of being struck by an inattentive or intoxicated driver.

Some of the factors contributing to pedestrian accidents include the following:

  • Ignoring traffic controls
  • Jaywalking
  • Darting into the street (children, joggers, people chasing after things)
  • Walking on a limited access road
  • Drivers ignoring crosswalks
  • Drivers ignoring traffic signals
  • Failing to see pedestrians crossing the road
  • Passing a school bus
  • Intoxicated drivers
  • Distracted drivers
  • Blinded by the sun
  • Poor road design
  • Speeding vehicles
  • Exiting from a parked vehicle

 

One pedestrian is killed every 7-8 minutes. As a pedestrian, you can take measures to protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Don’t cross until you are sure the driver has seen you
  • Try to get the driver’s attention before crossing
  • If walking on a roadway, stay to the side
  • Avoid crossing poorly lit streets at night unless you are certain there are no vehicles
  • Only cross at marked crosswalks
  • Do not walk if the signal is flashing “Don’t Walk” or “Wait.”

If you cross a street without a crosswalk or against a “Do Not Walk” sign, you may be liable for having caused your own injuries. Drivers, though, are obligated to use ordinary care when driving, which includes being aware of pedestrians. If the driver neglected his or her duty of care by speeding, ignoring a traffic signal, texting, or not seeing you walking in area where pedestrians are typically crossing such as in urban areas, the motorist may be held responsible.

In residential areas where school where children are commonly found, a motorist may be liable for failing to anticipate the presence of young children who may suddenly dart out into the street. Under these circumstances, a driver may be held to a higher standard since small children may not be reasonably expected to look out for themselves.

Injured pedestrians are entitled to damages from a negligent motorist that includes past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, and loss of benefits. Non-economic losses include pain and suffering, which is usually determined by the nature and extent of the injuries, the effect on the victim’s lifestyle, and any permanent disability or significant disfigurement.

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