Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

Crossing the street shouldn’t mean walking into danger

Pedestrians face certain risks due to careless and inattentive drivers, and statistics indicate that the risk of injury could be increasing. According to a study released by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, last year was the deadliest year for pedestrians since 1996. In fact, even seemingly safe actions, such as crossing the street at a marked pedestrian walkway, could be more dangerous than before.

A study of accident numbers indicates an increase in the number of pedestrian-related accidents over the last decade. Between 2006 and 2015, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased approximately 12 percent. Of all traffic accident fatalities, pedestrian fatalities comprise 15 percent of that total number.

Why are pedestrian accidents on the increase?

Like other types of crashes, there are many factors that can play a role in pedestrian accidents. Some of the potential reasons for the increase in this particular type of accident include the following:

  • There are fewer safe intersections and places for pedestrians to travel in safety, particularly in lower-income areas
  • Drivers are susceptible to more distractions while behind the wheel than ever before
  • An aging infrastructure system could mean that the number of pedestrians outgrew the existing sidewalks and intersections
  • More people are traveling by foot in urban areas than they were 30 and 40 years ago

Cars are faster and more technologically advanced than they have even been, but these advances may actually be a threat to pedestrian safety.

Who is most vulnerable?

Statistics point to a higher number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in lower income and predominantly non-white areas. Disadvantaged communities are often the last to get updates in roads and public areas, including safe sidewalks, marked intersections and even pedestrian-only areas. Hispanics and African-Americans are significantly more likely to suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident than whites.

Pedestrian accident victims have rights use them

No matter the circumstances of a pedestrian accident, victims have the right to follow through with the legal options available to them. For some, this may include filing a civil claim against the liable parties, most likely including the driver.

A pedestrian accident can cause devastating injuries or even death, but victims and family members do not have to face the aftermath alone. These individuals may have a rightful claim to financial compensation for their accident-related losses, which may include medical bills, rehabilitation needs, and restitution for emotional pain and suffering.

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