Pedestrian accidents are an unfortunate reality in our modern, fast-paced world. Disturbingly, rates of these accidents are on an upward trend throughout the country.
In this blog post, we explore where pedestrian accidents most often occur. We examine hotspots in urban and rural areas, and discuss why intersections and parking lots can be particularly dangerous for pedestrians. Then, we delve into the rights of pedestrian accident victims and the role a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer plays in securing compensation for their losses.
Pedestrian Accidents in Urban Areas
In the hustle and bustle of city life, pedestrian accidents are unfortunately common. High population density, heavy traffic, and rushed, often-distracted drivers contribute to causing pedestrian collisions in urban centers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), cities report the nation’s highest concentrations of fatal pedestrian collisions.
Several elements contribute to high rates of pedestrian accidents in urban locales. Firstly, population growth and haphazard urban planning have led to crowded streets, resulting in an increased potential for accidents.
High vehicle speed, traffic congestion, lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and distracted driving are other prominent factors in fueling pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrian accidents happen in cities at crosswalks and mid-block. Often, crosswalk accidents happen when drivers ignore their surroundings while stopped at a traffic light.
Mid-block accidents, in contrast, tend to occur when drivers speed and fail to account for the possibility that a pedestrian will enter the roadway outside of a crosswalk. Most fatal urban accidents happen at non-intersection locations, according to the NHTSA.
Pedestrian Accidents in Rural Areas
One might assume that fewer people and less traffic in rural areas would equate to a decreased risk of pedestrian accidents. But unfortunately, that is not the case.
Rural pedestrian accidents, although less frequent than their urban counterparts, are often more severe due to higher driving speeds and the lack of immediate medical help for the injured pedestrian. The NHTSA reports accidents in rural areas account for almost 30 percent of pedestrian fatalities, a significant proportion considering the low population density in those regions.
Several factors unique to rural areas contribute to these statistics. Dark roads lacking street lighting, limited sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and road narrow shoulders can make pedestrians less visible or provide them with fewer safe places to walk. The increased incidence of drunk driving in rural areas is another factor in pedestrian accidents, besides the inability of emergency services to reach accident scenes quickly due to the remote locations.
Pedestrian Accidents at Intersections
One of the most common and dangerous locations for pedestrian accidents is at intersections. Intersections present a unique set of risks as they bring together multiple streams of traffic – vehicles, pedestrians, and sometimes cyclists – moving in different directions.
The complexity of intersections, combined with driver negligence or recklessness, often leads to tragic pedestrian accidents. Drivers can make a host of mistakes in these locations that endanger pedestrians,, including failing to yield while making turns, ignoring traffic signals, or simply not paying attention.
Intersections can be made more pedestrian-friendly with certain improvements. These might include adding pedestrian refuge islands, installing advanced stop lines, implementing countdown pedestrian signals, and enhancing street lighting. However, even with these improvements pedestrians must exercise caution while navigating intersections.
In some settings, alternatives to traditional intersections offer a much safer solution. For example, pedestrian bridges or underpasses can essentially eliminate the chance of vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions. Unfortunately, however, these options simply are not feasible in every location.
Pedestrian Accidents in Parking Lots
Parking lots are often overlooked when discussing pedestrian accidents, yet they are one of the most common locations for vehicles to hit pedestrians. This may seem surprising given the slower vehicle speeds typically associated with parking lots.
But other factors such as driver distraction, poor visibility, and the unpredictable movements of other vehicles and people on foot can all combine to create a high-risk environment.
Parking lots are unique because they don’t necessarily fit established rules of the road. Pedestrians and drivers alike often struggle to predict the actions of others in these spaces.
Additionally, the layout of many parking lots can also contribute to pedestrian accidents. For example, large lots can cause pedestrians to take shortcuts through driving areas, while poorly designed or inadequately marked pedestrian paths offer little protection from moving vehicles.
Moreover, driver distraction is a significant issue in parking lots. Drivers preoccupied with finding a parking spot, navigating the lot, dealing with passengers, or checking their phones run a high risk of hitting someone on foot.
Some potential ways to improve pedestrian safety in parking lots include marking pedestrian paths clearly, installing mirrors at blind corners, and lowering the speed limit.
Prevention measures such as pedestrian-only zones and dedicated parking spots for larger vehicles in areas that will not block the view of pedestrians can also help. However, even with these safety measures, pedestrians should always remain vigilant while walking through parking lots.
Rights of Pedestrian Accident Victims to Compensation
Pedestrian accident victims have substantial legal rights to claim compensation for their losses. Here’s an overview of who may owe them damages and what they may receive.
Liability for a Pedestrian Accident
Multiple individuals, businesses, or entities could potentially bear the blame for a pedestrian accident.
Every crash differs, but the parties liable to the victim could include:
- The driver of the vehicle that strikes a pedestrian
- The employer of a driver who hits a pedestrian with a work vehicle
- A municipal entity or private landowner responsible for creating road or parking lot conditions that were unreasonably dangerous for pedestrians.
- An automotive manufacturer that produced defective products that contributed to the cause of a pedestrian crash.
These are just a few examples of who could owe damages for a pedestrian accident. Identifying liable parties requires thorough investigation and familiarity with local laws. The most reliable way to discover who might have liability for injuries you or a loved one suffered in a pedestrian accident is to connect with a knowledgeable attorney.
Potential Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident
The compensation a pedestrian accident victim can claim from a liable party usually falls into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages consist of tangible losses like medical bills, lost income, and rehabilitation costs.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, constitute intangible losses such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
Sometimes, a pedestrian accident victim may also receive punitive damages from an at-fault party who engaged in extreme or malicious conduct in causing the collision.
Every pedestrian accident case is unique. The amount of compensation a victim can receive depends on numerous factors, including the severity of the injuries the victim suffered, the volume and quality of evidence available to prove a claim, and the financial resources the liable parties have with which to pay damages. Contact an experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyer to learn about the types and amounts of compensation you could claim.
Potential Compensation in Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
Sadly, pedestrian accidents cause a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities annually in the United States. In those tragic cases, the deceased pedestrian’s surviving spouse, family members, or personal representative may have the right to pursue legal action for compensation.
Through a wrongful death and survival lawsuit, those parties could receive payment for:
- Loss of the victim’s income, inheritance, services, or financial support
- Loss of the victim’s companionship, consortium, or guidance
- Emotional anguish
- The victim’s pain and suffering before death
- The victim’s medical and other accident-related expenses before death
- Funeral and burial costs
Obviously, money cannot make up for a tragic loss of life. But it can provide crucial financial support to help pay bills and plan for the future. Contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer today if you recently lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident.
The Role of a Lawyer in Pedestrian Accident Cases
Dealing with the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming and distressing. With medical bills piling up, time off work, and the physical and emotional pain of an injury, it’s easy to feel defeated. Hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer to handle your claim eases that stress and improves your chances of receiving fair compensation.
The primary role of a lawyer in a pedestrian accident case is to fight for your rights and secure the highest possible compensation. Lawyers have the necessary training, talents, and resources to investigate a case, identify the liable parties, and build a robust claim on your behalf.
Among other services, a lawyer can gather crucial evidence to support a claim against an at-fault party, such as CCTV footage, eyewitness testimonies, and expert opinions.
Lawyers can also handle all the paperwork involved in asserting and pursuing legal claims, take over all dealings with insurance companies, and negotiate with the defense to explore the possibility of a settlement. And when necessary, a lawyer can take a pedestrian accident case to court, presenting evidence and legal arguments to a judge and jury.
And that’s not all. A lawyer can also serve as your trusted advisor and counselor as you confront the challenges of a severe and disruptive pedestrian accident injury.
Experienced lawyers have shepherded other clients through similar circumstances, and they can put that knowledge to work, guiding you in making decisions and surmounting hurdles in your path to recovery. For many pedestrian accident victims, the advisory role a lawyer plays provides as much value as the compensation the lawyer can secure.
Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer is Affordable
Some pedestrian accident victims hesitate to hire a lawyer due to concerns about the costs. But most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation to injured individuals and their loved ones. In a meeting with a knowledgeable legal professional, you can learn about your rights to compensation and how the lawyer can pursue them on your behalf.
Most pedestrian accident injury lawyers also work on a contingency fee basis. This means their fee is contingent on the outcome of your case. In simple terms, you only pay the lawyer anything if they get you results.
Protecting Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident
The steps you take after getting hurt in a pedestrian accident can affect your chances of securing compensation for your losses. Here are some steps to take to safeguard your rights.
Take Care of Yourself
Your right to receive compensation for pedestrian accident injuries may depend on the effort you put into healing and recovering. Insurance companies and defense lawyers are quick to blame accident victims who don’t take care of themselves. So be sure to go to your medical appointments, do your physical therapy, and follow your doctor’s instructions. Those simple steps can go a long way in protecting the value of your claim.
Don’t Agree to a Quick Settlement Without Contacting a Lawyer
In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, insurance companies may approach you with quick settlement offers. While these may seem tempting, they often fall short of what you deserve. Insurance companies are businesses first and foremost, and they pay out as little as possible. Before accepting any settlement offer, call a pedestrian accident lawyer. They can provide a realistic assessment of the compensation you should receive and handle negotiations on your behalf.
Hire a Lawyer As Soon as Possible
Time is of the essence after a pedestrian accident. Evidence can disappear quickly, and legal deadlines called statutes of limitations can bar you from pursuing compensation if you wait too long to take action. A skilled lawyer can start gathering valuable evidence immediately and ensure that all legal deadlines are met.
Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
Pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere, from busy city intersections to quiet country roads. But no matter where a pedestrian accident happens, it’s almost always the fault of someone other than the injured victim, who may suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Victims have the legal right to hold those at-fault parties accountable. A skilled lawyer can help.
If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, don’t wait to get the legal representation you need. Contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in your area today for a free case consultation.