Walking, running, and jogging are popular forms of exercise. Many people walk to save money on transportation costs. Unfortunately, many pedestrians are injured in traffic-related accidents each year in the United States.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
A pedestrian was injured every 7.5 minutes, and a pedestrian was killed every 1.6 hours during 2015 in traffic-related accidents.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its 2015 Traffic Safety Facts for Pedestrians in February 2017. According to the information in the publication, 5,376 pedestrians died in traffic-related accidents during 2015. This total represents a 9.5 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities from the previous year. In addition, it is estimated that 70,000 individuals were injured in pedestrian accidents.
You can read the full report on pedestrian accidents on the NHTSA’s website.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians are especially vulnerable in a traffic accident because they have no protection from the impact of the vehicle. In the best case scenario, a vehicle will slightly bump into a pedestrian before coming to a complete stop. However, in most cases, the person is thrown, run over, and/or dragged by the vehicle.
Therefore, the pedestrian suffers injuries from the aftermath of the crash in addition to the initial injuries from the impact of the collision. Common injuries a person can sustain when he or she is hit by a motor vehicle include:
- Head and brain injuries, including a coma, concussions, closed head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Back and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Bruises, cuts, and scars
- Fractures and broken bones
- Permanent disfigurement
- Damage to internal organs
The damages from a traffic-related pedestrian injury often include medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and reconstructive surgery. However, victims also suffer emotional and physical damages in addition to the financial losses. If you have been injured as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.
Who is Responsible for a Pedestrian Accident?
In most cases, a distracted, reckless, or negligent driver caused the traffic accident. Drivers and pedestrians have a duty of care to avoid accidents. However, even the safest pedestrian can be injured by a negligent driver. Sadly, flashing lights, warning signs, and speed bumps are not enough to cause some drivers to proceed with caution around known pedestrian crosswalks.
It is important to hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to protect you right to recover compensation. Some insurance companies for drivers try to blame the victim for the accident. In some states, compensation can be reduced if the insurance company is successful in convincing a jury that you were partially at fault for your injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fight for your right to full compensation.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Because there are so many drivers who are guilty of driving while distracted, impaired by alcohol, drowsy, speeding, or disobeying traffic laws, pedestrians must take steps to protect themselves and reduce their risk of being injured in a traffic accident.
Pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death for children between the ages of five and nineteen years, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Children are especially at risk because they do not understand the concept of speed and stopping.
Safe Kids Worldwide, the Centers for Disease Control and the NHTSA all have tips and resources for parents to teach safe pedestrian habits. Some tips that can help keep you and your child safe as you navigate the streets as a pedestrian include:
- Don’t walk while distracted! Motorists should not drive distracted, and you should not walk distracted. You should always remain alert and ready to move to safety.
- Don’t wear headphones or listen to electronic devices while walking. It is a distraction, and it can prevent you from hearing a vehicle or a warning.
- Dress is bright colors and use flashlights or other reflective items to make yourself more visible to drivers.
- Avoid walking at dawn, dusk, or night. If you do walk during these times, walk in groups, carry a flashlight, and watch for vehicles.
- Always cross at an intersection or crosswalk whenever possible.
Being a good example for your children is one of the best ways to teach safe pedestrian habits. If you or your child is injured, contact our attorney for a free consultation.