Overview of Pedestrian Accidents
Many Americans are killed or injured as a pedestrian while walking down the road or crossing the street. Each year, on average, 75,000 pedestrians are killed or injured, often by a distracted drivers. Typically, these drivers are distracted by talking/texting on the phone, eating/drinking, messing with their radio, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most of the time these accidents happen on weekend nights, from 6 pm-2 am. This is due to more people being out late when there is poor visibility for the drivers.
Pedestrian accidents are dangerous because pedestrian has no way to protect themselves from the car. As speed increase the likelihood of death increases. There is a 10% of death at 23 mph, 25% chance at 32 mph, 75% chance at 50 mph, and 90% chance at 58 mph. Even at speeds which would be a fender bender for two cars, can lead to death for a pedestrian. If you take age into account, children and seniors are at the highest risk for death in an accident.
Urban cities have more pedestrian accidents than anywhere else; this is caused by the increase in foot traffic, increase in bicycle use, and distracted drivers and pedestrians from their cell phone use. California has one of the highest pedestrian death rates. In 2019 California ranked 9th for pedestrian deaths, they had 1.31 deaths per 100,000 people. California has had efforts to reduce those fatalities by creating warning signs for areas pedestrians tend to be and increasing the visibility of crosswalks and intersections that pedestrians commonly use.
Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving drunk or driving while under the influence of drugs causes many pedestrian accidents. Most of these accidents occur at crosswalks, intersections, or making left turns. Driving under the influence will slow down your reaction speed and will cause you to lose focus. This could cause a person to not see a pedestrian crossing the street and not have the reaction time to stop before hitting them.
- Impatient Drivers: In many states, pedestrians have the right of way when they are in a mark or unmarked crosswalk. The driver must exercise caution to ensure the safety of pedestrians. Some drivers do not look out for pedestrians or drive around them or wait for pedestrians to cross the crosswalk fully. This type of driving causes many pedestrian accidents.
- Distracted Drivers: Drivers talking on their cellphone, texting, fiddling with the radio, eating, or grooming puts pedestrians and other drivers at risk of an accident. But drivers being distracted isn’t the only problem; pedestrians also being distracted is a problem. A pedestrian distracted by their phone might cross the street into traffic and put themself and other drivers on the road at risk of an accident.
- Pedestrians Wearing Dark at Night: Pedestrian accidents increase during the night; this is caused by the lack of visibility pedestrians have at night. Wearing black will only decrease your visibility, making you less likely to be seen while crossing the street. If you decided to walk at night, be wary that drivers will have trouble seeing you. It also helps to wear brighter clothing or have a flashlight.
- Road Construction: Construction can cause routes for pedestrians to be changed and possibly moved to a more dangerous area for a temporary amount of time. This causes pedestrians to walk in areas where drivers are not used to seeing them.
How to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident?
- Do Not Assume a Driver Sees You: There is a multitude of reasons why a driver might not see you or isn’t paying attention to the road. Sometimes drivers aren’t looking out for pedestrians because they are paying attention to the other cars. Or maybe it’s nighttime and they do not see you. There are a plethora of reasons why a driver might not see you or isn’t paying attention; that’s why you have to assume that the driver doesn’t see you. A recognition of this will help you stay safe while crossing the streets.
- Use Sidewalks and Crosswalks: This should be obvious; you should not walk in the street or jaywalk. Using both sidewalks and crosswalks will help you avoid preventable accidents. If you are using a crosswalk, do not be impatient, wait for the signal for you to cross.
Who is at Fault?
To determine who is at fault in an accident, you need to prove that the other party was acting negligently (a failure to exercise care that is expected in a certain situation). A driver could be on their cellphone, driving recklessly, or not paying attention, these could show that the person was driving negligently, and they are the ones at fault. As a pedestrian, they could be at fault if they jaywalk, cross in a crosswalk when there is no signal to cross, or in some cases if you are walking in the street. If it is not clear at the scene of the accident who is at fault for the accident, you should call the police so they can make an official report. You should also call the police and seek medical attention if you are injured. Your next step would be to call an attorney that specializes in auto accidents. The attorney will help you through the process and help you determine who is at fault.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accidents
Similar to a car accident, the pedestrian will file an insurance claim, they might be able to recover compensation for injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, and any permanent damages that they sustained from the accident. If the accident was fatal the family can recover the damages from the accident. The compensation will cover past, present, or future medical bills that you will have for the recovery of the injuries. You can also receive compensation for any psychological problems that resulted from the accident.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
An accident is stressful and emotional, and you might not know what to do after an accident. If you get into a pedestrian accident this is what you should do:
- Seek Medical Help if You are Injured: Pedestrian accidents can be quite dangerous, at 23 mph, the pedestrian has a 1 and 10 chance of being killed, as the speed increases the chances of death increases. So, if you have been injured call an ambulance. Your health is the most important thing.
- Call the Police: Calling the police is not always necessary, but if you have been injured and cannot collect evidence from the scene of the accident, the police will get the driver’s information and will keep a record of what happened. Even if you are not injured, a police report can help determine who is at fault in the accident and can help you build a stronger case. It is highly recommended that you do call the police in every situation.
- Collect Evidence: If you were not injured and can stay at the scene of the accident, collect evidence yourself. Collecting evidence entails taking photos of the accident (photos of the car, street, any relevant road signs, etc.), and collecting the other party’s name, license, and license plate number.
- Get an Attorney: Find an attorney that specializes in auto accidents. You will also want to find an attorney that is familiar with the area and laws where the accident occurred. Auto accidents can be stressful, confusing, and difficult to deal with; proving who is liable for the accident can be difficult too. Insurance companies will also try to give you the least amount of compensation that they can for an accident. An attorney will help you figure out who is liable, deal with insurance companies, and help you pursue any avenue to give you the compensation that you deserve from the accident.
Contact The Morris Law Group
The Morris Law Group has been operating and successfully helping our clients with auto accidents in Southern California for the past 30+ years. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Southern California, please reach out to us by calling +1 (714) 975-8054. The Morris Law Group will help you through the process of recovery and get you the compensation you are entitled to.