Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Learn What do to In the Event of a Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian Accident Overview
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 5,000 pedestrians die annually in pedestrian accidents involving automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, buses or trains. Additionally, slightly more than 75,000 pedestrians suffer permanently disabling injuries as a result of pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions. Frequently pedestrian accidents occur at night when visibility is low and in areas where motorists are not expecting pedestrians, such as freeways. Most pedestrian accidents take place on weekends. Children and young adults under the age of 16 are the most likely to be hit by a car, while the elderly are most likely to be fatally struck at an intersection. Males account for 75% of all fatal pedestrian accidents.

How Pedestrian Accidents Occur
Most pedestrian accidents are due to driver negligence, although a significant number are also due to pedestrian negligence or a combination of the two. Other pedestrian accidents may be due to inadequate lighting decreasing driver/pedestrian visibility or improper signage failing to warn of dangers such as oncoming trains.

23pedestrianaccidentsDrivers are expected to exercise what is called a ‘duty of care’ of reasonable caution in all driving circumstances. When a driver fails to exercise this duty of care, they can be considered negligent. Driver negligence may include distracted or inattentive driving, speeding, failure to yield to pedestrian right-of-way at crosswalks, stop signs and red lights, failure to signal when turning, driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or fatigue, driving without headlights at night, and failing to exercise reasonable and appropriate caution under inclement weather conditions.

Pedestrians are also expected to exercise reasonable care when walking on sidewalks and roads. The level of care exercised by a pedestrian must be in proportion to the danger potential in any situation and the anticipated consequences of those dangers. Some examples of pedestrian negligence are the failure to use marked crosswalks, ignoring the “walk” and “don’t walk” lights at intersections, dashing out in front of vehicles in areas not designated for pedestrian crossing, or walking within traffic instead of on designated sidewalks or walkways.

In some cases both the driver and pedestrian involved in a pedestrian accident were exercising reasonable care, but the conditions of the road, the lighting and signs on the road (or lack thereof) and other environmental factors create conditions in which an accident is unavoidable. In these cases the fault may lie with the county or state responsible for upkeep of the roads, which can be a very difficult claim or lawsuit to resolve.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

  • In the United States, 5,000 pedestrians are fatally injured each year. An additional 64,000 pedestrians are injured in some way in accidents involving motor vehicles.
  • Approximately one pedestrian is killed in traffic per hour every day in the United States.
  • Since 1975 more than 190,000 pedestrians have died as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
  • Every 8 minutes a pedestrian is injured in traffic every day.
  • Pedestrian accidents and deaths are more common in urban areas.
  • Pedestrian accidents in rural areas are more commonly fatal due to the higher speeds motor vehicles travel on rural roads.
  • Slightly more than 85% of all non-fatal pedestrian accidents occur in cities.
  • Slightly more than 14% of non-fatal pedestrian accidents occur in rural settings.
  • More than 65% of pedestrian accidents do not occur in intersections, where drivers are commonly more alert for pedestrians.
  • On average, 70% of fatal pedestrian accidents occur on freeways, interstates or major roads where drivers are not expecting pedestrians and are traveling at high speeds.
  • Males are slightly more likely to die or be injured as result of a pedestrian accident than females.
  • Approximately 50% of pedestrian accident deaths occur after 6:00 PM.
  • Pedestrians have a 5% fatality rate in pedestrian accidents when the motor vehicle is traveling at 20 mph, a 45% fatality rate when the motor vehicle involved is traveling at 30 mph, and an 85% fatality rate when the motor vehicle was traveling at 40 mph or faster.
  • 40% of pedestrian injuries resulted from direct contact with a motor vehicle, 32% of injuries resulted from an impact to with the ground and 26% of pedestrian injuries were a result of collision with other roadside objects.

Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Most pedestrians in pedestrian accidents are struck by the front of a motor vehicle. The injuries the pedestrians sustain from impact are primarily dependent on the point of contact as determined by the height and shape of the vehicle, and the speed at which the vehicle was traveling at the time of the accident. Shorter individuals, such as children, are most commonly struck on the thighs and torso, while adults usually sustain initial impact injuries on the knees and thighs.

However, once a pedestrian is struck by a moving vehicle he or she stands a higher chance of being thrown into traffic from the force of the impact. When this occurs, the pedestrian often lands on their back, side or front and may be further injured by other vehicles driving over his or her body. For this reason, pedestrian injuries are often very serious and can lead to brain damage, paralysis, broken or fractured bones, internal organ damage, coma and death.

Pedestrian Injury & Accident Articles