Walking can be both an excellent form of exercise and a mode of transportation, especially in urban areas. While some people may take walks for the benefit of being outside or to walk their dogs, others walk simply to get to work. Unfortunately, there are dangers associated with being a pedestrian. In some cases, those dangers can result in serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been struck by a vehicle on foot, our Jackson pedestrian accident lawyers are here for you.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian is any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting, or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash. The number of pedestrian fatalities climbs every year. In 2016, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths, which accounted for 16 percent of the traffic crash fatalities for the year. Let’s break down the circumstances surrounding these accidents:
- 76 percent occurred in urban areas.
- 18 percent happened at an intersection.
- 75 percent of the accidents happened in the dark.
- Regardless of the time of year, the majority of collisions occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight.
- More than two-thirds of the fatalities were male.
- The highest overall fatality rates by age group were 50 to 54 and 75 to 79.
- Alcohol was involved in 33 percent of the fatal crashes.
- Mississippi saw 58 pedestrian deaths out of the 690 traffic fatalities.
While those numbers show just how frequently pedestrian crashes happen, they don’t tell us why they happen. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of pedestrian accidents.
Why Pedestrian Accidents Happen
Pedestrian accidents, depending on the circumstances, may be the fault of the driver or the walker. Below are the most common causes associated with collisions between a person and vehicle.
- Improper Lane Use. Many accidents occur on city streets. This is often associated with pedestrians walking into the middle of roads or being pushed off sidewalks by cyclists. Vehicles also need to be aware of how much space they have, especially while driving on tight, urban streets.
- Unmarked Crosswalks. As we mentioned above, a number of pedestrian/vehicle collisions occur at intersections. This often happens when crosswalks do not have signals or clearly marked pedestrian pathways. Crosswalk crashes are also common in parking lots when drivers are more focused on parking than their surroundings.
- Left-Hand Turns. While drivers are busy negotiating with busy intersections to find space to make a left turn, they may neglect to see an oncoming pedestrian.
- Cellphone Use. Using electronics has an effect on drivers and pedestrians. A driver who is looking at their phone is less likely to see a person trying to cross the street. A walker who is looking down at their phone might not see oncoming traffic.
- Dark Clothes. The majority of accidents occur at night. After the sun goes down, dark colored clothes are nearly impossible to spot – especially in areas where street lighting is poor.
- Alcohol. Substance abuse plays a significant role in pedestrian accidents. Drunk drivers are unable to focus on the road as clearly as they should, which means they’re less likely to spot a walking person.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When a person is struck by a vehicle, they are likely to sustain a wide range of injuries. The driver’s speed, type of vehicle, as well as the pedestrian’s age and health determine how severe the physical damage will be. The most common injuries include:
- Head Trauma. A traumatic brain injury can be minor, but in the event of a collision with a vehicle, a person is likely to suffer more trauma.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. Spinal cord injuries can have life-altering consequences. Even the smallest amount of damage can be devastating.
- Bone Fractures. Broken bones are common after a pedestrian accident because of the external force from the vehicle.
- Internal Injuries. These injuries, like internal bleeding, rib fractures, or organ damage, can significantly impact a person’s life.
- Pelvic Injuries. Based on an adult person’s average height compared to a car, pelvic injuries are common because of the location of the hood.
- Lacerations. If a person is thrown into the air after a car hits them, they are likely to sustain a number of lacerations that vary greatly in severity.
While many of the injuries above can heal, there are some catastrophic pedestrian wrecks that end in death. If you’ve wrongfully lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s actions, we can help.
Determining Liability With a Jackson Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
In order to establish negligence after an accident, the victim must prove the driver owed a legal duty to the pedestrian and the duty was breached, which resulted in the injury. Depending on the case, the pedestrian’s actions can cause them to be found partially at fault – like if they were jaywalking or intoxicated. In most cases, however, the right attorney can investigate your claim and help you prove the driver acted negligently.
At Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, we understand how devastating a car accident can be. If you find yourself to be a victim and are worried about recovery and financial burdens, we can provide you with the legal representation you deserve.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be eligible for compensation that could aid with the financial, physical, and emotional burdens associated with what you’ve been through. For more information on your legal rights and options, contact our office today.