The number of pedestrian related accidents over the last ten years has sky rocketed and has become a great cause of concern. According to the NHTSA, there has been a slow, but steady increase in pedestrian related fatalities, see the chart below.
As you can see, though the number of fatalities due to a car accident has gone down, the number of fatalities of pedestrians has gone up over the years. Though the study only goes to 2013, the percentage of fatalities of pedestrians has gone up from 11% to 14% and has remained steady at 14% for three years. *The numbers for 2014 through 2016 have not yet been reported.
There are many situations in which a motorist would accidentally hit a pedestrian – wet roads due to rain, distractions while driving, running a stoplight or stop sign, pedestrians jaywalking through a busy intersection, or simply the pedestrian walked off the curb at the same moment you were making a turn, etc. – hitting a pedestrian at 30mph can and does result in more pedestrian injuries and fatalities — even more interesting news is that a driver who is also only going 10mph can severely disable a pedestrian as well. The human body was not made to sustain the amount of pressure that can be inflicted when it is hit by a motor vehicle, that on average can weigh 4000-6000 pounds (depending on make and model of the car – these are mere estimates).
As a driver, it is our responsibility to know what to do, should we ever find ourselves in a pedestrian related accident – below are some tips on what to do:
- Most drivers are usually really upset after a pedestrian related accident (any accident, really), it is important to try to remain calm
- Safety Comes First!
- It is important that any of the injured parties are moved to a place of safety before administering any emergency care such as CPR – this is so you don’t cause any other unnecessary accidents and so that no one else sustains injuries.
- Contact the Police, any medical care providers, and auto insurance providers (of both/all parties).
- Avoid talking to the pedestrian as wells as any friends or family members of the pedestrian – have your auto insurance company communicate with the pedestrian’s attorney or the pedestrian themselves
- Who is at Fault?
- This is a common question. Both parties can be the negligent party. If the pedestrian is crossing the street illegally, where there isn’t a cross walk and the driver is not going the speed limit, they both can be at fault and it will be up to the insurance companies to determine how the case will be handled. This is all dependent on the state in which the accident occurred.
- The Police will take statements from everyone – pedestrians, drivers, any eye witnesses – and their final report will indicate who is at fault.
- Seek a Lawyers advice – this is for both the pedestrian and the driver. The pedestrian may need legal counsel as to which auto insurer they should speak with first – theirs or the drivers – and from which insurer they may be able to receive additional coverage for any injuries sustained from the accident. This is important for the driver as well, in case the pedestrian they hit decides to take legal action. It is always wise to know your options and your rights.
As difficult as it is to imagine, pedestrian related accidents do happen. And they not only effect the pedestrian but they also effect the driver as well. With school in full swing and the weather changing from day-to-day, just remember to be safe on the road and be aware of the people and cars around you.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian related car accident or have lost a loved one due to a pedestrian related accident, please contact us to discuss your case. Your first consultation is free!