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How to Walk in the Right Path: Safety Tips for Pedestrian accidents

Every year, according to the World Health Organization, the lives of approximately 1.35 million people are cut short as a result of road traffic accidents. The same report also indicates that between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability as a result of their injury. Sadly, more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. The number of pedestrians hit and killed on U.S. roads has surged to the highest level in almost three decades. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Administration, in 2016 alone, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. This is about an average of one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.5 hours. Additionally, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. The sad reality is that Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash. A pedestrian in this sense is a person on foot, walking, running, hiking or sitting when a car accident occurs.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are an everyday occurrence. Other than simply falling off a walkway, being hit by vehicles either at marked or unmarked crosswalk is quite common too. These are some of the causes of these accidents:

  • Driver action or inaction: Distracted drivers are quite a menace. Especially due to the number of drivers now accustomed to using their cellphones while driving. Also, disobeying traffic signals, failing to use their lights, aggressive driving, or driving under influence are some of the many ways a driver can cause havoc.
  • Drivers losing control of their vehicles: A driver may lose control of the vehicle in many number of ways. Some of this may be due to mechanical problems or as a result of poor weather conditions such as fog or rain.
  • Pedestrians Causing Accidents: According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 1,100 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries suffered while walking and using mobile devices. The use of cell phones, headsets and hands-frees can be identified as one the reasons for this. Many of these pedestrians were hit because they ignored the “walk” signal at an intersection or failed to use marked crosswalks. Others caused accidents by darting in front of a moving vehicle or jumping right into traffic.

The Shared Duty of Care for the Driver and the Pedestrian

The law is that drivers of vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing roadways within any marked crosswalks. The same would apply even to unmarked crosswalks at intersections. However, drivers and pedestrians share equal responsibility to keep themselves and others safe. Thus, pedestrians also owe a duty of care for their own safety. Walking or moving into the path of a vehicle will be taken to be negligence on the part of the pedestrian.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers

It is better to be safe than sorry. Being safe is not however the responsibility of the driver only. More often than not, pedestrians also share in the blame for the occurrence of accidents. Here a few tips that can help avert future accidents:

For Pedestrians

As a pedestrian, you have to ensure that you exercise reasonable care and caution for your own safety. Should an accident occur, it may be found that you failed to exercise reason care and contributed to your own injuries if you are not careful. 

  • Be Visible: According to the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 pm and 11:59 pm. Being visible to drivers, especially in low-light conditions or bad weather, is a sure way of avoiding incidents.
  • Walk in Safe Places: One of the ways to do this is by walking while facing the traffic, not turning your back to it. Also, stay on sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Avoid Distractions: Your eyes and ears are the best tools for keeping you safe. Being distracted, for instance by the use of phones or earpieces will limit your consciousness of your surroundings.
  • Follow the Rules of Traffic: There’s perhaps no better tip than knowing and following traffic rules, signs and signals. This includes avoiding walking along highways or other roadways that may be unsafe.
  • Don’t Drink and Walk: Surprisingly, about half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. 34 percent was on the part of the pedestrian.

Safety Tips for Drivers

Operating a vehicle imposes on you a heightened responsibility for other people on the road. Here are a few highway tips you may find helpful:

  • Stay on the Lookout for Pedestrians: Always be on the watch for pedestrians, especially in bad weather conditions and poorly lit areas.
  • Follow Traffic Rules: Follow posted speed limits at all times, especially in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • Pay Attention to Crosswalks: Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. When approaching a crosswalk, reduce your speed and be prepared to stop.
  • Do Not Drive Under the Influence: Alcohol and drugs impair your reaction time, reflexes, decision-making skills and overall cognitive functions. Getting behind the wheel while impaired puts everyone in danger.

Is There Any Compensation For Victims of Pedestrian Accidents?

While pedestrian accidents are most commonly caused by vehicles, there are still non-vehicular pedestrian accidents. Poor maintenance of a road, sidewalk, parking lot, or other construction can equally be a cause.The person/ entity that is responsible for the injury suffered by the pedestrian can be held liable. Such liable person may be the driver of the vehicle or the party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, road, or parking lot. A pedestrian may recover damages for injuries suffered if it can be proved that the negligence of another caused or contributed to the injury suffered.

To prove this, it must be established that the defendant:

  • Owed a legal duty to the plaintiff;
  • Failed to fulfill  that legal duty;
  • Caused the accident or injury; and as a result
  • Harmed or injured the plaintiff.

What You Should Do If You’re a Victim of a Pedestrian Accident

If you are a victim of a vehicle-pedestrian accident or if you witness a pedestrian accident injury, there are a few key things you should do:

  • Seek the necessary medical attention
  • File a report to the Police
  • Obtain relevant contact information, insurance and license plate numbers
  • Gather witnesses
  • Take photographic evidence
  • Avoid speaking with the insurance representative of the other party
  • Contact a personal injury attorney

Contact a qualified personal injury lawyer

Anyone involved in an accident should retain an attorney as soon as possible. This is because personal injury claims are subject to a strict statute of limitations and the clock is ticking on the time you have to bring a legal claim. Do not settle for just any lawyer. Ensure that you have a competent, qualified personal injury lawyer on your side. At Oshan and Associates, our lawyers are professional and highly skilled at personal injury law. You can contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation. You don’t have to pay a dime unless you win. Call us at 206-355-3880 or fill out our online contact form as soon as possible to get the best legal representation.