The Danger of Pedestrian Injuries or Deaths in Auto Accidents
Today’s distracted society makes ensuring pedestrian safety, especially in cities with high traffic congestion, a more and more difficult task each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4,700 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents on U.S. roads in 2013. This averages out to one auto accident-related pedestrian death every two hours. Moreover, emergency departments treated more than 150,000 pedestrians for non-fatal auto accident-related injuries in that same year. Studies show that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passengers in vehicles to be killed in a car crash.
Different From Passenger Injuries
Colliding with another vehicle when driving 10 miles an hour will likely result in a small fender bender, if any damage at all. On the contrary, a pedestrian hit at this speed can be seriously injured. Increase the driving speed to just 30 miles per hour and striking a pedestrian can end in serious injury or even death. In today’s distracted society, several factors contribute to auto accident injuries including driver distraction, road rage, fatigue, unsafe speed and failure to yield.
Many pedestrians are covered under their own policies or that of their employer for health, workers’ compensation, disability or life insurance. They may also, however, have coverage under one or multiple auto insurance policies. These may include:
- Auto liability insurance – is is not uncommon for an injured pedestrian to be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance (or the car owner);
- No- fault coverage – commonly referred to as personal injury protection (PIP), states that require no-fault coverage mandate insurance companies pay for the medical expenses as well as lost lost wages of their own policyholders, no matter who was found to be at fault.
Who is More at Risk?
Drivers and pedestrians alike need to be aware of one another. Learning to share the road in a safe manner will help reduce the risk of injuries to both pedestrians and passengers of vehicles.
According to the CDC, older adults – particularly those age 65 and above – account for as much as 19 percent of all pedestrian deaths and 10 percent of pedestrian injuries in 2013. Children are also more at risk than the general population as pedestrians. One in every five children under the age of 14 killed in an auto accident in 2013 was a pedestrian.
While pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings, in the end drivers should bear the burden of driving more cautiously. Under state law, however, both the driver and the pedestrian may be found to be negligent, as both owe a reasonable standard of care to the other. Depending on governing state law, damages can be reduced if the victim’s negligence contributed to his damages; sometimes compensation can be barred completely.
Don’t face your injuries alone. Instead, reach out to a skilled attorney at Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow, Ltd. for professional assistance.