When you choose to travel as a pedestrian—whether you do so out of necessity, for health reasons, to better the environment, or just for the sheer pleasure of being outdoors—you have a certain expectation of safety. But a negligent automobile driver can shatter that expectation, causing terrible injuries and destroying the lives of victims in the blink of an eye.
Here are the facts that you need to know about pedestrian accidents, including statistics, who may be liable after an accident, and how to get legal help today.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that there were 5,376 pedestrians killed in accidents with motor vehicles in 2015. That’s one pedestrian death every 1.6 hours, every single day of the year. Also, about 70,000 pedestrians were injured that year, or about one person every seven and a half minutes. And the problem isn’t getting better—it’s getting worse. NHTSA statistics show that 2015 saw a 9.5 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities compared to the previous year.
How Pedestrian Accidents Happen and Who Is Liable
Alcohol is a significant factor in pedestrian accidents, with as many as 48 percent of fatal crashes involving either a driver or a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Other risky or negligent behaviors that drivers may engage in that lead to accidents include the following behaviors:
- Distracted driving. This happens when drivers take their eyes or attention from the road for any reason, including adjusting the radio, talking, eating, or texting. Distracted driving leads to the deaths of 443 pedestrians and 79 bicyclists in 2015, as well as over 2,900 drivers and passengers.
- Failure to yield. When a car fails to stop for someone using a crosswalk, a serious accident or death can occur. As many as 18 percent of car-pedestrian accidents happen in intersections.
- Excessive speed. Speeding can lead to an inability to spot a pedestrian or stop in time. Speed is a leading factor in many automobile accidents.
- Driveway accidents. Some drivers may not appropriately use rear and side-view mirrors, or fail do a manual head-check, before backing out of a driveway. Children are at particular risk of being struck, since their heads may be lower than the mirrors.
Other factors that may be involved car-pedestrian accidents can include disobeying traffic signals or driving in a manner that’s unsafe given the weather, traffic conditions, or road condition.
Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents
When a pedestrian is struck by a car, the reason is not necessarily negligence on the part of the driver. In order to show negligence for a personal injury lawsuit, the driver must have failed in his or her duty as a motor vehicle operator to take reasonable care and obey all traffic laws in such a way as to cause harm to someone else.
In some accident situations, the driver may be found to be wholly liable. In other situations, the pedestrian may share some liability for the accident with the driver. When liability is shared during a personal injury suit, comparative negligence rules comes into play.
Comparative negligence law in Texas says that even if a victim shares partial fault for the accident, as long as he or she is determined to be 50 percent or less at fault, the victim is legally able to recover damages from the other person or parties involved in the accident. The amount of damages awarded will be decreased by his or her percentage of liability, but that still goes a long way to helping a victim pay for medical bills, rehabilitation, long-term care, and other costs after a tragic accident.
Get Legal Help Today
Have you or someone you love been struck by a car in a pedestrian accident? If so, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you. Our experienced legal professionals are ready to fight for your legal right to compensation from the negligent, careless, or reckless driver who caused your injuries. Call us by phone, use the contact form, or click the live chat box on this page to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal situation today.