People take to the sidewalks every day for a variety of reasons. Some individuals prefer to get to work on foot for some fresh air. Others walk or jog around town to stay in shape. Regardless of what brought them out, there are a variety of risks associated with being a pedestrian without protection from passing vehicles. Just under 6,000 pedestrians were killed in collisions in the year 2017 alone. By understanding the common roots of these collisions, we can help prevent them and hopefully steer clear of any life altering incidents.
7 Common Causes of Pedestrian Car Accidents
Distracted driving is an issue across the United States, and Maryland is no exception. The fact of the matter is that despite laws and best practices, there will always be drivers who choose to check their smartphones, eat, drink, or engage in other forms of distracted driving. Sadly, it only takes a brief moment of distraction for the situation outside of the vehicle to change, and this can easily lead to unexpected collisions.
Crosswalk lights are a useful tool for gauging when to cross the street, but they should not be completely trusted by pedestrians. While a pedestrian may have the right of way, that does not guarantee that drivers will see them. In the midst of heavy traffic, it’s possible to be entirely undetected by drivers looking for a reasonable gap to make their left turns.
Inclement weather makes transportation more difficult and dangerous for everyone. Naturally, foggy, rainy, or wintery conditions make it very hard to detect upcoming obstacles. Once they are detected, a slick road surface extends braking distances well beyond the usual capacity of modern vehicles.
Rolling through a stop sign or intersection can save a few seconds at best, and result in a major incident at worst. Respecting the rules of the road and making a conscious effort to be a patient driver could genuinely save a life.
There are a few common situations that can result in a backup incident that harms a pedestrian. Most often, backup incidents occur in crowded parking lots when pedestrians go unnoticed, but this is something that can even happen as you back out of your driveway for your daily commute.
Visibility is obviously greatly reduced once the sun sets, which makes it difficult to promptly locate pedestrians. It becomes even more difficult to see pedestrians who are dressed in all dark clothing. Keep this in mind both from the perspective of a driver and pedestrian if you are traveling after dark. Not all intersections are well lit, so a little extra caution can truly go a long way.
Road construction commonly leads to traffic detours for pedestrians and cars alike. This introduces the potential for unexpected encounters for everyone accessing the road.
Who is at the Greatest Risk for Pedestrian Accidents?
Individuals Under the Influence of Alcohol
Surely it does not come as a surprise that driving under the influence of alcohol increases the odds of a pedestrian involved accident occurring. It may come as more of a surprise that many of these crashes occur when pedestrians are impaired by alcohol. The CDC reports that one third of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter.
Older Adults and Children
While they are not significantly more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash, both older adults and children are more likely to sustain serious injuries after involvement in a pedestrian crash. Pedestrians 65 years or older accounted for 1 out of every 5 pedestrian deaths and an estimated 1 out of every 10 pedestrian injuries in 2017. Just under one-fifth (19%) of children 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
What Should You Do After Being Involved in a Pedestrian Crash?
If you are involved in a pedestrian crash in the state of Maryland, you may be able to secure deserved compensation from the driver involved. Maryland is not a no-fault state, meaning an at-fault party will be determined in every auto crash. In most pedestrian crashes, the driver is deemed the at-fault party, and their liability insurance steps in to cover medical bills, repair expenses, and lost wages. To maximize your chances of receiving full compensation, be sure to follow these steps as soon as possible:
- Call 911 to report the accident and receive emergency assistance.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver.
- Photograph your injuries and the scene of the accident, if possible.
- Collect contact information of any nearby witnesses of the accident, if possible.
- Seek professional medical assistance and save all documentation from your visits.
- Reach out to a law firm with an established reputation to provide expert legal counsel.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident and in Need of Legal Counsel? Trust the Attorneys at Hoffman, Comfort, Offutt, Scott & Halstad
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, we can help you secure the compensation and benefits you may be entitled to. Call (410) 848-4444 or contact Hoffman, Comfort, Offutt, Scott & Halstad, LLP online to schedule an appointment with our team of attorneys.