Yes, the internet is awash in headlines that intentionally are provocative. The objective is to try and nab a potential reader’s attention. Once a person dives into an article, oftentimes the header ends up having “not much” to do with the actual article or blog post. At first blush, you might think a headline announcing that walking can be fatal to your health falls into that category. In fact, it does not. Whilst there are important health benefits to maintaining a regular fitness regimen, the stark reality is that each and every day are killed every day when walking. The rate of pedestrian accident deaths in the United States is alarming.
A Look at the Numbers: Prevalence of Pedestrian Accidents in the United States
Examining numbers associated with pedestrian accidents may seem like a cold exercise. The reality is that each pedestrian killed by a negligent driver represents a person with friends and family as well as hopes and dreams. Noting the stark reality of pedestrian accident deaths, considering the sheer number of pedestrian deaths in the United States is an important undertaking. If you walk, if your loved ones walk, you need to understand the risks faced as a pedestrian.
Just the Facts: Pedestrian Fatalities Across the Country
In 2019, the New York Times reported that pedestrian accidents in the United States were headed to a 30-year high. Over 6,200 pedestrians were killed across the country in 2018, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Only a decade earlier, the pedestrian fatality rate was just over 4,100.
Digging deeper into the facts, we discover that a pedestrian in the U.S.A. dies about every hour and a half. Pedestrian deaths account for over 15 percent of traffic deaths in the United States each year.
Of the pedestrians killed each year, about 20 percent are victims of hit and run accidents. In 15 percent of fatal pedestrian accident in the country, a car driver legally is intoxicated. A lopsided majority of pedestrian fatalities are men (for reasons that haven’t been specifically isolated).
Causes of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
While there certainly are an array of different underlying causes of fatal pedestrian accidents, there are five underlying reasons that are most relevant, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These are:
- Alcohol use
- Unsafe infrastructure
- Increased use of SUVs
- Use of smartphones when motoring
Smartphone use while motoring has drawn particular attention when it comes to pedestrian deaths. Between 2009 and 2017, smartphone use in the United States increased five-fold. A considerable number of people are chained to their mobile devices and never put them down. They use them around the clock – including in bed … and when driving.
A great deal of discussion and media attention has focused on decaying infrastructure in the United States, particularly in regard to roadways. This decay includes such roadway-related elements like crosswalks and sidewalks. As these roadway elements that pedestrians heavily rely upon become in even further disrepair, walkers are at greater risk of injury and even death.
Legal Rights Following a Fatal Pedestrian Accident
If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident, you need to understand your essential legal rights. In all 50 states, certain family members have the legal ability to pursue what is known as a wrongful death claim or wrongful death lawsuit when another family is killed in a pedestrian accident. The specific family members who can pursue such a claim or lawsuit varies from one state to another. With that said, family members legally able to bring a pedestrian accident wrongful death case include spouses, children, and parents. Depending on the circumstances, other family members or the state of a deceased person may be able to pursue such a case.
Pedestrian accident wrongful death cases are complex and difficult to pursue. If you do find yourself facing such a claim or lawsuit, you are wise to seek the professional advice and assistance of a pedestrian accident wrongful death lawyer, like a member of the legal team at The Doan Law Firm. An initial consultation can be scheduled by calling (800) 349-0000, any time of the day or night and 365 days a year.
A nationwide law practice, with offices from coast to coast, The Doan Law Firm makes a solid attorney fee promise. No attorney fee is ever charged unless the firm wins for you.