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U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Reach 30 Year High

Pedestrian about to be hit by car

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projects 6,590 pedestrian deaths in the United States in 2019. This represents a 5% increase compared to 2018 and the highest number on record since 1988.

Key Pedestrian Death Statistics

  • Pedestrians represent 17% of all traffic-related deaths in 2019, compared to 12% in 2009
  • Between 2009-2018, pedestrian deaths have increased by 53%
  • Between 2009-2018, there has been a 53% increase in pedestrians killed by passenger cars, compared to an 81% increase in pedestrians killed by SUVs
  • GHSA projects a pedestrian fatality rate of 2.0 per 100,000 of population, the highest rate since 1997

Per GHSA, most pedestrian fatalities occur on local roads, far from intersections. Approximately 76% occur at night, compared to 20% during daylight and 4% during dusk. In the past decade, pedestrian deaths at night increased by 67% compared to daytime deaths, which only increased by 16%.

Why Are Pedestrian Deaths Increasing?

The trend of increasing pedestrian fatalities is alarming. Government officials seek as much data as possible to try to explain the trend. According to GHSA, potential causal links include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Smartphone-related distractions (the number of smartphones in use has increased by 400% from 2009-2018)
  • Poor lighting
  • Increase in larger cars and SUVs – per GHSA, pedestrians are twice as likely to die if struck by an SUV as those hit by a smaller car
  • Drug and alcohol intoxication

Hit by a Car While Walking?

If you or a loved one was injured after being struck by a car, you cannot recover compensation for your damages unless you can prove the driver’s fault. Fault can include negligence, which is the failure to act reasonably under the circumstances. You must show the driver owed a legal duty to you to drive safely, then breached that duty through a negligent act or omission such as speeding, running a stop sign, making an improper turn, or failing to maintain a safe lookout. If the driver was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the time of the crash, his or her conduct could rise to the level of recklessness, often defined as the conscious disregard of a risk.

In a pedestrian crash case involving serious injuries, the victim may be disoriented at the scene or unable to provide a clear statement to the responding police officer. The officer could write up the police report as word vs. word, and many times, the driver will blame the person walking. You should discuss your case with a lawyer experienced in pedestrian crashes before speaking with any insurance company, including your own. A trusted lawyer can help you prove your case by taking the following steps:

  • Obtaining all accident reports
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Preserving evidence
  • Searching for video footage
  • Consulting with experts
  • Confirming all parties who may bear responsibility
  • Identify applicable insurance policies and coverages

Once liability is established, the focus of the case can shift to your damages. In the law, damages are the measure of compensation to which a plaintiff is entitled. Injured pedestrians can recover for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, for instance. For cases involving traumatic injuries or wrongful death, expert witnesses may need to be retained to document future damages. For example, economists and financial analysts can project future loss of income, future pain and suffering, and the cost of future medical care. Regardless of the severity of injury, our car and truck accident attorneys recognize how a wreck can affect the victim’s life, and we work hard to conduct a thorough investigation and help all clients recover all to which they are entitled by law.

Injured in an Accident? Get Legal Help Today

The personal injury attorneys of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz have helped thousands of motor vehicle accident victims over the years. We understand the importance of fully documenting all relevant evidence in an effort to help our client meet the applicable legal burden of proof. Pedestrian accident cases come with unique challenges, and we seek to utilize our experience, knowledge, and resources to properly handle and develop the case from the beginning. To speak with a personal injury attorney today about your specific situation, call 800-529-4004 or complete this online form. Our firm has offices in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri, and we are available to speak with you today.