Pedestrians and vehicle drivers both have certain rights and responsibilities when it comes to sharing the road. In theory, if everyone followed the rules, there would be no accidents between pedestrians and vehicles. Unfortunately, not everyone pays enough attention to the very real danger vehicles pose to people walking on the roads.
Vehicles have quite a size and weight advantage over a single person and vehicles are typically moving a lot faster than pedestrians. Drivers must maintain an awareness that pedestrians can be on a roadway and be prepared to yield the right-of-way when legally required to do so.
Lack of awareness and other risky driving behaviors can lead to collisions between vehicles and pedestrians. If you are a pedestrian when these accidents happen, it can be of great benefit to have a plan in mind for how to handle the situation. At John Foy & Associates, our pedestrian accident attorneys help injured pedestrians recover the compensation they are entitled to.
Pedestrian Accidents Are on the Rise in Recent Years
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported pedestrian deaths in the US rose to the highest single-year levels in 40 years in 2021. Fatal accidents between pedestrians and cars totaled 7,485 – an average of 20 deaths every day.
Years ago, children under the age of 13 were almost as likely to be hit by cars as adult pedestrians between the ages of 20 and 70. But in the last 25 years, the pedestrian fatality rate for children under age 13 has decreased by 90%, and the fatality rate for adults between 20 and 70 years has increased by 40%.
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Factors that Increase the Risk of a Pedestrian Accident
Vehicle drivers most often strike pedestrians because they don’t see them – at all or in time. There are a number of reasons a driver might not be aware of a pedestrian on the roadway.
Almost 75% of all pedestrian fatalities occur when the sun is down, says the National Safety Council (NSC). Artificially lighting dark areas doesn’t seem to offer much help. Pedestrian fatalities occur on both lit and non-lit roadways, with slightly more deaths occurring in the areas that are lit after dark.
Pedestrians need to be aware of the difficulties of being seen at night and should wear reflective or light clothing and carry a light to help them become more visible to motorists. Pedestrians should never assume a vehicle can see them in the dark and should always stay as far to the side of the roadway as possible.
Not surprisingly, vehicle speed has a positive correlation with the severity of the injuries to a pedestrian in a crash. According to the GHSA, the chances of a pedestrian being killed when being struck by a vehicle are about 10% if the vehicle is going 23 mph and 90% if the vehicle is going 58 mph.
A driver who is not paying full attention to the environment surrounding his vehicle may not perceive a pedestrian until it is too late to prevent an accident. A driver has a duty to stop in a controlled intersection when a pedestrian is walking across the lane of travel the driver is heading in.
Drivers who are talking on the phone or trying to get to the store while thinking about what to make for dinner may not be aware of the pedestrian in the crosswalk as they make a left turn.
Pedestrian accidents are about 5 times more likely to occur in urban areas where there is greater population density. But it is large arterial roads rather than freeways or intersections that are the most dangerous for people who are walking city streets, reports the NSC.
What a Pedestrian Should Do After Being Hit by a Vehicle
The most immediate response by a pedestrian after being hit by a vehicle may be dictated by the severity of the injuries received. If the injuries require a trip to the hospital, it may not be possible for a pedestrian to do much about gathering evidence from the accident scene.
Accidents that result in injuries are required to be reported to law enforcement as quickly as possible. This requirement helps to ensure there will be an investigation done at the scene and an official report of the accident.
When injuries do not require emergency treatment, a pedestrian may be able to record information about how the accident happened and use that information to assist with a personal injury claim. The following steps are recommended if possible after a pedestrian accident:
- Assess injuries and call 911 if a medical emergency exists
- Report the accident to the appropriate law enforcement agency
- Get the license and insurance information from the vehicle driver
- Take pictures of the damage and injuries
- Get the contact information for any witnesses
- Write out an account of everything that happened leading up to and following the accident
- Report the accident to your auto insurance carrier
- Consider consulting a pedestrian accident lawyer before speaking with the vehicle owner’s insurance company
After a Pedestrian Accident, You Need Georgia’s Strong Arm
Pedestrians have the right to remain safe while walking on the roadways of Georgia. Drivers who are distracted are not paying adequate attention to pedestrians, and that is when serious accidents can happen. Pedestrian injuries may be severe due to the lack of protection against the size, weight, and speed of vehicles.
At John Foy & Associates, we fight for the rights of injured pedestrians. We are proud to serve our clients with excellence and compassion. Every client we represent gets the time, attention, and respect of a legal team dedicated to getting them the best results.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, you want somebody on your side who understands what you are going through and will fiercely advocate on your behalf. Work with the law firm Georgia has trusted for more than 25 years. Contact the Strong Arm® for a free consultation.