Crossing the street can be dangerous, even if you look both ways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 4,881 pedestrians died in 2005 -- of which 20 percent were pedestrians improperly crossing the street. Many thousands more were seriously injured.
Determining who is negligent in pedestrian cases can be tricky. Many factors must be taken into account: Were you paying attention to traffic when you crossed? Va. Code § 46.2-924. Were you jaywalking or crossing in a designated crosswalk? Va. Code § 46.2-924. Did the car run a red light? If possible, you should try to get witnesses who can verify your account of the accident.
In general, pedestrians have the right of way, unless they cross the street in non-designated areas or against crossing signals. Va. Code § 46.2-924. If a child is the one who ran out into the street, and if there is a school or playground nearby, the driver may have been aware that children were in the area. This can be used to show the driver wasn't taking proper precautions to avoid an accident. In addition, it may be possible to show that the child wasn't properly supervised or that adequate crossing assistance was not provided.
A third party can also be responsible in pedestrian accidents. If a crossing signal or traffic light malfunctioned, it may be possible to hold the municipality responsible for failing to adequately maintain or repair the light. Taylor v. Charlottesville, 240 Va. 367, 397 S.E.2d 832 (1990).
Pedestrian Injury Data
- In 2005 in the United States, 4,881 pedestrians died from traffic-related injuries and another 64,000 pedestrians sustained non-fatal injuries.
- Pedestrian fatalities are the second-leading cause of motor vehicle-related deaths, following occupant fatalities. Pedestrian-related fatalities account for about 11% of all motor vehicle-related deaths.
- On average, one pedestrian in the United States is killed in a traffic crash every 108 minutes.
- The situation is improving. Pedestrian deaths, expressed as a rate per 100,000 people, has decreased 13% from 1995 to 2005. Factors contributing to this decrease may include more and better sidewalks, pedestrian paths, playgrounds away from streets, one-way traffic flow, and restricted on-street parking. Some of the reduction is likely due to the decreasing amount of time Americans spend walking.
- Alcohol is a major factor in adult pedestrian deaths. In the total number of fatal pedestrian crashes, 11% of the drivers involved had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 g/dL or higher.
- In 44% of traffic crashes that resulted in a pedestrian fatality during 2005, either the driver or the pedestrian had a measurable blood alcohol level.
- Children are at risk for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In 2005, children 15 years and younger accounted for 8% of all pedestrian fatalities and 23% of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes. Among children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes, 18% were pedestrians.
- In 2005, adults 70 years and older comprised 9% of all pedestrians injured, yet they accounted for 16% of all pedestrian fatalities. The death rate for this group, 2.88 per 100,000 people, is the highest of any age group.
- In 2005, the pedestrian fatality rate for males was more than twice that for females. Non-fatal injury rates for male pedestrians were also higher; the pedestrian injury rate, per 100,000 people, was 21 for males and 17 for females.
- More pedestrian fatalities occurred on Fridays and Saturdays than on any other day of the week in 2005.
- In 2005, 44% of pedestrian deaths occurred between 6:00 pm and midnight. Among children under 16 years old, 43% of the pedestrian fatalities in 1998 occurred between 3:00 and 7:00 pm.
- Seventy-four percent of pedestrian deaths in 2005 occurred in urban areas. Case fatality rates, however, are higher in rural areas -- for nearly all age groups. Researchers have suggested that these higher fatality rates may be due to higher driving speeds (greater impact during a crash), and less immediate access to emergency medical care.
- In 2005, 61% of pedestrian deaths among people 65 years and older occurred at an intersection, whereas only 10% of pedestrian deaths among children 4 years old and younger took place at an intersection.
In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call Bledsoe Law Office now at (276) 523-5462 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.