According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), California had the highest number of pedestrian deaths during 2017 with 858 fatalities. A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that the state may continue the trend for 2018. During the first half of 2018, California had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities with 432 deaths. Pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents are increasing throughout the country to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, with California continuing to have extremely high pedestrian fatality rates compared to other states.
The Thompson Law Office assists individuals and families file insurance claims for pedestrian accidents. Like many people in California, we are concerned with the increase in pedestrian-vehicle accidents.
In this article, our California pedestrian accident attorney discusses:
- Findings from the GHSA Report Reviewing Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities
- Do’s and Don’ts After a Pedestrian Accident
- How Filing an Insurance Claim for a Pedestrian Accident Can Help You
- Steps you Can Take to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident
Findings from the GHSA Report Reviewing Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities
After researching traffic fatalities involving pedestrians for the past three decades, the GHSA discovered that the number of pedestrian fatalities hit the highest level in 2018 since 1990. Some of the key statistics included in the GHSA report are:
- 6,227 pedestrians died in 2018. This is the highest number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents since 1990 when 6,482 pedestrians died.
- After 1990, pedestrian fatalities began to decrease to a low of 4,109 deaths in 1990. Since 1990, pedestrian deaths have increased almost every year through 2018.
- Five states accounted for almost one-half of the pedestrian fatalities each year — California, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and Florida.
- The number of all traffic-related deaths decreased by 6% from 2008 to 2017. However, the number of pedestrian deaths increased during that period by 35%.
- More than one-third (35%) of pedestrian deaths occur on local streets. The lowest number of pedestrian deaths occur on county roads.
- Pedestrian-vehicle accidents involving passenger vehicles increased by 30%, while pedestrian-vehicle accidents involving SUVs increased by 50% from 2013 to 2017.
- Pedestrian fatalities increased in 25 states and DC from the first half of 2017 to the first half of 2018.
Factors Involved in Pedestrian-Vehicle Accidents
The report analyzed several factors when researching pedestrian fatality data. The report found some interesting results:
- Light level posed a significant risk for anyone traveling on foot. Three-fourths of the pedestrian deaths in 2017 occurred after sunset.
- Only a quarter of the traffic accidents involving a pedestrian death were located at an intersection or were intersection related. Seventy-two percent (72%) of the deaths occurred in locations other than an intersection.
- Alcohol impairment and drug use continue to be a serious problem for drivers and pedestrians. Alcohol was involved in about one-half of the traffic crashes that resulted in a pedestrian fatality during 2017.
- The increase in the number of pedestrians could have an impact on the increase in the number of pedestrian-vehicle fatalities in the U.S. The number of people walking to work has increased by about four percent, according to one survey.
- Unsafe driving behaviors also contribute to pedestrian deaths, including speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving.
- The increased number of SUVs on the roads may also contribute to the increase in pedestrian deaths, as these vehicles tend to cause more severe injuries in a pedestrian accident.
Do’s and Don’ts After a Pedestrian Accident
Being injured in a pedestrian accident can change your life forever. The steps you take immediately after the accident can have a significant impact on your chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries. We strongly suggest that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident. A California pedestrian accident attorney can help you avoid missteps that could hurt your insurance claim. Call the attorneys of The Thompson Law Firm at 1-650-513-6111 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Some of the do’s and don’ts our attorneys recommend after a pedestrian accident include:
- DO call 911 immediately to report the pedestrian accident. Even if you do not believe your injuries are serious, you need to report the crash and request an officer come to the scene to investigate and issue an accident report.
- DON’T delay seeking medical care. Pedestrians have no protection from an impact in a traffic accident. You need to be checked by a physician to determine the severity of your injuries. A delay in medical treatment can jeopardize your health and your insurance claim.
- DO document the accident scene whenever possible. Take photographs, make videos, and ask witnesses for their contact information.
- DON’T provide a written or recorded statement to the insurance company for the driver without consulting a California pedestrian accident attorney. What you say could be misconstrued and used against you as you seek compensation for your damages.
- DON’T use social media, post information online, use email, or text about your injuries or the accident. A defense attorney could obtain the communications and posts to use later at a trial.
- DO document your losses and expenses carefully. You may be entitled to compensation for your financial losses, but you must have proof of those losses to recover compensation.
- DO follow your doctor’s treatment plan or seek a second opinion. You do not want to be accused of purposefully making your injuries worse because you failed to follow a doctor’s treatment plan.
How Filing an Insurance Claim for a Pedestrian Accident Can Help You
If a driver causes pedestrian injuries in an accident, the pedestrian may be entitled to compensation for injuries, losses, and damages arising from the pedestrian-vehicle accident.
California’s personal injury laws specify several types of damages that might be compensable in a pedestrian accident claim including:
- Cost of medical care and treatment
- Expenses related to personal care and assistance with household chores
- Physical therapy and occupational therapy
- Vocational and rehabilitative therapy
- Loss of income and loss of earning capacity
- Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent disability or impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
In addition, a pedestrian may also be entitled to punitive damages in some cases. Punitive damages are only awarded in a few cases in which the driver’s behavior was grossly negligent, or the driver acted with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, such as in the case of a drunk driver.
The value of your insurance claim depends on a variety of factors. A California personal injury lawyer reviews all potential damages and sources of income to maximize the value of your claim. An insurance claim will not make you completely whole because it is impossible to undo the damage caused by a negligent or careless driver. However, an insurance claim settlement can help pay for medical expenses, personal care, and living expenses.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident
As a pedestrian, you cannot control a driver’s actions, but you can take steps to avoid a pedestrian accident. Pedestrian safety tips include:
- Always cross at a crosswalk or intersection whenever possible
- Make eye contact with a driver to ensure the driver sees you before stepping into the road
- Avoid all distractions while walking, including talking on a cell phone, texting, use an electronic device, or listening to music, books, movies, or TV shows
- Teach children about the dangers posed by vehicles and how to be safe when walking
- Always hold a child’s hand when crossing the road, walking along a road, or walking through a parking lot
- Avoid walking at night, dusk, or dawn
- Wear brightly colored clothing when walking
- Carry a flashlight to increase your visibility
- Follow all California pedestrian laws and traffic laws
For information specific to California’s pedestrian safety programs or safety tips for pedestrians, you can visit these websites:
- OTS Think Two Steps Ahead home page
- California Department of Motor Vehicles Pedestrian Safety web page
- OTS Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety home page
Contact The Thompson Law Office for a Free Case Review
The California pedestrian accident lawyers of The Thompson Law Office are dedicated to protecting the rights of accident victims and their families. We believe that when a person is injured in a traffic accident, that person has the right to receive full compensation for all damages and losses associated with the crash.
Insurance companies are not interested in paying full value for an injury claim, and insurance adjusters act in the best interest of the insurance company. You need a legal advocate who is going to protect your best interests and fight for a fair and just outcome in your case.
You can contact our office by calling 1-650-513-6111 to discuss your accident claim with a California personal injury lawyer during a free consultation. Receiving legal counsel from a skilled and experienced attorney early in your case can make a significant difference in the amount of compensation you may receive for your pedestrian accident claim.