Though there have been advances in safety in recent years, pedestrians remain uniquely vulnerable on roadways and in our communities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, greater than 75,000 victims are injured each year in auto-pedestrian accidents, and there are 5,000 fatal pedestrian accident victims each year. Pedestrians are injured, on average, every 7 minutes in pedestrian accidents.
Serious pedestrian accident injuries are common due to the obvious size disparity between pedestrians and cars and trucks that may strike them in a pedestrian accident. Pedestrian accident victims can suffer catastrophic injuries including crush injuries, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, internal injuries and broken bones.
There are steps for the care of pedestrians that drivers are able and required to take to ensure the safety of pedestrians on the roadways. At times, drivers breach their duty of care and fail to abide by safety measures to protect pedestrians and, as a result, may be liable for the harm and damages they suffer. Drivers may negligently injure a pedestrian victim by driving distracted or under the influence; failing to obey traffic signs or signals; failing to obey the speed limit; failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and when otherwise appropriate; failing to use turn signals; and failing to adjust for road and weather conditions.
It is important for victims to be familiar with their rights following a pedestrian accident, rights which may include a right to compensation for the harm they have suffered. Understanding the legal process, and how it can help and protect them, can be an important step for pedestrian accident victims.