According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,000 pedestrians suffered fatal injuries in 2016. That’s one pedestrian death every two hours, and pedestrians also suffer minor to serious injuries once every seven minutes. Additionally, the agency reports that pedestrian deaths are up a staggering 25 percent in the five-year period from 2010 to 2015.
Summer can be an especially problematic time of the year for pedestrian accidents. It makes sense when you consider that more people spend time outdoors and walk for exercise. There’s also more tourists in Arlington, Fairfax, and the surrounding communities, which increases the likelihood of a collision between a person on foot and a motorized vehicle of any type. Other factors that affect pedestrian accidents in the summer include children being out of school and an overall increase in traffic.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Using a smartphone while driving is a leading cause of crashes between cars and people. Whether it’s sending a text, looking at social media, talking on the phone, or another common task, anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road for even a few seconds can create a deadly result. Did you know that a car can travel more than 100 yards when going 55 miles per hour in just three seconds? By the time a driver turns his or her attention back to the task at hand, it might already be too late.
Here are some other typical causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Speeding through an intersection: Sometimes a driver doesn’t allow enough time to slow down when approaching an intersection and strikes someone trying to cross the street as a result.
- Drinking or drug use: Having a toxic level of alcohol or chemicals in the body can affect the judgment of both drivers and pedestrians. A driver may not see a pedestrian or stop the vehicle in time due to slow reflexes. An impaired pedestrian may step out into traffic rather than cross at a light or crosswalk or even fall in the street. A driver may not be able to avoid a collision in any of these cases.
- Confusion over unmarked crosswalks: When a crosswalk isn’t clearly marked, drivers and pedestrians may not know how to proceed through it safely. They may assume the intention of the other and end up colliding because of it.
- Left-hand turns: The NHTSA reports that pedestrian accidents happen three times as often with drivers making left-hand turns as opposed to right-hand turns. One reason for this is that the two parties are looking in opposite directions. While pedestrians typically look straight ahead, drivers usually pay more attention to the intersection. This can cause them not to see one another.
While the pedestrian is always on the losing end of a crash with a motor vehicle, he or she sometimes shares the blame in causing it. The most typical behaviors by pedestrians involved in accidents with cars, trucks, or motorcycles include wearing dark-colored clothing, walking against traffic, intoxication, using a smartphone while crossing the street, and not hearing an approaching car due to listening to music through headphones.
Most Common Pedestrian Injuries
Sadly, pedestrians can sustain some very serious injuries when colliding with a motorized vehicle. They simply can’t withstand 2,000 pounds of metal striking their body. Some of the most typical non-fatal injuries incurred by pedestrians include:
- Back, knee, and hip injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Permanent paralysis
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
It costs a lot of money to live with these significant injuries. When a pedestrian suffers the consequences of a driver’s negligence, he or she may choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to help defray medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses. An injured person can also sue for non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering.
Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. is Prepared to Represent You
If you are living with the aftermath of a serious pedestrian accident, we invite you to contact us at 703-361-1555 to discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. You only pay a percentage of your monetary reward if we successfully argue your case.