Auto collisions can have serious consequences, including injury and death. However, passengers inside a vehicle have at least a measure of protection in the form of seat belts, airbags and the steel cage surrounding them. Unfortunately, a pedestrian has none of those protections, so imagine a completely vulnerable person being struck by 3,000 pounds or more of metal and glass. A vehicle moving at only 10 miles per hour is traveling over 14 feet per second. Large cities have the highest number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities, likely because there are more pedestrians and more vehicles. Across the United States, each year vehicles hit over 80,000 pedestrians, resulting in serious injury. One quarter of those accidents occur in New York City alone. In addition to the pedestrians seriously injured, there are between 4,000 and 6,000 pedestrian deaths annually.
Pedestrian accidents could be caused from negligence or inattention on the part of the driver, by pedestrian error, or by a combination of the two Errors causing a pedestrian/vehicle accident. Pedestrian errors may include the following:
- Ignoring traffic controls. Pedestrians who walk on the “don’t walk” sign, thinking they can get across before a car comes along are taking a serious risk.
- Jaywalking is crossing the street at inappropriate and undesignated areas. Stepping out from behind a parked vehicle is particularly dangerous as oncoming drivers may not see the pedestrian until it is too late. Pedestrians must cross only at intersections when the light is green.
- Children who “dart” into the street are at an extremely high risk of being hit by an oncoming car. Parents must be aware of this and hold tightly to small children when crossing a street.
- Walking with headphones on in the city is a definite “no-no.” The music coming from the headphones could prevent the pedestrian from hearing an oncoming car or a warning horn honking.
Driver error is actually the much more common cause of pedestrian/auto accidents, and may include the following:
- Disregarding pedestrians in crosswalks—drivers must always be aware of the possibility of a pedestrian walking across a crosswalk or intersection.
- Disregarding stop signs and red lights. Speeding through a red light can cause tragic consequences if a pedestrian has started across the street.
- Driver distraction including texting, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, talking to other passengers in the car, changing the radio station or turning around to see what the children are doing. Driver distraction may well be the primary cause of pedestrian accidents.
- Driving faster than the posted speed can be dangerous, particularly in areas with high numbers of pedestrians. Any form of aggressive driving, including speeding, improper turning, failure to yield or making illegal turns can lead to an innocent pedestrian being struck.
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to tragic consequences—approximately 48% of all pedestrian deaths involve alcohol, either on the part of the pedestrian or the driver.
- Drivers who are unfamiliar with an area may be so focused on reading maps or street signs that they don’t notice a pedestrian until it’s too late.
The elderly and children are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of pedestrian accidents. While children do not fully understand the danger of skipping out into traffic without looking, the elderly tend to misjudge the amount of time it will take them to cross the road safely. When a distracted driver or one driving aggressively comes along at the precise time a child or elderly person is in the intersection or crosswalk, tragedy can ensue.
The Koederitz Law Firm has years of experience helping pedestrians who are victims of a negligent, inattentive or reckless driver. In many cases, the driver who hits the pedestrian drives away rather than staying to face the music, leaving the pedestrian not only injured, but unable to ensure that the responsible party pays for those injuries. In today’s world, it is often possible for us to recover recorded video of the accident from many surveillance cameras, although one must usually act quickly before the data is deleted. As an experienced Louisiana attorney, Gary P. Koederitz is also familiar with the court decisions, which often favor pedestrians when the issue of fault or negligence is decided. Gary P. Koederitz and Koederitz Law Firm will handle all aspects of your pedestrian injury case, allowing you the time necessary to recuperate from your injuries. Call (225) 295-9494 today for an experienced, compassionate consultation.