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Pedestrian Accidents

Whether or not we drive a motor vehicle, every one of us is a pedestrian at some point, and pedestrians are the most vulnerable members of society, from rural areas to our cities. Whenever a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle, including automobiles, trucks, buses and motorcycles, the odds are heavily stacked against the pedestrian for emerging unscathed. Even a collision between a pedestrian and bicyclist often proves injurious to the former.

In the state of California, a driver of a vehicle must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who crosses a roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, though pedestrians are required to exercise due care in these areas as well per California Vehicle Code Section 21950. Unfortunately, there are careless motorists who may be speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, not paying sufficient attention to the road, or are even distracted by handheld devices, conversation with passengers, smoking, eating and other activities not related to driving. Alcohol-impaired driving is a particularly acute and old problem in the United States, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that U.S. adults drank too much and got behind the wheel 112 million times in just 2010. But distracted driving has become especially more common in recent years as cell phones and other handheld devices have become more prevalent. Despite the fact that driving and using a handheld device for either conversing or texting is illegal in California, there are still numerous instances in which a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23123, the law prohibiting use of wireless telephones while driving, has occurred, or of the Wireless Communications Device Law, which prohibits text-based communication while driving. In addition, drivers under the age of 18 are also not permitted to operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone or hands-free device under California Vehicle Code Section 23124. A pedestrian who is in the path of either an impaired or distracted driver can face especially grim prospects for emerging from the encounter unharmed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has compiled some sobering statistics on traffic safety for pedestrians, including the following:

  • In 2012, there were 4,743 pedestrians who were killed in traffic collisions in the United States, which is a 6 percent increase from the figure reported in 2011 and the highest number of fatalities in the last five years.
  • In 2012, pedestrian deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, and pedestrians sustained 3 percent of all injuries among people hurt in traffic collisions. In fact, the pedestrian percentage as a share of all traffic fatalities has been increasing since 2003, when pedestrians accounted for 11 percent of all traffic fatalities. The 14 percent figures set in 2011 and matched in 2012 were the highest recorded since 2003.
  • In 2012, 73 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas versus a rural setting.
  • In 2012, 70 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersection locations.
  • In 2012, 89 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions.
  • In 2012, pedestrians age 65 and older accounted for 20 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and 9 percent of all pedestrian injuries.
  • In 2012, the average age of pedestrians killed in traffic collisions was 46 and the average age of those injured was 35.
  • In 2012, 22 percent of the children ages 5 to 15 who were killed in traffic collisions were pedestrians. Children age 15 and younger accounted for 6 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and 18 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic collisions.

Depending on the type of traffic collision, pedestrians who are involved in accidents may suffer one or more type of injury, such as neck or back injury, loss of a limb, spinal injury, brain injury or even death. A pedestrian who is injured in an accident has the right to file a claim, and the family of a pedestrian who is killed in an accident has the right to file a wrongful death claim. The attorneys at Willoughby Brod, LLP understand the complexities involved in pedestrian accident cases, and as a San Francisco Bay Area law firm we have extensive experience representing pedestrians who have been hurt or killed on the roads of our pedestrian-friendly, though high-traffic region. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, we will work hard to investigate the circumstances surrounding your case and make sure you receive full compensation for your injuries or the loss of a loved one.

To speak with a Willoughby Brod, LLP attorney regarding your rights associated with your pedestrian accident case, please contact us for a free case evaluation at (800) 427-7020. If you prefer to send us an email with an inquiry, please contact us online.

San Francisco Injury Lawyer Blog - Pedestrian Accident
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