While the number of car accidents per year has been declining since the 1980s, the number of pedestrian accidents hasn’t changed much. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 5,376 pedestrians were killed in car accidents in 2015. This is a 9.1 percent increase from the 4,901 pedestrian deaths seen over a decade ago in 2001.
Pedestrian/vehicle accidents often result in serious, catastrophic injuries. While it is possible for a pedestrian to be compensated after an accident, it isn’t easy. The pedestrian has to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company, keep meticulous records of their medical expenses, and endure a lengthy investigation of the accident’s cause.
If you were a pedestrian involved in an auto accident, an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help you with the claims process and help determine who was liable for the accident. Unfortunately, North Carolina’s statute of limitations only gives you three years to file a claim, so it is crucial that you contact The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, L.L.P. ® for a free consultation as soon as possible.
What Defines a Pedestrian?
Many people think a pedestrian is someone travelling on foot. Legally, a pedestrian is anyone not traveling in a motorized vehicle. That means almost everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day, including cyclists, skateboarders and rollerbladers.
North Carolina Pedestrian Accident Facts
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Traffic Crash Facts (NCDOT) there were 2,311 pedestrian accidents in 2014. Of all the pedestrians involved in car accidents, 7.8 percent, or 170 people, were killed.
The top pedestrian-related crashes in 2014 were:
- “Off-roadway” crashes, resulting 365 accidents
- Crashes because pedestrians failed to yield to cars, resulting in 343 accidents
- Crashes where pedestrians were walking with the flow of traffic, resulting in 255 accidents
- Crashes where pedestrians were backed into in a parking lot, resulting in 247 accidents
- “Dashing” accidents where a pedestrian ran in front of a vehicle, resulting in 220 accidents
While the number of total pedestrian accidents has been rising steadily, men are far more at risk for pedestrian accidents than women. The most recent data on gender and age from NCDOT shows that 1,772 males were in pedestrian accidents in North Carolina, compared to 1,185 women.
Individuals between the age of 41 and 50 were most likely to be killed as pedestrians. This age group suffered 481 pedestrian accidents. Next, people aged 31 to 40 were in 442 accidents and those 21 to 25 had 366 accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states the time and day of the week are also factors in pedestrian accidents. For instance, 25 percent of pedestrian accidents on weekdays occur between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. In contrast, 30 percent of weekend pedestrian accidents occur much later, between 9 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian/vehicle accidents can be the fault of the pedestrian, the driver, or a combination of both. Most accidents caused by drivers are the result of:
- Failure to yield at pedestrian crossings
- Distracted driving
- Drugs or alcohol
- Poorly maintained roads
- Vehicle failure (bad brakes, tires, etc.)
When a pedestrian is at-fault for an accident, it’s usually because:
- They ignored a traffic signal
- They jaywalked
- They were walking on the road instead of on a sidewalk
- They were walking with traffic instead of against it
- They were walking next to high speed traffic
- They were intoxicated or impaired by drugs
Common Pedestrian Injuries
AAA did a study of impact speed versus a pedestrian’s risk of injury or death. They found that the risk of dying increases based on the vehicle’s speed at the time of impact.
For example, when a car hits a pedestrian at 23 mph, the pedestrian has a 10 percent chance of dying. A pedestrian hit by a car at 32 mph has a 25 percent chance of dying. At 42 mph, the risk of death is 50 percent; 50 mph is 75 percent, and 58 mph is 90 percent. AAA also found that these risks increase exponentially if the pedestrian is struck by a tractor-trailer or small truck.
It’s no wonder that pedestrian accidents result in life-threatening or fatal injuries. As pedestrian accident attorneys, we have worked with clients who have suffered:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe road rash
- Back injuries
- Internal bleeding/organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
If you obey walk signals, use crosswalks, and keep an eye out for vehicles, your risk of injury will be reduced. Unfortunately, you can’t predict the actions of others. Whether the driver who hit you was driving under the influence or not paying attention, you have a right to seek compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, L.L.P. ® are here to help pedestrian accident victims throughout the state of North Carolina. We’ll fight for your rights so you can focus on getting back on your feet. Call anytime to schedule your free consultation at 877-529-1222.