Pedestrian deaths are in the midst of a sharp increase. The last 10 years of available data show that the number of pedestrian fatalities nationwide rose 27 percent over that time period. This increase is contrasted with a decline of 14 percent in motor vehicle fatalities during the same time period. Not surprisingly, then, pedestrian fatalities rose sharply over that time frame as a share of all traffic deaths. Pedestrian deaths share of all traffic fatalities increased from 11 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2016, a nearly 50 percent rise. That puts pedestrian deaths at the largest percentage of all traffic fatalities and the highest proportion in more than 30 years.
In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians died in traffic accidents throughout the United States. Nearly 129,000 pedestrians were treated for injuries suffered in traffic accidents in 2015, almost twice the number of pedestrian injuries incurred in 2013. And things are not improving. The GHSA estimates that pedestrian traffic fatalities rose to nearly 6,000 in 2017, while pedestrians are now roughly 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than are the occupants of passenger vehicles.
The personal injury attorneys of Slappey & Sadd have considerable experience handling cases for victims of all kinds of accidents, including traffic accidents that result in injuries or death for pedestrians. If you or a loved one has been a pedestrian injured in a traffic accident, you should consult an attorney to learn what your options are. To schedule a free consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Atlanta, call our office today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online.Pedestrian Safety Varies State-to-State
The GHSA report found that pedestrian fatalities differed widely from state to state in the first six months of 2017, with some states having negligible pedestrian fatalities and others experiencing high numbers of pedestrian traffic deaths, ranging from a high of 352 pedestrian fatalities in California to a low of 1 in Hawaii. Five states had more than 100 pedestrian deaths in 2017 -- California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Arizona, while 12 states and the District of Columbia each reported less than 10 pedestrian fatalities. Those states reporting at least 100 pedestrian traffic deaths were the site of 43 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in in 2017.
Moreover, the number of states with a pedestrian death rate of at least 2.0 per 100,000 population more than doubled from 2014 to 2016, from 7 states in 2014 to 15 in 2016. Georgia ranks 16th nationwide with .88 fatalities per 100,000 population.Intersections are Dangerous Places for Pedestrians
Nearly three-fourths of all pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, and of all pedestrian deaths, one in five happens at an intersection. The statistics do no indicate how many pedestrian deaths occur while crossing roads at places other than an intersection, nor how many occur while crossing near an intersection. However, with one in five pedestrian deaths occurring at intersections, the risk there is clear.
Further, even non-fatal pedestrian accidents carry a higher risk of serious injury. Pedestrians involved in automobile accidents are at a much higher risk for traumatic brain injuries. Academic studies have found that head injuries are one of the most common injuries to pedestrians in traffic accidents. Federal statistics show pedestrian motor traffic accidents are a leading cause of TBIs, with traffic accidents clocking in as the third overall leading cause of brain injury-related hospitalizations and deaths in 2013. Given the potential gravity of the consequences, pedestrians need to exercise extra care, whether at intersections or elsewhere, to avoid being involved in traffic accidents.Pedestrians Need to Exercise Proper Caution
Obviously, no pedestrian wants to be hit by a motor vehicle. The odds are against the pedestrian every time. The potential injuries are far too severe, and the potential of dying far too high, to take a chance. Pedestrians need to take the proper precautions to avoid becoming a statistic.
There are other valid reasons for pedestrians to take precautions when crossing roadways, whether at intersections or elsewhere, or when walking along a road, large or small. High on the list of those reasons is that Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. In states with "comparative negligence" or "comparative fault," an injured plaintiff's compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault borne by the plaintiff for the occurrence of the accident. For instance, a pedestrian crossing against the light might be hit by a car and suffer $100,000 in damages. However, if the jury finds that the pedestrian was 25 percent at fault for the accident (because of crossing against the light), then the pedestrian could recover only $75,000, forgoing one-fourth of the pedestrian's potential recovery based on the finding of fault.
While drivers must yield to pedestrians who are lawfully in a crosswalk, that doesn't mean any pedestrian can cross a roadway at a crosswalk at any time and not be at fault. At intersections or crosswalks controlled by a traffic signal, the pedestrian is obligated to wait until the signal is in his favor. The pedestrian cannot simply start crossing the road, against the signal, and just expect traffic to stop for him. The pedestrian has a duty, particularly at crosswalks not governed by a traffic signal but also when crossing a road at any point, to make sure that it is safe to cross the road. Failure to make that determination can result in a finding that the pedestrian was partially at fault for the accident.
In Georgia, if a pedestrian is 50 percent or more responsible for an accident crossing a roadway, the law bars the pedestrian from recovering any damages. Any finding of partial liability of less than 50 percent will reduce your potential recovery proportionately.Call Slappey & Sadd Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a traffic accident as a pedestrian, you should talk with an attorney to see if you have options for recovering damages. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling (404) 255-6677. Our attorneys serve the entire state of Georgia, including Smyrna, Decatur, and Marietta. You also can reach us through our online contact form.