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A Quick Guide to Pedestrian Safety and Injury Lawsuits

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As we focus more and more on phasing out traditional modes of transportation, pedestrian safety has become a major concern in large, “walkable” cities around the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) , there were just under 6,000 pedestrian deaths in 2017 alone, as well as 130,000 additional hospitalizations for a variety of accident injuries. 

With those figures in mind, it’s important for those who live in areas with high pedestrian traffic to understand both the risks they face and their options for recovery in the event that an accident does happen. Van Law Firm has helped innumerable accident victims get the compensation they deserve, and we’re standing by to help you too. Call our office nearest you today to get started. 

The Accident Risks that Pedestrians Face 

Without sounding overly dramatic, pedestrians in most environments are exposed to a wide variety of potential accident risks, such as: 

Motor Vehicles and Driver Impairment 

First and foremost, anytime you are on a crosswalk or sidewalk, all nearby motor vehicles can cause a lot of damage even at low speeds. Data from the CDC indicates that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a vehicle crash compared to vehicle passengers. 

Driver impairment is a huge issue of concern for pedestrians, as that is usually when vehicles go off the road and onto walking areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is one of the leading authorities on pedestrian and vehicle safety–according to their most recent safety report, nearly half (47 percent) of all vehicle-pedestrian crashes in 2019 involved a notable blood-alcohol content for either the driver or pedestrian

Faulty or Poorly-Designed Architecture

All structures and safety features must be built to meet city and state code requirements, but that does not mean inspections are conducted regularly. Pedestrians are constantly being exposed to a myriad of various safety risks, including faulty or poorly-designed  handrails, stair sets, parking lots, floor surfaces, and more. As we will discuss later, there are multiple kinds of suits that can come from these accidents. 

Construction Hazards

The slapstick cartoons of characters unwittingly falling into exposed manholes are funny to watch, but construction-related hazards are real, and they injure countless pedestrians each year. If a construction site has not been properly blocked off or marked with adequate signage, a pedestrian can unknowingly walk into an unsafe situation. Additionally, falling objects are also a big point of concern, as everything from scaffolding on sidewalks to objects lifted by cranes can potentially fall and injure pedestrians below. 

Different Types of Pedestrian Injury Suits 

There are multiple ways you can be injured as a pedestrian, and therefore you have several options as far as recovery. Many kinds of suits can come from a pedestrian accident, including: 

  • Claims against vehicle drivers: If you were struck by a motor vehicle, the most common way to collect compensation would be to file a claim against the individual driver or their insurer if they refuse to acknowledge your case. 
  • Premises liability: If you are hurt because of an unsafe condition on another’s property, such as faulty handrails or a slip and fall, you may be eligible for a premises liability claim. In order to prove liability, one must show that there was an unsafe condition on the property and that the owner did not act appropriately to remove it, which led to your injuries. 
  • Design suits: Most people don’t know this, but you can actually file suit over the design of a structure/feature. In other words, if you are able to prove that the design of a structure or feature poses inherent dangers to pedestrians, you can collect compensation. If, for example, a set of stairs is designed in a way that makes it difficult to walk on them safely, that can be considered negligent design (meaning that appearance was prioritized over function and safety). 
  • Claims against construction companies: If you were injured by a construction-related injury as detailed above, you may file a claim against either the property owner or the construction company itself. The latter is much more common, as they have the responsibility to conduct their work safely. There are numerous OSHA and other safety-related regulations that construction companies must adhere to when on the job site, and if these rules are not followed, it creates a large risk for both injury and liability. 

Potential Solutions to Enhance Pedestrian Safety

In recent years, some of the more “walkable” cities around the country, such as New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Las Vegas have started to suggest and incorporate safety measures with pedestrians in mind. In 2016, the Department of Transportation approved $1.6 million dollars’ worth of grants to go toward pedestrian safety measures, including: 

  • Shortening crosswalks
  • Adding crosswalk reflectors
  • Building pedestrian safety islands
  • Lowering speed limits
  • Installing security cameras
  • Increasing police presence in high traffic areas

It’s worth mentioning that some accidents are in fact caused by pedestrians, so it is important to always mitigate your own level of risk by following traffic signals and remaining vigilant of your surroundings at all times. The allure of our screens has never been stronger, but we must remember that no message or notification is worth suffering potentially life-altering injuries over. 

Contact Pedestrian Injury Attorneys Today 

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries at the hands of another while traveling as a pedestrian, call Van Law Firm as soon as possible. Our experienced pedestrian injury attorneys can analyze the accident in question and prepare the best argument possible in order to defend your rights. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to recover the compensation you need–call our location nearest you now to get started.