Pedestrian Accidents Are on the Rise 

The most recent statistics on pedestrian accidents are alarming. 

A recent report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) revealed that in 2021, there were 7,485 pedestrians killed by moving vehicles. That is the largest number of pedestrian fatalities to occur in one year in more than forty years. According to the report, in the last decade, traffic deaths involving vehicle accidents increased by 13%. However, pedestrian deaths have skyrocketed by 54% in the same time.  Why?pedestrian accident

Well, the Executive Director of GHSA, Jonathan Adkins, offers several reasons for this alarming trend in what he calls “the pedestrian safety crisis”:

Speeding and Other Dangerous Driving Behaviors

  • The percentage of pedestrian fatalities resulting from drivers speeding increased from 7.2% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2020.
  • As a vehicle’s speed increases, the risk of death for pedestrians increases exponentially. For example:
  • When a vehicle is traveling at 23 mph, the average risk of death for a pedestrian is 10%;
  • At 58 mph, the risk of pedestrian death increases to 90%.
  • Since 2018, the percentage of pedestrian fatalities among children under the age of 15 where a driver was speeding was 5.8%. In 2020, that percentage more than doubled to 11.9%.
  • Oddly, the majority of the child-pedestrian fatalities in 2021 occurred during the week and during daylight hours. It is possible that during the Covid-19 pandemic, children who were not in school during the weekdays were, instead, playing outside at home and became victims to an increase in child-pedestrian accidents.
  • At the same time, the percentage of pedestrian fatalities in the 10 largest cities in the United States, which historically has increased each year, fell by 8%. Likewise, this may be due to the public health restrictions imposed during the pandemic period, when fewer people were walking and driving.

Inadequate Infrastructure

  • Poor lighting.
  • In 2020, the percentage of pedestrian fatalities with no sidewalk increased to 67%.
  • Sidewalks and raised crosswalks are effective safety measures for separating pedestrians from active road traffic. Yet in each year from 2016 to 2019, 62% of pedestrian fatalities occurred where no sidewalk was available.
  • No Sidewalks.
  • In 2014, there were 3,510 nighttime pedestrian deaths; in 2020, there were 4,951—an increase of 41%.
  • In 2020, more than 76% of pedestrian deaths in which lighting conditions were known to be a factor occurred at night.

Roads Not Designed for Pedestrian Safety

  • Approximately 60% of all pedestrian fatalities occur on non-highway arterial roads, where there is high traffic volume moving at high speeds.
  • Only about 17% of pedestrian fatalities occur on freeways.

What Should You Know about Pedestrian Accidents?

Odds are that most people involved in a typical car crash with two vehicles don’t really know what to do after the accident. It doesn’t matter if they struck another vehicle or another vehicle struck them. Even if they think they know what to do, most people involved in a car crash do a lot of things they shouldn’t do after it happens. But that’s only natural. When you are involved in a car accident, you may be injured, confused, and scared. After all, we are only human. We all make mistakes. But when a car accident happens, you have to know what to do after the accident. You also have to know what not to do. And pedestrian accidents are no different. Whether you are a pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle or a driver who strikes a pedestrian with your car, you have to know what to do and what not to do after a pedestrian accident.

Here is a list of mistakes to avoid after a pedestrian accident. 

Mistakes a Pedestrian Should Avoid After a Pedestrian Accident 

Here are five things you should not do if you are a pedestrian and are struck by a vehicle.

1. Don't Assume or Admit Fault

In any accident, including a pedestrian accident, determining who is at fault will be a critical issue in determining who may be financially responsible for any damages the other party may suffer. Granted, when a pedestrian gets hit by a car, it is not often the case that the driver of the vehicle will be injured or suffer any damages, but there could be some damage to the vehicle, especially if the pedestrian, though hit, caused the driver to crash into something else that damaged the car or caused injury to the driver. So, as in any accident, as a pedestrian, even if you see that the driver suffered no damages, never admit fault.

The reason for this is not to avoid accountability. But you must understand that pedestrian accidents can be complicated. There are many factors that may account for why the accident occurred that you may not be aware of. Even if you are not seriously injured, you may be disoriented, confused, and unaware of what actually happened. You should not admit any fault in the accident until you have spoken with a pedestrian accident attorney, who will be able to assess the situation and determine legal fault. The attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, are experienced pedestrian accident attorneys who know how to handle a pedestrian accident and will help you:

  • Collect relevant evidence at the accident scene
  • Identify and interview witnesses
  • Determine fault
  • Negotiate with insurance companies, and
  • Obtain the maximum compensation that you deserve.

Never assume or admit that you did something wrong to cause the accident. Let the experts at Foster Wallace, LLC, determine fault.

2. Don't Refuse Medical Treatment

Even if the driver did not hit you very hard and you think you are fine and suffered no injuries, don’t refuse medical treatment. If someone has not already called an ambulance after the accident, call an ambulance or request immediate medical attention. So often, injuries suffered in a car crash do not come upon you until hours or even several days after the impact of the accident. Even if you think you are not injured, let a medical professional evaluate you after the crash and determine what injuries you may have suffered and what treatment you might require. Again, don’t just assume that you are not hurt. Always let a medical expert determine your injuries.

3. Don't Engage in Conversation With the Driver Who Hit You

So many people who have been in an accident immediately want to talk to the other party and discuss what happened, what they were doing, and what they were thinking. This is a definite “no-no.” Of course, you should at least confirm that the driver is not seriously injured or see if they need immediate medical attention, but that is not likely in a pedestrian accident. What is more likely is that the driver will assume the accident was your fault. Like you, they also may be confused or disoriented. Most likely, however, they also may be upset, angry, or even hostile. Do not engage the driver or try to explain what you think happened. Instead of escalating an already tense situation by engaging the driver, you should take that time to make three telephone call:

  • To obtain medical treatment;
  • To summon the police to the scene; and
  • To contact the Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, to assist you.

Engaging the driver in conversation or evaluation of what happened can only lead to trouble. Let the police discuss the matter with the driver.

4. Don't Leave the Scene of the Accident Until the Police Arrive

After being hit by a car, and while waiting for the medical attention that you will either accept or demand, the other party (the driver who hit you) may try to convince you that there is no need to call the police to make a police report. The driver may suggest that you just exchange identifications and insurance information and each of you go on your way. Never do this! Always call the police to the scene of the accident and wait there until they arrive and make a full report. It is not up to you to investigate the facts, interview witnesses, and determine what traffic laws someone may have violated. Once again, let the trained experts do the police work! After a pedestrian accident, always call the police and wait at the scene until they arrive. Once the police arrive, they will:

  • Ensure your safety;
  • Interview the parties
  • Identify and interview other witnesses; and
  • Make a police report.

Never decline the police report if the officer makes it available to you at the scene.  If the officer does not give you a police report at the scene, he or she will instruct you on how to obtain the report later. Always get a police report. It will be relevant to your case. 

5. Don't Settle Your Claim Without Speaker with the Attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC 

As you can see from the tips listed above, pedestrian accidents require a lot of expertise to make sure things are done correctly. You need a medical professional to determine your injuries. You need law enforcement to report on the scene. You may think that after the accident is cleared and information is exchanged, everything is done. But it isn’t. The accident scene may be cleared, but now your legal case begins. Once the accident occurs, you need legal expertise to handle your legal claim. You do not want to handle your case alone!

After your accident, the pedestrian accident attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, will use their legal knowledge, experience, and expertise to handle every aspect of your case. They will:

  • Offer a free consultation to meet with you personally and discuss your case;
  • Establish a case plan and discuss with you the most appropriate legal action to take;
  • Collect all relevant evidence;
  • Interview all witnesses;
  • Determine fault;
  • Value your injuries and damages;
  • Negotiate with the insurance companies;
  • File a law suit in court, if necessary; and
  • Work to settle your claim for the maximum compensation you are entitled to under the law.

All of these tasks require legal expertise if you are going to be successful in your legal claim for financial compensation. When you are injured, you need a medical professional to assess your injuries. When you’re in an accident, you want the police to investigate what happened and make a report. And when you take on a pedestrian accident lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries, you need the legal expertise of the Kansas City personal injury lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC. We will help you settle your case and make sure you are fully compensated for all your damages.

Mistakes a Driver of a Vehicle Should Avoid After a Pedestrian Accident 

Here are five things you should not do if you are the driver of a vehicle and strike a pedestrian with your vehicle. As you will see, whether you are a pedestrian or a driver of a vehicle, when you are in a pedestrian accident, you will want to do the same things that everyone should do at any other accident, and you should avoid making many of the same mistakes that so many people make after any other car accident. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

1. Don't Leave the Scene of the Accident

Never leave the scene of the accident if you hit a pedestrian with your car. Leaving the scene constitutes a “hit and run” and is a crime. If you commit a hit and run by not stopping at the scene and providing assistance to the pedestrian you hit, you may be arrested and pay a hefty fine. Never leave the scene of a pedestrian accident until the police have determined that it is safe and appropriate to leave.  

2. Don't Admit Fault

Just because you are driving a big, heavy vehicle and the pedestrian you hit may be injured, don’t assume that the accident was your fault. The pedestrian may be injured, but fault is not determined by the nature and degree of their injuries. Fault is only determined by facts demonstrating that someone caused the accident to happen. Until the police make a report and your attorney collects all the relevant evidence, you cannot be sure who caused the accident. The pedestrian may have violated a traffic law by:

  • Crossing the intersection too soon;
  • Walking on the road;
  • Not paying attention, or
  • Being careless or negligent.

Until you have all the facts, never assume the accident was your fault.

3. Don't Handle the Matter Privately With the Pedestrian

Even if the pedestrian does not appear to be injured and insists that you settle the matter privately “without calling the police and getting insurance companies and lawyers involved,” don’t try to settle everything privately. Let the experts handle the case and make sure the settlement process is done correctly. Only a doctor can determine if someone is injured. The police are responsible for investigating of the scene. And your attorney is the expert at handling legal claims. Just because the pedestrian says they are not injured at the scene doesn’t mean they won’t experience (or claim) injuries later. Your lawyer is the legal expert. Let your lawyer handle these legal issues and settle your case for you.    

4. Don't Just Accept the Pedestrian's Valuation of the Damages

If you hit a pedestrian with your car, there is a high likelihood that they are going to suffer some sort of injury. If they do, they likely will claim that you were at fault, their injuries were severe, and their damages were significant. This may be, but don’t just accept the pedestrian’s version of the case. Let your expert attorney demonstrate fault, confirm the pedestrian’s injuries with medical reports and evaluations, and determine an appropriate value of the damages—both for the pedestrian and for you.  

5. Don't Drink and Drive

Let’s not be naïve. We all understand that sometimes you get in accidents. And sometimes those accidents are your fault. We all make mistakes. At Foster Wallace, LLC our Kansas City based personal injury law firm is not here to judge your behavior, cast blame, or make excuses. We are here to help you achieve the best outcome for you in your case. And sometimes the best outcome is being able to learn from your mistakes in a productive way so that you can resolve your case fairly and move forward - financially and personally. We are not here to lecture you or reprimand you. We are here to help you.

If, in fact, you hit a pedestrian with your car because you were intoxicated, distracted, or simply exercising poor judgement, let us help you be accountable and resolve your case in a way that will help you and your accident victim move forward. Let us help you understand:

  • What you may have done wrong;
  • What consequences resulted;
  • What to expect moving forward;
  • How the legal process works;
  • How to resolve your case fairly;
  • What to learn from this experience; and
  • How to avoid this experience again.

Most importantly, please don’t drink and drive.

Michael Foster
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Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney