Several recent incidents reveal the harm pedestrians suffer after being hit by automobiles in Washington. In one case in King County, a car struck a woman, but the car was moving very slowly and consequently, she suffered only very minor injuries. Another Washington pedestrian, however, died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after an unidentified driver hit him and drove away.
Each year, more than 4,000 pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This comes out to between 11 and 12 percent of all traffic fatalities. An estimated 59,000 pedestrians suffered some kind of injury in such accidents in 2009.
Pedestrian Collision Statistics
The statistics indicate how pedestrian injuries and fatalities commonly occur. According to NHTSA, alcohol use – by driver or pedestrian – was a factor in 48 percent of crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities. It also appears that more traffic in the city leads to more accidents; almost 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas.
The vast majority of pedestrian fatalities, 90 percent, occurred during normal weather conditions, rather than rain, snow or fog. Almost 70 percent, however, occurred at night.
While drivers and pedestrians can come to their own conclusions based on these observations, NHTSA has the following safety reminders:
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Drivers often fail to yield to the right-of-way when turning at intersections.
- Pedestrians should use designated crosswalks and stop to look before crossing.
- Pedestrians should stop and look around parked vehicles blocking their view of the street.
- Pedestrians can increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing reflective clothing.
Liability for Pedestrian Accidents
More than one party can be held liable when a pedestrian is injured by an automobile. Those who can be found negligent include:
- The driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian
- The party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, roadway or parking lot where the collision occurred
- The pedestrian
Those who have been involved in a pedestrian collision should contact an experienced personal injury attorney before discussing compensation for injuries with insurance adjusters or the driver.