The number of victims who are hurt or killed each year in pedestrian accidents is high. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that almost 5,00 victims are killed each year in pedestrian accidents and another 66,000 are seriously injured.
According to statistics from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately 2 percent of car accidents that occur each year in the state involve pedestrians, yet pedestrians account for just under 15 percent of car accident deaths.
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Knowing when, where and why pedestrian accidents happen can help walkers stay safe. The majority of pedestrian accidents that occur in Virginia happen in urban areas, although approximately one-fourth of these incidents do occur in rural areas.
There are many different reasons for so many accidents. Visibility is definitely an issue, with approximately 70 percent of pedestrian accidents occurring after the sun has gone down. Just under 30 percent of pedestrian accidents happen between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. and slightly under 25 percent occurring during the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
A lack of marked crosswalks is common, which leads to pedestrians trying to cross busy streets and freeways when there is no guarantee they will be able to do so safely. Data shows that 70 percent of pedestrian accidents happen at non-intersections. Other common areas for pedestrian accidents are bike lanes, driveways, medians, road shoulders, sidewalks, and shared path areas.
Another frequent factor is alcohol, with 50 percent of pedestrian accidents classified as alcohol-related, with either the vehicle driver under the influence of alcohol or the pedestrian who is struck.
Age also appears to increase a person’s risk factor. Children under the age of 15 and adults who are over the age of 65 are more likely to be injured or killed in a pedestrian accident. Five percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents and 15 percent of pedestrian accident injuries are to children under the age of 15. Twenty percent of pedestrian fatalities were victims who were age 65 or older.
If You Are Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
If you are injured in an accident as a pedestrian, you are generally not without recourse. Most cases of this nature are brought under a theory of negligence law, which in Virginia means there are four criteria that must be shown in court. You must be able to show that (1) a duty of care exists between plaintiff and defendant; (2) that duty was breached; (3) you suffered tangible damages; and (4) that damage was incurred solely due to the defendant’s conduct, and not because of any other superseding cause.
A general, common-law duty of care exists between motorists and pedestrians, with both required to actively avoid any conduct that would deliberately cause harm.
Consult a Virginia Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, contact a Virginia pedestrian accident attorney to find out what your legal options may be. At Shapiro & Appleton, we will work diligently to get you the best possible outcome based on the circumstances of your case. Call our office today for a free case evaluation.