How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian
Topics: pedestrian accident
It can happen at any time. It could be while you’re on a leisurely stroll with the dog, during a quick walk to the grocery store, or simply just giving your body—and your pedometer—a workout. We’re talking about a vehicle-related pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian Accidents By the Numbers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2016, up from less than 5,500 the previous year. That means, on average, a pedestrian is killed every 1.5 hours in a traffic crash. Injuries are even more common, with nearly 60,000 pedestrians requiring some medical attention.
Of course, we’re not saying you must stay indoors. Walking is good for you and certainly safer than getting behind the wheel (for comparison, there were approximately two million car accidents resulting in injury in the U.S. in 2016, with approximately 37,500 resulting in fatality). We’re simply saying that pedestrians need to be mindful of drivers and their surroundings.
Most Common Pedestrian Fatalities
The prevalence of cellphones has many walkers looking at a screen instead of what’s around them; this video of individuals running into walls, parked cars, and fountains shows a compilation of humorous incidents—but when someone is hurt it’s no laughing matter.
Of course, talking and texting aren’t the only culprits. Here’s are the factors involved in the most common pedestrian fatalities:
Distracted drivers or pedestrians
Pedestrians walking on the road
Pedestrians ignoring road signs or traffic lights
Poor road conditions
Inclement weather, which can lead to decreased visibility
Pedestrians walking at night
Age (very young and elderly pedestrians)
Driving or walking while intoxicated
5 Things To Do After Being Hit By a Car
While accidents can happen to anyone, there are steps you can take to ensure your health, safety, and rights are protected if you are a pedestrian hit by a vehicle.
1. Get Off the Road
First, if you’re on the street or in a crosswalk and are conscious and able to move, get to safety and away from more traffic. Assuming you have your phone on your, call local police or 911 and wait for them to arrive on the scene. Make sure the driver also stays at the scene until police arrive. Unless it’s a rural area or late at night, there will likely be other bystanders stopping, which may help to ensure the driver doesn’t leave the scene.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you think you’re unharmed, many pedestrian injuries do not manifest until days or even weeks later. Getting hit by a car may leave you in shock where you don't feel the pain of a broken bone or internal injuries. Let paramedics check out your injuries and take you to the ER if needed. If you refuse medical attention at the scene of the accident, see a doctor as soon as possible to ensure any injuries you may have sustained are not serious. Document all accident-related expenses, including medical bills and proof of lost wages.
Some of the most common injuries pedestrians sustain when hit by a car include:
Spinal cord injuries
3. Gather Information
If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, ask the driver for his or her driver’s license, insurance and contact information and license plate number. If there were any witnesses, it is essential to get their information and statements as well. If you are able, take photos of the vehicle and the area where the accident occurred, including the car, license plate, traffic light, intersection, and street signs. If you’re not able to collect information and take photos yourself, ask a bystander for help. If the driver flees the scene of the accident, try to get the vehicle’s license plate number.
4. Contact an Attorney
After an accident, it is vital to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who will protect your rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies often try to pay as little compensation as possible or even deny valid claims. In some cases, the municipality where the accident occurred may be held liable for a pedestrians injuries due to the failure of traffic control devices (stop signs, traffic lights) or poorly designed roadways and intersections.
A pedestrian accident lawyer who is experienced in dealing with insurance adjusters and local municipalities can help to ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and other damages.
5. Contact the Driver’s Insurance Company and Your Own
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that if you have car insurance, you may be covered by your personal injury protection policy (PIP) even though you were injured as a pedestrian hit by a car.
When you speak to the driver’s insurance company, answer questions honestly but do not admit fault. Avoid statements such as “It was my fault” or “I’m sorry.” Do not give a recorded statement or sign anything without first speaking to a pedestrian accident attorney.
Whether it’s due to the increase in elderly citizens, tipsy tourists, or just poor infrastructure, according to CityLab.com, Florida is one of the most deadly states when it comes to people being killed or injured in pedestrian-related accidents. The accidents are most often due to the inattention of both drivers and pedestrians. In many cases, the driver may be at fault for hitting a pedestrian, but not always. It is imperative to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings when walking to ensure you safely make it to your destination. These useful pedestrian safety tips from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) can help keep you safe.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one who was a pedestrian hit by a car, our skilled bicycle and pedestrian accident lawyers will protect your rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our personal injury attorneys at 352-888-4484 or toll-free at 866-9-LOWMAN