Motor vehicle accidents resulting in pedestrian fatalities are increasing in the US, and in 2019, the United States experienced a 30-year high in the number of pedestrian fatalities. When pedestrians are involved in a motor vehicle accident, they are likely to suffer disabling, potentially fatal injuries. When pedestrian accidents occur, an auto accident attorney in Illinois can help surviving family members pursue compensation for the loss of life of a loved one.
Pedestrian Deaths in the US
It is estimated that in 2019, 6,590 pedestrians and cyclists lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents. This was a 5% increase over the number of fatalities recorded in 2018, and significantly higher than the 5,977 pedestrians and cyclists who died in 2017. Over just the past 10 years, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States has risen 42%. This data highlights the increasingly perilous risk pedestrians face throughout the country. These accidents occur in parking lots, in parking garages and parking lots, as well as sidewalks, crosswalks, and a long list of other locations where pedestrians and vehicles can come into close contact.
Causes and Liability for Pedestrian Accidents
Common causes of pedestrian accidents include distracted driving, intoxicated driving, excessive speed, poor weather conditions, and failure to adhere to posted road signs. Other causes included improper lane use, pedestrians crossing intersections at unmarked crosswalks, as well as the increasing prevalence of silent electric cars that pedestrians can’t hear approaching.
Drivers are almost always the party responsible for causing a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian. Many times, these accidents are caused by bad decisions made by the driver. These include talking on cell phones, reaching for objects in the passenger compartment, daydreaming, and other types of distracted driving.
The type of vehicle a driver drivers also plays a role in increasing the risk of a pedestrian accident. The data shows that SUV’s are involved in a growing number of accidents, and from 2013 to 2017, the rate of SUV involved pedestrian accidents rose 50%. By comparison, the rate involving passenger cars only rose 30%.
In addition to motorist liability, other parties can be held liable when a pedestrian is killed in a motor vehicle accident. City agencies can be held responsible for not maintaining marked crosswalks and traffic signals, while property owners can be held liable for creating obstructions on sidewalks and crosswalks that forced pedestrians into the flow of traffic.