People who like to walk sometimes have a hard time finding a place to walk. Some cities and suburbs have nice trails and parks to walk in, but many other towns have almost nowhere to walk safely.
Have you ever tried to walk home from the garage where you dropped off your car for service? You might have felt as if you were walking onto the Indianapolis 500 Speedway. Despite some efforts at urban renewal that feature pedestrian-only zones, the U.S. will never be known for being exceptionally pedestrian-friendly. Our society is simply too strongly built on the automobile and roadways.
That means that walking at any time, especially in the hours of dusk and evening, can be hazardous to your health. The statistics bear this out:
- 70,000 walkers are hit and hurt by vehicles every year
- 4,000 are killed by vehicles
- Pedestrian deaths are the one category that has experienced an increase in mortality in recent years, not a decrease, as is the case for several other categories of vehicle accidents
Among the many, many dangers that walkers face as they try to make their way across city streets and busy suburban thoroughfares are:
- Drivers so intent on making a right turn on red that they hardly stop, and they often do not look at where pedestrians might be crossing.
- Any study will show that drivers are texting and talking more than ever while operating their vehicles. Some might notice other vehicles out of the corner of their eyes, but few see pedestrians.
- In many urban areas, it often seems that work is continually ongoing on certain streets. Work sites are among the most dangerous walking areas.
- More young people are going green in many cities, which means that many more scooters, motorcycles and bicycles are flooding the streets. People who use these modes of transportation area accustomed to having the right of way and of zooming in and out of lanes. They can be a huge danger to pedestrians.
- As our population ages, more of the walkers outdoors are elderly. They are one of the highest categories for frequency of pedestrian accidents. The elderly do not react as quickly and often get caught in the middle of the road or enter the road when they should not. Children are the other high-risk category.
If you like or need to walk in your city or suburb, here are some tips to keep as safe as possible:
- Wear reflective clothing whenever possible. Many pedestrian accidents occur at night, and walkers do not always make themselves as visible as possible. Reflective clothing helps a lot.
- Don’t cross streets except at intersections. That shortcut might look good, and it is often inconvenient to walk all the way up to the intersection where there is a crosswalk, but it might save your life. A large number of pedestrian accidents occur when people cross busy streets where motorists do not expect to see them.
- Stay on the sidewalk if the street has one. Stay out of the road if at all possible. Drivers are often not looking for people to be walking in the road or even on the shoulder.
If you do get into a pedestrian accident, do not be surprised if the driver at fault will try to make it your fault, for any number of reasons. Don’t hesitate to call a pedestrian accident lawyer so that you can have someone to defend you.
You should also be wary of insurance companies that offer a paltry settlement after your accident. That amount, which might seem quite large to you, will often not cover your future medical bills, lost wages at work, etc. Allow a pedestrian accident attorney to fight for the compensation that you will need. S/he will have a much better idea, from experience in similar cases, of just how much money you will need to recover.
Don’t forget that many drivers’ liability insurance policies have limits for how much can be paid out to pedestrians who have been injured. Will that be enough for your complete recovery? In many cases, the answer is “No.” Allow a pedestrian accident lawyer to seek other sources of compensation, which could even include a driver’s personal assets.
You were walking, you were brutally struck by a vehicle, you are in no shape to fight for yourself. That’s where a competent pedestrian accident attorney comes in. Let him/her argue for you and enable you to recover without the stress of huge medical bills or worries over lost work time. Contact a personal injury lawyer today.