According to recent news reports, pedestrian deaths have steadily been on the rise over the past couple of years, with more and more individuals being struck while simply out walking around their neighborhoods and other local areas.
In the first half of 2021, there was a 13% increase from the year prior, with 63 pedestrians being killed by motorists in Maryland alone. In 2019, there were 49 pedestrians struck and killed and 56 in 2020.
Nationwide, there has been an overall 46% increase in pedestrian deaths in the past decade, with the majority of the increases happening in just the past couple of years. In 2019, there were 2,951 pedestrian fatalities just in the months of January through June. And 3,441 deaths in that same period in 2020.
Local authorities and transportation experts are growing concerned as this puts people who are simply outside walking or doing other daily activities increasingly at risk. People should not be afraid to simply go outside and live their lives, especially parents with young children running around.
If you or a loved one are involved in a Maryland pedestrian accident, the experienced and compassionate team of attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can assist you. We understand how devastating these accidents can be and are dedicated to helping our clients get the help and compensation they need and deserve.
What Are the Leading Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
According to the report linked above, transportation experts say that inadequate lighting and sidewalks that prioritize pedestrian safety, as well as high driving speeds, have been contributing to pedestrian fatalities for over a decade. However, recent accident spikes are believed to be the result of driving behaviors that stemmed from the pandemic.
When traffic dropped significantly at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers took advantage of the emptier roadways by driving more erratically and at higher speeds. Some believe that fewer police on the roads also made people think they could more easily get away with dangerous driving.
But truthfully, according to transportation experts, traffic accidents as a whole have been increasing more and more over the years as city road planning has prioritized fast-moving traffic rather than pedestrian-friendly speeds. They say our society has become so car-centric that we have lost sight of infrastructure in regard to pedestrian safety.
Overall, some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Poorly designed intersections
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Reckless driving, especially speeding
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
How Pedestrian Accidents Can Be Prevented
It is both the responsibility of city municipalities and individuals to take action to prevent continued spikes in pedestrian accidents.
Local governments and transportation planners need to be more mindful of how they design their roadways and intersections. This includes reducing speed limits where needed, building safer walkways, installing better lighting, designing intersections with traffic and pedestrians in mind, and installing more enforcement devices such as speed and red-light cameras.
As individuals, we should pay closer attention to our driving and the pedestrians around us. This means avoiding distractions, paying closer attention to speed limits, and being more cautious about checking for pedestrians before making turns or proceeding through intersections.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
If you are hit by a car as a pedestrian, your health and safety should be your number one priority. So if possible, move yourself out of the way of oncoming traffic to avoid putting yourself at further risk. Once you are out of harm’s way, call 911 immediately or have someone else call for you and make sure they send the police and emergency responders to attend to your injuries.
Once you have received immediate medical attention and talked to the police, it can be further helpful to gather evidence of your own. Take as many pictures of the scene of the accident as you can, including your injuries and the car that hit you. It is also beneficial to collect witness statements or contact information in case they are needed to help support your claim of what happened.
After you leave the accident scene, seek further medical care if needed, hold onto copies of all medical documents and bills, and make sure an official police report is filed. You should also avoid talking to the guilty party’s insurance company until you have consulted with an attorney.
Insurance companies might try to contact you, claiming they need information, but they often do this to get you to admit fault or to get you to say something else that can be used against you to deny your claim. So always speak with a lawyer first as they can offer you guidance and ensure your rights are protected.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers
If you or a loved one are injured as a pedestrian by a negligent driver, our team of attorneys can help. The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be traumatizing and difficult to manage. Our compassionate Maryland personal injury attorneys understand what you are going through and know what it takes to hold the guilty party accountable so you can get the compensation you need and deserve.
At Zirkin & Schmerling Law, we have years of experience helping pedestrians who are injured by negligent drivers. Contact us or call us at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our lawyers today.