$5 million settlement
We recently won a $5 million settlement for a wrongful death & injury case to survivor due to car crash.
Pedestrian Accidents in Indianapolis
The pedestrian accident attorneys at Stephenson Rife represent clients throughout Indiana to make sure they get the compensation they deserve when injured by a negligent driver. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Common sense tells us that when a car and a pedestrian collide, the pedestrian will never emerge victorious. We’re all aware of the dangers vehicles present to those on foot, and we’d like to believe that we’re always on the lookout for one another, whether we’re walking or behind the wheel. Yet, there is a recent and unsettling trend happening on our roads – not just across the U.S., but also here in Indiana.
When the Governors Highway Safety Association looked at the most recent pedestrian fatality data, the statistics were disturbing. It was early 2017 when researchers looked at the numbers from the first half of the previous year and found that there was a 17 percent jump in the number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads.
Unfortunately, the increase in deaths was not an outlier. From 2010 to 2015, pedestrian fatalities jumped by 25 percent, meaning that pedestrians now account for the largest proportion of traffic fatalities recorded in the past 25 years.
Safety advocates obviously weren’t pleased to see this news. Many had hoped that 2015 would have been the pinnacle of the problem, not a sign of things to come. In 2015 alone, nearly 130,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries and, on average, a pedestrian died every 1.6 hours in the U.S. Yet, despite the press releases and safety awareness campaigns, the numbers still increased the following year. For all of us paying attention to the trend, it was confounding, though not entirely unexpected.
As 2017 progressed, more government research backed up the early reporting from 2016. By the end of the year, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in the U.S., a 9 percent increase from the year before and a rate not seen since 1990.
What is Behind the Increase in Pedestrian Deaths?
The GHSA said that many different factors likely contributed to the increase. Economic conditions, demographics, weather, fuel prices, vehicle miles traveled and the amount of time people spend walking all played some role. However, the GHSA also noted one likely contributor that has been the subject of great scrutiny from safety advocates in recent years – driver distraction.
Over the past decade, smartphones have evolved from a rare luxury item to an integrated tool that is ever-present in most Americans’ daily lives. They are so indispensable that many of us struggle to resist the urge to compulsively check our phones. Drivers and walkers alike are prone to take a quick look at their mobile devices even when common sense says they shouldn’t.
The time it takes to send one text can distract a driver traveling at 55 miles per hour long enough to cover the distance of a football field without looking at the road. Most road safety advocates agree that distracted driving plays a role in the increase of pedestrian deaths. Even pedestrian mobile device usage accounts for part of the jump. The National Safety Council has repeatedly cautioned walkers against looking at their phones when they should be paying attention to their surroundings.
Beyond Distraction: Other Ways Pedestrians are at Risk of Getting Injured
Pedestrians are much more likely than other road users to suffer fatal injuries in an accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than vehicle occupants to die in a crash, which comes as no surprise when you consider how little protection a pedestrian has when struck by a 2,000-pound automobile.
There are many things that make a pedestrian more vulnerable. First is a lack of visibility. This explains why, in 2015, nearly 75 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred in the dark. Second is alcohol. Nearly half of crashes resulting in a pedestrian fatality involved alcohol use by the driver or the pedestrian. Third is infrastructure. Approximately 72 percent of crashes resulting in pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersection locations.
Pedestrian Accidents Can Happen Anywhere
Some places are definitely more likely to host pedestrian accidents, but that doesn’t mean that only residents in the most populous cities should be concerned. For example, Indiana fares better than many other states when comparing the overall number of pedestrian fatalities. Our state has a lower pedestrian fatality rate (1.37 deaths per 100,000 residents) than most other states in the U.S. But even with that relatively low rate, officials projected that 95 pedestrian deaths occurred in Indiana in 2015.
When you compare our recent trends to the rest of the nation, Indiana’s increase in pedestrian traffic deaths has been particularly steep. From 2010 to 2014, the average annual number of pedestrian fatalities was 67.6. That means 2015 saw an increase of well over one-third of the average from the previous five years.
Statistics from the GHSA offered hope that the final 2016 tally in Indiana will be an improvement from the abysmal 2015 statistics. After the first six months of the year, there were 41 pedestrian deaths in Indiana, which indicates a slight drop from the year before, but still an increase compared with numbers from the past decade.
Whether you choose to see recent statistics through the lens of an optimist or a pessimist, one takeaway is clear: Pedestrian deaths are completely preventable, and even one is too many.
PEDESTRIAN NEARLY DIED AFTER BEING KNOCKED INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC BY A BIKE RIDER
M.A. was walking on the sidewalk along a bridge on his way home from work one evening when he was struck by a bicyclist who was riding his bicycle on the bridge in violation of local ordinance. M.A. was knocked into the path of oncoming traffic and was run over by at least one car and nearly died as a result of his injuries.
M.A. was hospitalized for several weeks after this pedestrian accident and incurred nearly $1 million in medical expenses. The bicyclist contested liability and, more importantly, claimed that he had no insurance coverage. Eventually, the bicyclist filed bankruptcy to avoid paying any jury verdict personally.
Attorneys Stephenson and Rife dug into the background of the bicyclist and where he had been residing for several years prior to the accident. The bicyclist had maintained his sister’s house as his primary residence, although he had rented another apartment. After receiving suit papers, the insurance company initially offered $30,000 to settle the claim.
After a series of depositions and through investigation, a confidential settlement for was reached for the benefit of M.A.
MORE PEDESTRIAN CASE RESULTS
What Can Be Done to Prevent Pedestrian Collisions?
Driving a vehicle means wielding tremendous power. When behind the wheel, we must always be mindful of how vulnerable pedestrians are. This means being particularly cautious when driving in areas where pedestrian traffic is especially high, such as intersections or school zones. But it also means developing an awareness of pedestrians in areas where one wouldn’t expect to see a pedestrian, especially because that’s where most pedestrian deaths are more likely to happen. Driving responsibly (i.e., not speeding, running red lights or looking at your cell phone) is the best way to ensure you aren’t posing a threat to pedestrians.
Our infrastructure plays a significant role in the safety of residents and, thus, our city planners, lawmakers and officials have a responsibility to improve the conditions of our roads to make them more accommodating for those traveling by foot. More sidewalks, better lighting and more pedestrian crossing signs can dramatically improve safety conditions for pedestrians.
Pedestrians can also do their part to reverse the trend of increasing pedestrian deaths. Pedestrians should stick to designated crossings and sidewalks when possible. They should choose hailing a ride or other form of transportation rather than walking while intoxicated. If walking at night in poorly lit areas, pedestrians should wear bright or reflective clothing and stay as far away from roads as possible.
Our roads can be safer. We can buck these recent trends and prove that man and machine can co-exist on our roadways. But improvement won’t come without action. By being more aware of the problem and looking out for our fellow travelers, we might also ensure that these preventable injuries and deaths become a thing of the past.
Pedestrian Injuries in Indianapolis
Pedestrians – whether walking, running, jogging, hiking, or merely trying to cross the road – are at risk of being hit and killed by motor vehicles. Pedestrians were actually one of the few groups of road users in Indiana to experience an increase in fatalities over the last several years. Many more – an estimated 69,000 — received injuries that were not fatal. When others are distracted, our attorneys stay focused on your needs.
Anyone who walks on or near a road in Indiana is in danger. However, certain factors make the danger more extreme for some than for others:
- A vast majority (73%) of pedestrian fatalities occur in urban settings, on city streets (including in Indianapolis and other cities throughout Indiana).
- Over two-thirds of the fatalities happen at non-intersections, such as when crossing in the middle of the block or jogging along the shoulder of the road.
- 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.
- Being a pedestrian is especially dangerous for senior citizens and children.
- The fatality rate for male pedestrians is double that for females.
- Almost half of the traffic crashes resulting in the death of a pedestrian involved alcohol, consumer by either the driver or the pedestrian.
If you live in Indianapolis, you know that our streets are dangerous for pedestrians. In 2011 the Indianapolis area saw 294 crashes involving pedestrians, and 29 were fatal, up from the 2010 fatality count of 21.
What causes pedestrian accidents?
A pedestrian can be injured or killed because of his or her own actions or because of the negligence or recklessness of a driver. Sometimes those on foot are in a hurry and choose to cross the street in the middle of the block rather than at a crosswalk, or they cross the street when oncoming traffic has the green light rather than waiting for the light to change so they may safely cross. Children at play dart into the road without stopping to look for traffic; sometimes they are too small to be seen by a truck or bus backing up.
Driver distraction causes many motor vehicle accidents, including those in which a pedestrian is hit. Texting, talking on a call phone, taking eyes off the road to attend to passengers, referring to GPS maps – all of these activities can distract a driver and cause him to run down a person walking or jogging by the road. Many states have laws prohibiting use of a cell phone in a school zone, but these laws are often ignored. All too many drivers try to make it through a yellow light before it turns red, or even blatantly run red lights, endangering pedestrians in the crosswalk.
At Stephenson Rife, our pedestrian accident attorney knows how to conduct a thorough investigation into an accident’s causes to determine the best course of action for our injured clients and those who have lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident. Call Mike Stephenson at 317-680-2501 or use our online contact form to arrange a free consultation.
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Pedestrians do have a legal duty to follow the laws which apply to them, such as the Indiana law requiring pedestrians to obey traffic signals. Pedestrians do not have the right of way when the traffic signal is against them (in other words, walking when the sign says “Don’t Walk”).
But many times a driver is found to have been negligent in the operation of his or her motor vehicle, and an Indiana personal injury attorney such as Mike Stephenson can win financial compensation for the victim. Such situations include those in which the driver failed to yield the right of way, ran a red light, rolled through a stop sign, was speeding or driving while drunk or distracted.
Under these conditions, Mike Stephenson’s many decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured citizens of Indianapolis and elsewhere in the state of Indiana can help you collect compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and financial loss. If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, Mike Stephenson can assist you in the filing of a wrongful death case against the negligent driver.