More than 5,000 pedestrians lose their lives each year due to accidents with motor vehicles. Drivers may be used to seeing school buses and children walking on the road throughout most of the year, but things shift when summer arrives.
While most school buses are taking a rest, there are heightened dangers for pedestrians during the summer months. Not only are more children outside playing, sometimes unsupervised, but there are also more people outside in general.
When the temperatures warm up, there are higher risks of pedestrian accidents throughout the summer. If you are planning to be on the road or enjoy the warmer weather in West Virginia, it’s helpful to understand the risks as well as your rights in the event of an accident.
Risk of Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that pedestrian accidents are on the rise. A pedestrian is killed nearly every two hours, and another injured every seven minutes in the U.S. Of all traffic fatalities in this county, 14% involve pedestrians.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, children and senior citizens have the greatest risk of pedestrian accidents. There are several reasons for these higher risks, including:
- Smaller people are more difficult for drivers to notice.
- Young children and older adults may be unfamiliar with safety rules and the layout of crosswalks.
- Numerous pedestrians may be walking in and around parking lots and parked cars.
- Children could play in the roadway and dart unexpectedly into traffic.
Even though these are the most vulnerable population, anyone can be hurt in a pedestrian accident. Location matters as well. Some of the most common places that pedestrian accidents occur during the summer include:
- Sections of road that lack designated crosswalks or sidewalks
- Roads that are poorly lit at night
- Locations near homes and playgrounds
- Heavily populated communities
- Areas around resorts, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment
Important Summertime Pedestrian Safety Tips
If you or your loved ones are ready to spend more time outdoors this summer, your safety is paramount. You can keep safe from harm by paying particular mind to the following pedestrian safety tips:
- Be alert to motor vehicles. Assume that motor vehicles are in the area and use extreme caution always.
- Stay in designated crosswalks. When given the option, always use designated sidewalks and crosswalks to remain safe.
- Follow all traffic laws. As a pedestrian, you may have the right of way, but you also have a duty to follow traffic laws. This can also keep you safe from injury and a potentially fatal accident.
- Stay visible and predictable. Wear bright clothing when walking on or near roadways and avoid making unpredictable moves. Make sure motorists see you before stepping onto a road.
- Supervise young children. Keep children under strict supervision when crossing the road and always supervise children under the age of 10 when outdoors. When possible, have children play in areas that are removed from moving vehicles.
If an accident does occur, it’s important to understand that you have rights.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident
When a pedestrian accident is caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to make a claim for full and fair damages. These might include the cost of medical care, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Above all else, you should avoid speaking with an insurance company until you discuss your situation with a qualified accident attorney. An insurance representative likely won’t have your best interests in mind and could try to minimize their client’s fault. Your attorney can investigate your case, collect evidence of wrongdoing, and protect your rights to recovery.
Speak with a Qualified Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Unfortunately, a pedestrian accident can happen to anyone and at any time. Summer months increase these risks because there are more people outside as well as out of town visitors who may be distracted when they are in unfamiliar territory. When a negligent driver strikes a pedestrian, they should be held responsible for their actions as well as any damages.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., our experienced personal injury attorneys want to protect you and your loved ones this summer. Our West Virginia accident lawyers have established a reputation for fighting for the rights of serious accident victims and their families.
Contact our office now at 1-800-497-0234 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.