Pedestrian Accidents

Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Most people realize that riding in a car can be dangerous and that their lives can change or be ruined in the blink of an eye because of another driver’s inattention or poor road conditions. Walking, on the other hand, is considered to be a healthy activity — something that promotes heart health and extends your life. While there are myriad benefits to walking or jogging, there are also risks associated with being a pedestrian. Any time you are sharing the road with cars, SUVs, busses, and trucks, you are at a disadvantage.

Facts and Statistics

  • In 2019 a pedestrian was killed in a traffic accident every 85 minutes in the United States.
  • Nationally, between 2009 to 2018, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by 53%, from 4,109 in 2009 to 6,283 deaths in 2018.
  • Passenger cars are responsible for a larger number of deaths than SUVs, but the number of pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs increased at a much greater rate over the ten year period — 81%
  • In Indiana, the number of collisions involving pedestrians decreased from 1,653 in 2018 to 1,573 in 2019, a 5% drop.
  • To look at it in another way, 7.6 out of every 1,000 collisions in Indiana in 2018 involved pedestrians. In 2019, that dropped to 7.2 out of every 1,000 collisions.
  • There were 1.7 pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 people in Indiana in 2018.
  • Not all Indiana counties have similar statistics. For example, the House district comprising the lower part of Marion County (Indianapolis) had the 68th most fatalities out of all 435 House districts in the nation between 2008-2017.
  • This works out to 2.29 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people in just Indiana’s 7th Congressional District.
  • Pedestrian accidents occurred more often in urban areas (81%) than rural areas in 2018.
  • 74% of pedestrian accidents occurred not at an intersection in 2018, and 17% took place at intersections.
  • 76% of pedestrian accidents occurred after dark in 2018.
  • Over the past 10 years, the average age of pedestrian traffic deaths has increased from 45 to 48.

Factors in the National Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities

  1. Increase in the number of light trucks and SUVs on the road:
    Obviously, the heavier the vehicle is, the more damage it can do. Even the lightest cars weigh over 2,000 pounds, but the average SUV weighs 4,799 pounds, 40% more than the average car.
  2. Population growth:
    The U.S. population has increased by approximately 6% in the past decade. This increase is reflected in the number of vehicles on the road. We have grown from a country with 256 million registered vehicles on the road to one with more than 276 million registered vehicles.
  3. Weather conditions:
    The Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests that warmer weather could have contributed to higher rates of pedestrian accidents because more people have taken advantage of the pleasant temperatures to venture out in the evening. They relied on data from the NHTSA that showed that “from 2009 to 2018, the number of nighttime pedestrian fatalities increased by 67%, compared to a 16% increase in daytime pedestrian fatalities.”
  4. Fuel prices:
    When adjusted for inflation, fuel prices have decreased from a high of $3.69 per gallon in 2013 to 2020’s average of $2.24 per gallon. This may have incentivized the increase in the purchase of larger vehicles as well as the increase in annual vehicle miles traveled.
  5. Vehicle miles traveled:
    The number of annual vehicle miles traveled in the US has increased from 3.03 trillion in 2008 to 3.23 trillion in 2019.
  6. Amount of time people spend walking:
    The CDC reports that the number of adults who walk for transportation, fun, or exercise has increased 6% over the past 5 years. The number of safe walking paths hasn’t kept pace, so many of those walkers are gaining their steps in less than optimum environments.
  7. Changing patterns of drug use, including the decriminalization of maijuana:
    The NIH reported that almost 44% of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for drugs. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), after alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of drivers involved in collisions.
  8. Increased safety of passenger vehicles:
    Pedestrian deaths account for 17% of all accident fatalities, something that hasn’t happened since 1982. This is because as the rate of pedestrian deaths has increased, the rate of vehicle occupant deaths has decreased. Safety features, such as airbags, protect passengers and drivers, but walkers, joggers, people getting their mail, and good Samaritans who have stopped to help other accident victims are just as unprotected and vulnerable as they ever were.
  9. Increase in the use of smartphones:
    The number of cell phones used in the United States increased by over 400% between 2008 and 2018. The amount of wireless data used increased by 7,000% in that same time frame. Distracted drivers who are texting or checking their phones can cause accidents. For example, 483 of Indiana’s 2019 collisions were caused by drivers using cell phones. Pedestrians have also been known to ignore their surroundings and take dangerous steps when distracted by cell phones.

Common Causes: How Pedestrian Accidents Occur

Drivers:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (such as eating or using a cell phone)
  • Turning right without checking the crosswalk
  • Driving through a red light or stop sign
  • Driving too close to the shoulder of the road
  • Not checking rearview mirrors or back up camera before reversing

Pedestrians:

  • Walking while wearing listening to podcast or music on earbuds, missing audial clues
  • Distracted walking while texting or talking on the phone
  • Failing to heed Walk/Don’t walk signals
  • Crossing the road in an area that is not a crosswalk
  • Failing to consider a driver’s blind spot when walking behind a parked vehicle
  • Walking in times of poor visibility, such as evening or in fog
  • Walking directly on the road instead of on a sidewalk or shoulder

Locations of pedestrian fatalities in 2018:

  • 59% on non-freeway arterials — main roads
  • 22% on local streets that serve residential areas and downtown traffic
  • 16% on freeways, including interstates (these weren’t people out for strolls; they were motorists who had broken down or had minor accidents and were standing by their cars)

Indiana’s Codes for Pedestrians (Simplified)

Indiana Code IC 9-21-17 has 24 clear cut statutes that pedestrians must follow, such as:

  • When there are Walk/Don’t walk signs, pedestrians must abide by them. They are not allowed to walk when it says “Don’t Walk.” However, they are allowed to continue crossing the road if the “Don’t Walk” sign starts flashing while they are mid-cross.
  • Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle shall not overtake and pass such a stopped vehicle.
  • A pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
  • Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians may not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
  • A pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
  • Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks.
  • A pedestrian may not cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to diagonal crossing movements.
  • If a sidewalk is provided and the sidewalk’s use is practicable, a pedestrian may not walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.
  • If a sidewalk is not available, a pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.
  • If neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, a pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway. If the roadway is two-way, the pedestrian shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.
  • Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a pedestrian upon a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
  • A person may not stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from a person who drives a vehicle unless the person soliciting a ride is faced with an emergency on the roadway, in which case the person may secure a ride to obtain assistance.
  • A person may not stand on a highway for the purpose of soliciting employment or business from the occupant of a vehicle.
  • A person may not stand on or in proximity to a street or highway for the purpose of soliciting the watching or guarding of a vehicle that is parked or about to be parked on a street or highway.
  • A vehicle may not at any time be driven through or within a safety zone.
  • A person who drives a vehicle crossing a sidewalk shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian and all other traffic on the sidewalk.
  • Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of an audible signal and visual signals; or a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal only; a pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to the authorized emergency vehicle.
  • This does not relieve the person who drives an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway or from the duty to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.
  • A person who drives a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog.
  • A pedestrian may not enter or remain upon a bridge or an approach to a bridge beyond the bridge signal, gate, or barrier after a bridge operation signal indication has been given.
  • A pedestrian may not pass through, around, over, or under a crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while the gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.
  • These are all categorized as class C infractions, which in Indiana means that a person who is convicted of them could receive a maximum jail time of 60 days and/or fines of up to $500.

Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents:

Children and adults tend to have varying injuries because of their height differences and where their centers of gravity are.

Other factors are:

  • Vehicle speed
  • The angle of the impact of the vehicle
  • The part of the vehicle that the pedestrian impacts first
  • Vehicle design

Children:

  • 34.6% Head and neck injuries
  • 22.2% Musculoskeletal injuries (upper and lower legs and knees are most frequently injured)
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Chest and abdominal injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lacerations and contusions

Adults:

  • Trauma to head, legs, and pelvis
  • Tibial plateau fractures
  • Ligament injuries to the knee
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lacerations and contusions

Children, Older Adults, and Pedestrian Accidents:

  • Out of all the children under the age of 15 killed in traffic accidents in 2017, 1 in 5 were pedestrians.
  • Children often act impulsively and can dart into traffic quickly.
  • Children are more difficult for drivers to spot, especially drivers in taller vehicles.
  • Almost two-thirds of child pedestrian deaths are males.
  • Almost 10% of all child (particularly toddlers aged 1-3) pedestrian deaths occur in driveways.
  • Children are more likely to suffer pedestrian injuries in areas with high traffic density, many parked vehicles, and few play areas.
  • Older pedestrians over the age of 65 account for 20% of pedestrian deaths and 10% of all pedestrian injuries in 2017.
  • The single highest fatality rate by age and sex is for males 80 and older, at 4.33 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population.
  • Older pedestrians may be slower to react to an oncoming car.
  • Often older citizens give up driving as they age, especially in urban areas.
  • Older people often have fragile bones and are more likely to be killed after being struck than other age groups, according to a study by the National Academies of Science.

How to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident:

  • Be wary when crossing behind parked cars or on driveways.
  • Follow all of the rules of the road, and stick to sidewalks, if they are available.
  • Wear clothing that is light-colored and clearly visible.
  • Avoid walking at night, but if you do, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.
  • Pay attention to traffic signals and Walk/Don’t Walk lights.
  • Don’t try to beat the Don’t Walk light by attempting to run across the street at the last moment.
  • Make eye contact with a driver as he approaches the crosswalk. Don’t just assume that he has seen you.
  • Avoid looking down at your phone as you walk.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol that could delay your reactions.

Educate Your Children on Safe Pedestrian Behavior:

  1. Teach your young children who are catching a school bus the acronym SAFE:
    Stay 5 steps away from the curb.
  2. Always wait until the bus is completely stopped and the driver has signaled that it is ok to board.
  3. Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
  4. Exit the bus when it stops and look to the left, the right, and left again before crossing the street.
  5. When no cars are coming, always walk across the road instead of running.
  6. Always walk on the sidewalk.
  7. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far to the side as you can get.
  8. Never enter the street from between parked cars.
  9. Tell preteens and teens not to listen to music or anything that could distract them or cause them to be unaware of approaching vehicles.
  10. For more information on what to teach your children about pedestrian safety, the NHTSA has a handy guide.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident:

  1. If you can get to the side of the road, do so. Do not stay in a place where you are in danger of being hit by another vehicle.
  2. Phone the police, or ask a witness to phone the police.
  3. Get insurance information from the driver whose car hit you.
  4. Do not admit fault, as anything you say can be twisted and used against you by an insurance company looking to avoid compensating you.
  5. If it is possible to safely take pictures with your cell phone, do so.
  6. Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses who may be able to testify on your behalf at a later date if the fault of the accident comes into question.
  7. Seek medical attention. You must do this even if you don’t think that your injuries are serious. You may have a concussion or brain bleed. You also may have internal injuries. You definitely need to get checked out for your own safety, but also to establish medical records that you may need later.
  8. Save the clothes and shoes that you were wearing at the time of the accident. You may need to prove that they did not contribute to the accident.
  9. Get a copy of the accident report from the police.
  10. Do not post on Facebook, Instagram, or any social media.
  11. Talk to an attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on what steps to take in order to successfully protect yourself from the at-fault driver’s insurance company and any lawsuits that may be coming your way. An attorney can also take some of the stress out of the experience by being a trusted and empathetic advisor and champion throughout complex legal proceedings. This is especially helpful if you are hospitalized, experiencing a lot of pain, or are otherwise incapacitated following a crash.

Pursuing Compensation for Pedestrians Injured by Negligent Motorists

If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you probably exchanged information at the scene and sought medical assistance. So what should you do now? Contact Crossen Law Firm to start your pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit.

Our Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer has decades of experience helping victims just like you obtain the compensation that they need to cover the costs involved with their injuries. Whether you have medical bills to pay, have lost wages as a result of not being able to go to work, or need money to pay for physical therapy, we can help.

Call (317) 401-8626 today or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation with a skilled pedestrian accident attorney.

Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

Accidents involving pedestrians can result in some of the most severe injuries. Due to the lack of protection, pedestrian accidents often cause broken bones, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and lacerations.

As catastrophic as a pedestrian accident is, compensation is not automatic. Since Indiana uses a modified comparative negligence system, you may only be compensated for your losses if you were no more than 51% at fault for the accident. In other words, if you crossed the road outside of a crosswalk and a driver struck you while speeding, your right to compensation may be in jeopardy.

Other forms of negligence that show the driver to be at fault include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Overtaking a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk
  • Ignoring traffic signals
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Driving over the speed limit

Types of Compensation You May Choose to Seek:

  • Medical expenses: This includes ambulance bills, hospital and doctor bills, physical therapy, and medication.
  • Counselor or therapist bills: You will probably be emotionally traumatized, as you have been through a horrific accident when at your most vulnerable.
  • Emotional suffering, including PTSD, depression, or newly developed phobias
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical suffering. Pain can be debilitating.
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages and potential loss of future wages
  • If applicable, funeral and burial expenses
  • Any other expenses connected with your accident

If you were hit as a pedestrian in Indiana and can prove that the driver was negligent, you can file a claim to recover compensation for your losses. Our Indianapolis pedestrian accidents lawyer at Crossen Law Firm can help you build a strong case against the driver and gather all the evidence and documentation you need to support your claim.

Get in Touch with Our Legal Professionals

Crossen Law Firm offers a free initial consultation and will not collect any attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Rely on our Indianapolis pedestrian lawyer for the effective and aggressive legal advocacy you require.

To learn more about pedestrian accidents, contact our knowledgeable legal team at (317) 401-8626.

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