Mississippi Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
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Pedestrian accidents can lead to devastating injuries, even death. However, you may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver. Contact the Mississippi personal injury lawyers at Richard Schwartz & Associates, P.A. to learn about your legal rights.
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Pedestrian accidents tend to be more dangerous than car vs. car crashes because one party is highly vulnerable to injury. Unfortunately, those who prefer to travel on foot can only do so much to protect themselves.
In 2018, 13% of car accident deaths in Mississippi were attributed to pedestrians. Our state saw an uptick in pedestrian deaths between the first half of 2016 and 2017 (an increase of 31.8%) and again between 2017 and 2018 (an increase of 42%). Though nationwide fatalities have been trending upward over the past decade, Mississippi roads seem to be especially dangerous for anyone on foot.
Who Is Most at Risk in Pedestrian Accidents?
Fast, inattentive drivers endanger us all, especially some of our most vulnerable populations. Among children 14 or younger, pedestrian accidents are the cause of more than one in five traffic fatalities. Teens account for the majority of fatalities among children, perhaps because they are more likely to be out without an adult nearby.
No matter the age of the victim, a pedestrian accident is heartbreaking. Even non-fatal collisions can result in catastrophic injury. If you or someone you love has been affected, know that you may be able to receive compensation from the driver who caused the accident.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Nationwide data has laid out trends in pedestrian accidents, which are much more likely to occur:
- In cities rather than rural areas
- When pedestrians are not in an intersection
- At night (between 6 PM and 6 AM)
- During normal weather conditions (clear/cloudy skies)
Accidents Are Becoming More Dangerous
The increase in pedestrian fatalities over the past few years does not necessarily correlate with a higher frequency of accidents. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that pedestrian accidents involving SUVs are 2.5-3 times more likely to result in fatalities.
SUVs are more dangerous for a number of reasons: First, because their higher profile makes them more likely to hit someone’s midsection rather than their legs. The potential for fatal internal injuries is much higher in these collisions than those with sedans that tend to hit legs or hips. SUVs are also slower to stop because they are heavier, and they tend to have more blind spots than sedans. By causing an increase in accident risk and damage, SUV popularity has contributed to the continued rise in pedestrian fatalities.
Types of Pedestrian Accidents
For most of us, the term “pedestrian” calls to mind a person in a crosswalk. However, foot traffic interacts with roadways in many different ways. There are a number of scenarios likely to result in pedestrian injury. The NHTSA compiled a list of crash scenarios including:
- Midblock Accidents: Drivers may be less likely to expect or see a pedestrian in the road of they are not at a crosswalk or intersection.
- Turning Vehicle: When making a right or left turn, drivers may forget to check the intersection they’re turning into for foot traffic.
- Walker or Jogger: If a pedestrian is traveling along the road in the same direction of traffic, they will not be able to see approaching hazards, meaning drivers must exercise extra care to avoid a collision.
- Bus-Related: School and city bus stops are often a cause of mid-block pedestrian crossings. If following or approaching a bus, drivers should obey all stop signs and drive carefully as the vehicles can hide people from view.
- Multiple Threat: When crossing a street with more than one lane headed in either direction, a stopped car can block a pedestrian from other drivers’ sight. If an approaching car doesn’t stop, the pedestrian may not even have time to react to the unexpected danger.
Pedestrians can also be hit in parking lots, while crossing alleys, or in any scenario where vehicles and people share the same thoroughfares. Working with an attorney to discuss the exact circumstances and accident type can be useful in proving a driver’s fault.
What happens when a driver collides with a pedestrian and then flees the scene? Unfortunately, this happens far too often—a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety noted that around 20% of pedestrian fatalities are caused by hit-and-run accidents. Hit-and-runs are becoming more frequent and disproportionately affect pedestrians and bicyclists. In the 8 years between 2009 and 2016, the number of fatal accidents caused by unknown parties increased by 60%. This likely contributed to the increase in pedestrian fatalities over the same time span.
If you’re a pedestrian, do you have options in a hit-and-run? After all, if you can’t identify the driver who caused your injuries, how can you even start with an insurance claim? The good news is accidents like these may be covered by your uninsured and underinsured motorists’ coverage. Though it’s not always easy to take this kind of case to your insurer, an attorney can help you determine the best approach to request compensation.
Were You in a Pedestrian Accident? Here’s What You Should Do Next.
If you’re hit by a car, the driver has a responsibility to stop, call for help if necessary, and share their insurance and contact information. Thankfully, most drivers will take this step. If they don’t, any information you can get—from their license number to the make and color of their car to the direction they drove afterward—could be used to help find them. Having pictures of your injuries and any other property damage they caused might help you if the issue lands in front of a jury.
After you leave the scene of the accident, we recommend you seek medical attention, even if you don’t think you’re that badly hurt. Some injuries don’t show up right away; others, you may not notice if you’re in a state of shock. If you do need to make an insurance claim, you’ll need a professional’s opinion on:
- The injuries you sustained
- The treatment(s) you will need
- How much work you will need to miss to heal safely
You should take careful notes on what the doctor says and be sure to save any related bills.
Then, reach out to a lawyer. Dealing with someone else’s insurance can be difficult at the best of times. If you’re trying to heal, the hassle may be so stressful that you’re tempted to take an unfairly low payout just to end the ordeal. An attorney can take over the work of negotiating for a settlement, using your evidence to back your claims—and telling you when a lawsuit may be necessary to recover fully.
Helping You with Pedestrian Accident Claims
Our team has been serving the injured for over 30 years, and we’ve just about seen it all. We are on your side in the fight to receive the compensation you need to move forward after an accident.