PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS IN COLORADOIn Colorado, pedestrians are facing increased risks and danger. With more traffic and more people pouring into our beloved State, pedestrian safety has fallen by the wayside. In the US, drivers have killed 35% more pedestrians than 10 years ago. That is an astonishing increase. In Colorado, there have been 75% more pedestrian deaths over the same time period. Colorado drivers killed 89 pedestrians last year. As one author states, “Crossing the street should not be a death sentence“.
The Spotlight on Safety Report cites several possible reasons for these increased fatalities; population growth, people driving at night, driving more miles per year and of course, cell phones and distracted drivers.
The main culprit today is distracted driving and the introduction of iPhones and other cellular devices. Drivers seemingly need to answer every text message that they receive, even while driving. It has been proven that cell phone distraction is just as dangerous as driving intoxicated. We all see drivers veering out of their lane and then see that they are texting. Talking on a cell phone while driving is distracting enough, but texting brings the degree of distraction way up. In the chart above, you can see that the first iPhone came out in 2007. In 2007, 11% of traffic accidents were pedestrian fatalities. With the beginning of the age of cellular devices, that share of pedestrian fatalities was expected to be around 16% in 2018.
HOW CAN PEDESTRIAN SAFETY BE IMPROVED?
Infrastructure improvements are necessary. Sidewalks and crossing signals are crucial to protecting pedestrians. There also needs to be continued education of motorists. Drivers should be well versed in the rules of the road, such as stopping at all pedestrian crosswalks if there is someone waiting to cross. Everyone is so busy and distracted these days that it is very easy for motorists to drive right into a pedestrian.
There is also the increasing problem of drivers being intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs. There have been many recent cases of drunk drivers slamming into a whole group of pedestrians. In the US, we have stiff penalties for driving while intoxicated but the police cannot catch everyone. In some countries, you lose your car and must pay a $30-$40,000 fine if caught driving with only 1 beer in your system. We could follow their lead and enact stiffer penalties for intoxicated drivers and that may indeed cause a decrease in pedestrian fatalities.
Colorado does have good laws in regards to pedestrian safety. In Colorado:
- Drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who have entered the crosswalk
- The law also requires drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians at stop signs and red lights
- If a driver in front of you stops for a pedestrian to cross, you are not allowed to pass that stopped vehicle (as you may not see the pedestrian and may cause an accident)
Not all the laws are totally on the side of the pedestrian. Pedestrians also need to follow certain guidelines and safety rules. Here are examples of a pedestrian’s duty of care:
- If adjacent intersections have traffic lights, pedestrians must use the designated crosswalks and not commit an offense like “jaywalking”. So, a pedestrian does have a legal duty to protect himself by not violating traffic laws or rules.
- Pedestrians need to yield to all vehicles if trying to cross the street without a crosswalk. For obvious reasons, it is dangerous to cross a busy street without first going to a nearby crosswalk. Crosswalks are there to protect us and being lazy by not seeking out a nearby crosswalk, could cost you your life. Obviously, motorists do not expect a pedestrian to cross the road where there are no crosswalks and are thus not prepared for that scenario.
- Pedestrians must also yield the right of way to all motorists when crossing a road that has pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing.
- It goes without saying that pedestrians must follow the flashing crosswalk signals that say “Walk” and “Don’t Walk”.
- A pedestrian should not make a bad move such as walking into oncoming traffic or crossing the road abruptly without paying attention to passing traffic. Some people think that they can make it across the road without being hit or think they can run across the road and avoid an impeding collision. We are all guilty of hesitating and then trying to hurry across a busy road despite approaching traffic.
- With regards to jogging and hiking on designated trails, the same rules apply. Usually, a jogging or hiking trail will eventually cross a busy road. When one arrives at the particular crossing, it is important to stop running and look both ways. If it is safe to cross, then continue running across the road. Do not forget that most drivers will stop when they see you trying to cross the road. But, there is always that 10% or so that are in a hurry and do not want to take the time to protect your life. So, be careful at any of these crosswalks.
WHAT KIND OF INJURIES ARE SUFFERED BY PEDESTRIANS?
Pedestrians generally suffer the same type of injuries as bicyclists, although a bicyclist has more protection, with a helmet and protective clothing. Here are some of the more common injuries as a result of pedestrian accidents:
2. Traumatic brain injury and/or bleeding on the brain
3. Road rash
4. Neck and back injuries
5. Injuries to internal organs
6. Bone fractures
7. Amputation of legs or arms
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident:
- Notify the police, if you can. Call an ambulance or EMS.
- Do not leave the scene until help arrives.
- Gather names and phone numbers of eyewitnesses.
- Use that trusty cell phone for accident scene photos as well as photos of the offending driver’s vehicle and the offending driver’s license plates, driver’s license and insurance information.
- Do not admit that you were at any degree at fault.
- If you can, talk to the eyewitnesses and talk to the at-fault driver. Usually, offending drivers will put their “foot in their mouth” and talk too much, oftentimes admitting fault for the collision.
- Get immediate medical care whether that is at your local Emergency Room or walk in clinic. Afterwards, you can make an appointment with the appropriate medical specialist.
A pedestrian may recover legal damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That is where you need the best Fort Collins pedestrian accident lawyer, like myself. I have 22 years of experience handling pedestrian accident cases from both the insurance company side and now exclusively on the injured victim’s side.
I can prove that the offending driver breached his legal “duty of care” and negligently struck you or ran you over. After I prove fault to the insurance company, I will legally connect your damages or injuries to the accident itself. This is called proving “causation”. Proof of injuries mainly come from your doctors and medical records. Money damages can then be directly negotiated with the at-fault party’s insurance company, the insurance adjuster.
It is my job to get you the most money possible and it is the insurance adjuster’s job to pay out the least amount of money. That is where good negotiating tactics enter the picture. I am a great negotiator as I did represent State Farm, Allstate and GEICO in defense of these types of injury claims. Thus, my knowledge of the insurance adjuster’s tactics and weak points is particularly valuable. I know how the insurance adjuster’s think and how they have been trained.
Please call me now if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident.
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