Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Pedestrian fatalities increase

Michigan residents may be interested to learn that, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2016 was the deadliest year for pedestrians since 1996. The data shows that approximately 6,000 pedestrians lost their lives in 2016.

There was a 12 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities between 2006 and 2015, even though the number of traffic fatalities decreased during the same period. In 2015, there were 35,092 traffic fatalities while there were 5,376 pedestrian fatalities, meaning pedestrian fatalities accounted for about 15 percent of all auto-related fatalities during that year. Part of the reason for this trend may be that vehicle safety has improved significantly over the last decade, meaning more people are surviving car accidents. On the other hand, pedestrian survivability has not improved.

Although driver or pedestrian errors are factors in many fatal pedestrian accidents, the lack of safe walking environments may also be a cause. Many streets are designed to prioritize the mobility and speed of vehicles, meaning they often do not have sidewalks or pedestrian crossings. The problem is often worse in lower-income or disadvantaged communities, as many of the streets were designed in the 1950s and there are no funds available to make the infrastructure improvements needed.

Vehicle operators are responsible for watching out for pedestrians and from causing serious auto-pedestrian accidents that could leave a pedestrian with life-threatening injuries. However, if a driver becomes distracted and causes such an accident, the pedestrian may want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In many cases, an attorney representing a victim may work with the driver's insurance company to reach a settlement that covers the damages without having to resort to litigation.

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