Most DC residents, visitors, and tourists spend a lot of time walking around the city. This includes walking to the Metro, walking to lunch, or simply taking a stroll on the National Mall. Even drivers may have to walk a couple of blocks to get to their cars. Being a pedestrian in DC can be harrowing at times, as some drivers fail to yield to pedestrians, or simply aren't looking when they turn a corner cutting off someone who was stepping into the intersection. Every year, hundreds of pedestrians are injured in accidents within Washington D.C.
Pedestrian Safety in Washington D.C.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, there were 4,735 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. On average, a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours. A pedestrian suffers an injury in a traffic accident every 8 minutes. Pedestrian fatalities account for 14% of all traffic deaths in motor vehicle accidents. Over 20% of the victims of fatal pedestrian accidents are children under the age of 14.
Over a quarter of all fatal accidents involving pedestrians occur in the evening hours from about 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Males are twice as likely to be killed as pedestrians than females. Pedestrian accidents are much more common in urban areas, such as Washington D.C., than in rural areas. Almost half of all fatal pedestrian crashes involved alcohol use by the driver or pedestrian. Hit-and-run drivers are involved in 20% of all fatal pedestrian crashes.
In 2010, Washington D.C. led the country with the highest percentage of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents. Between 2011 and 2013 there was actually an increase in pedestrian injuries in Washington D.C, from about 831 in 2011 to more than 1,000 in 2013. In 2013, at least 12 of those accidents were fatal, and 74 were disabling injuries. In the broader DC Metro area, there were 60 pedestrian fatalities in 2015, up from 53 in 2014, and 45 in 2013.
The number of pedestrians killed in car accidents has changed little over the past decade. However, while cars are getting safer, with greater protection for passenger and drivers, pedestrians are still unprotected in the face of a car accident. Pedestrians do not have the benefit of crumple zones, air bags, or seat belts. When a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian always loses.
There are a few things pedestrians can do to avoid getting hit by a car. This includes walking in well-lit areas, carrying a flashlight or wearing a reflective vest when walking after dark. Pedestrians, like drivers, should avoid distractions like their using their phones and listening with headphones. Pedestrians should try to cross only at designated crosswalks, and stay on the sidewalk. Even if the pedestrian has the right of way, they should look to make sure any cars are stopping.
Damages After a Pedestrian Injury
Injuries after getting hit by a car can range from minor to serious. In the best cases, a car may just touch the pedestrian, causing a lot of fear, but resulting in no serious damage. Unfortunately, most pedestrians are not so lucky. Common injuries include broken bones and skin abrasions, and because any hit can make the pedestrian fall, back, neck and head injuries are common. Pedestrians have nothing between themselves and the ground to protect them, which may result in a concussion, head trauma, or facial trauma. This could also involve spinal injuries.
Pedestrian car accidents often require immediate medical attention. This can lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages, and serious pain and suffering. The innocent pedestrian should not have to pay the price for the accident when the driver was at fault. Unfortunately, many drivers may not take responsibility for their actions. Some drivers may even try and flee the scene of an accident. Other drivers may try and blame the pedestrian for the accident.
Trying to deal with the driver who caused the accident or their insurance company can be frustrating and stressful. By contacting an experienced personal injury attorney, you will have an advocate to fight for you. They will deal with the insurance company and the other driver so you can focus on getting better.
DC Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian is here to help. Pedestrians can face life-threatening injuries after an accident where the driver is able to walk away unharmed. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for you so you can focus on your recovery. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with automobile and pedestrian accident cases throughout the DC Metro area. We will fight for your rights to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.