The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many negative consequences, including increased pedestrian deaths by motor vehicles. Safety experts are unsure why the number of pedestrian accident deaths has increased in 2020 compared to 2019. In New Hampshire, nearly double the number of pedestrians have died in car accidents this year compared to last year. Other states have seen a similar increase in pedestrian deaths.
The Potential Causes of Increased Pedestrian Deaths
Why are so many more pedestrians dying in car accidents in 2020? Some safety experts have suggested that drivers are more reckless because there are fewer drivers on the road due to government shutdowns. When a driver enters the freeway and sees fewer drivers around him or her, the driver may be more likely to speed, drive while unrestrained, or engage in driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Additionally, due to the lockdown conditions and restrictions on gathering in person, more people than ever are getting outside to walk in their neighborhoods and cities. People who have been stuck inside are desperate for some fresh air and have begun regularly walking through their neighborhoods in areas where it is more difficult to see pedestrians, such as on the side of busy roads.
Reckless Driving Has Contributed to Pedestrian Deaths
Some pedestrian deaths are caused by drivers speeding or going too fast for the conditions. Other drivers speed through intersections, preventing them from stopping in time to cause a collision. When drivers speed through intersections, they are more likely to run red lights and collide with pedestrians who were lawfully crossing the street. Other pedestrian deaths involved drivers failing to follow the road signs and ignoring crosswalks and walk signals.
Additionally, as winter sets in, the daylight hours have become reduced in most parts of the country. On the East Coast, it gets dark around 4:30 p.m., when employees often get off work. Many employees are in a hurry to get home as quickly as possible. Without as much sunlight, it can be difficult for drivers who were already speeding or driving negligently to see pedestrians in time to stop and avoid colliding with them.
In one case, a couple was crossing the street lawfully when a pickup truck struck them. The pedestrians were wearing dark clothing, and they had already safely crossed two lanes of the road using pedestrian crossing signals and the crosswalk. They were struck while getting back
onto the sidewalk in the eastbound lane. This case shows us that pedestrians are not safe just because they make it through the crosswalk. On the contrary, motor vehicles can drive over the sidewalk and collide with pedestrians on the sidewalk, in a parking lot, or even in a quiet residential neighborhood.
Drivers Have a Legal Duty to Remain Alert to Prevent Pedestrian Deaths
Regardless of the pandemic, all drivers have a legal duty to use reasonable care when driving. The fact that more pedestrians are walking along the streets is not an excuse for recklessness from drivers. Drivers owe pedestrians a duty to ensure that they are checking their mirrors and carefully paying attention to their surroundings to avoid hitting pedestrians.
Recovering Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident
If a negligent driver has injured you as a pedestrian, you have a right to compensation for your injuries. Under New York law, negligent drivers owe pedestrians a duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances. When drivers breach this legal duty, they are liable for any injuries caused by their breach.
For example, suppose a driver was looking down at his cell phone when he ran into a pedestrian lawfully crossing a street using the crosswalk signs. In that case, the driver breached his duty to use reasonable care when he looked at his cell phone instead of focusing his gaze outside his windshield. The breach, which occurred when he looked down at his cell phone was the direct and proximate cause of the accident that resulted in the victim’s injuries. The victim, in this case, is entitled to economic and non-economic damages.
The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Proving that the driver acted negligently is easier said than done. It is essential that you hire an experienced lawyer to represent you in your negligence lawsuit. At Stanley Law Offices, We have a proven track record of successfully obtaining compensation for our pedestrian accident clients. When we work with a new client, we thoroughly investigate their claims to determine who was at fault and gather evidence proving the driver’s negligence.
We will actively seek compensation from every party who is liable. In some cases, there are multiple liable parties. For example, if the crosswalk sign was not working correctly when a driver struck the pedestrian, and the driver was also looking down at his GPS, the injured pedestrian may sue the city and the negligent driver. Perhaps the at-fault party has taken out an extensive commercial insurance policy. In that case, we will help our client obtain a fair
settlement amount from the insurance company and negotiate with them until they provide satisfactory terms.
Contact Our NYC Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today
If a driver has struck you in an accident, time is of the essence. Contact the experienced pedestrian accident lawyers at Stanley Law Offices today to schedule your free case evaluation.