Pedestrian Fatalities Rose During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic resulted in many negative consequences, including increased pedestrian deaths by motor vehicles. Safety experts are unsure why pedestrian accident deaths increased in 2020 compared to 2019. In New Hampshire, nearly double the number of pedestrians died in car accidents compared to the year prior. Other states saw a similar increase in pedestrian deaths

The Potential Causes of Increased Pedestrian Deaths 

Why were there so many more pedestrians dying in car accidents in 2020? Some safety experts have suggested that drivers were more reckless because there were fewer drivers on the road due to government shutdowns. When a driver enters the freeway and sees fewer drivers around them, 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 were getting outside to walk in their neighborhoods and cities. People who were stuck inside were desperate for fresh air and had begun regularly walking through their communities in areas where it was more difficult to see pedestrians, such as on 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 likelier 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 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 road lanes 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. The fact that more pedestrians were walking along the streets was not an excuse for recklessness from drivers. Drivers owed pedestrians a duty to ensure that they were 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. When drivers breach this legal duty, they are liable for any injuries caused by their breach. 

For example, suppose a driver looked 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. In this case, the victim 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. You must 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 a NY Pedestrian Accident Lawyer 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.