When a pedestrian and the driver of a motor vehicle collide, it is the pedestrian who dies. That makes it all the more important for drivers to exercise care on city streets and in other areas where pedestrians might be present.
Unfortunately, drivers are not always careful. They fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and they do not notice joggers who are running in the street. Drivers are too often inattentive when pedestrians cross the road at a location other than a marked crosswalk.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is killed every two hours in a traffic accident. In 2013, 14% of all fatalities in car crashes were pedestrians.
If your family member was killed by a careless driver, a wrongful death claim is your best opportunity to pursue justice. Compensation for a wrongful pedestrian death can help you replace lost income, can pay final medical and burial expenses, and can give you the satisfaction of knowing that the negligent driver has been held accountable.
Facts about Pedestrian Accident Deaths
Pedestrian deaths are an increasingly serious problem. From 2004 to 2013, the percentage of victims in traffic accident fatalities involving pedestrians increased steadily from 11% to 14%.
Most pedestrian deaths from car accidents occur:
- At dusk or after dark, when pedestrians are less visible.
- In urban areas, where pedestrians are more likely to be crossing the road.
- Away from intersections.
- In collisions with passenger vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs).
Most pedestrians who die in traffic accidents are struck by the front end of a car. When a large truck kills a pedestrian, however, it is more likely that the truck driver is backing up and does not see the pedestrian.
Most victims are middle-aged males, although all age groups from young children to senior citizens are represented in pedestrian death statistics. In fact, one-fifth of all children under the age of 15 who are killed in car accidents are pedestrians. Nineteen percent of all victims of fatal pedestrian accidents are 65 or older. Males are about twice as likely as females to die in pedestrian accidents.
About a third of all pedestrians who die in car crashes have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08%. Those statistics do not tell us how often the pedestrian's alcohol consumption actually played a role in those accidents. On the other hand, about 15% of drivers who kill pedestrians in traffic accidents have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Since those drivers are driving illegally, their BAC will always be a significant factor in demonstrating that their negligence caused the accident.
Proving Fault in Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
Surviving family members are entitled to seek wrongful death compensation when a driver was at fault for a pedestrian's death. A driver is at fault when he or she fails to exercise the care that society expects of reasonably cautious drivers.
In most cases, fault is easy to establish. A violation of traffic laws — for example, speeding or failing to yield — is usually sufficient evidence to prove negligent driving.
Even when the pedestrian shares blame for the accident — for example, when the pedestrian steps into traffic or walks against a “do not walk” light — California law allows wrongful death compensation to be paid to surviving family members if a driver was at least partially to blame. It is rare for a driver who kills a pedestrian to be completely blameless.
Timothy J. Ryan & Associates has decades of experience helping families of pedestrians hold negligent drivers accountable for their behavior. Even when a pedestrian arguably shares responsibility for the accident, surviving family members should obtain a free case evaluation from Timothy J. Ryan & Associates to determine whether they can pursue a successful wrongful death claim.
Wrongful Death Compensation for Pedestrian Accidents
About one-fifth of pedestrian deaths involve hit-and-run drivers. Unless the police (or a private investigator) can locate the responsible driver, wrongful death compensation is sadly unavailable in those cases.
In all other cases involving driver negligence, certain surviving family members can pursue compensation. Spouses, children, and certain other family members and domestic partners can make wrongful death claims. To learn which members of your family can participate in a wrongful death claim, talk to a wrongful death lawyer at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates.
Compensation for a wrongful pedestrian death includes:
- Lost financial support.
- The value of lost services (such as cleaning or repairing the home).
- Lost love and emotional support.
- A spouse's loss of sexual enjoyment.
Valuing the claim will depend on a large number of factors, including how the accident occurred, the nature of the pedestrian's employment (if the victim was an adult), and the pedestrian's relationship with family members. An experienced California wrongful death attorney at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates can evaluate those factors and advise you about the compensation you may be entitled to obtain.
Since you lose your right to wrongful death compensation if you wait too long, make an appointment for a free initial consultation at your earliest opportunity.