Pedestrians have the right of way while in a crosswalk in every state in the nation. That does not, however, guarantee a safe journey from one curb to the other. In fact, 4500 pedestrians are killed crossing streets every year. The contest between a car and a person is not a very fair one, and the motorist is nearly always assumed to be at fault. With some attention to design and infrastructure of crossing intersections, many pedestrian accidents can be avoided.
There are a number of changes being implemented in cities around the US that may be instrumental in increasing pedestrian safety, including:
- Raising crosswalk to curb level — elevating the crosswalk gives more visibility to pedestrians, especially to children;
- Installing speed bumps — most pedestrians are killed by cars that are traveling at 40 mph or faster;
- Using a bright color paint — increasing visibility of crosswalk lines gives drivers more awareness of crossing areas;
- Install pedestrian crossing light — a designated light eliminates driver error
- Reduce speed limit — while not enough, slowing down is an important first step;
- Enforce safe driving at trouble spots — when a law is enforced and drivers are fined for not stopping, drivers form new habits and save lives.
An additional measure that may save pedestrian lives is limiting the roadway to two lanes. Without a second lane available in each direction, drivers are not able to pass a car that is stopped at a crosswalk. Passing at a crosswalk is extremely dangerous and causes many pedestrian injury and death accidents.
When a driver hits a pedestrian that is crossing in a crosswalk, the driver is at fault and is liable for damages. If the pedestrian is killed, the driver is liable for wrongful death — a situation in which the negligence of a person causes the death of another person. The surviving family members of a wrongful death victim have the right to sue for damages, including payment of medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you need a lawyer. A wrongful death attorney at the Law Offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivy & Fronrath is available to advocate for your rights. Call our West Palm Beach office at 561-655-1990 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.