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Colorado Pedestrian Accident Deaths Spike, Nighttime Still Most Dangerous

by  on  Personal Injury

It is getting more and more dangerous to travel by foot in Colorado, new statewide data show.

Fatal accidents involving pedestrians jumped last year to the highest total in at least two decades, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Pedestrian fatalities accounted for the largest share of overall traffic deaths statewide during the same time period.

A total of 133 pedestrians died in traffic accidents across Colorado last year, a 16% rise from the 115 deaths seen a year earlier. Pedestrian accidents made up nearly 19% of all fatal traffic accidents over the year, an increase from about 15% in the prior year.  

Pedestrian fatalities have surged by 96% in the last decade alone. The vast majority of these accidents happen at night, according to CDOT. More than 70% of the fatal accidents occurred in dark conditions, the agency said.

“Pedestrians don’t go away when it gets dark out, especially this time of year when the sun sets early and rises late,” Darrell Lingk, CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director, said in a statement releasing the new data. 

Dark conditions make it harder for drivers to spot pedestrians, especially those who are not using designated crosswalks and sidewalks. This can accentuate negligent driver behavior, such as speeding, texting and driving, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.

“We need a collective commitment from every road user to prioritize safety,” Lingk added. “Be alert, be aware of your surroundings and treat driving like the immense responsibility it is.”

More Denver Area Pedestrian Accidents in 2024

A tragic accident on the last day of last year highlights the risks pedestrians face in Denver and across the state.

A Denver woman reportedly was struck and killed by a car while walking in the area of East 56th Avenue and Dunkirk Street on New Years Eve. The crash happened at about 9 p.m., well after dark.

Similar accidents have continued this year.

In early January, for example, two pedestrians – an adult and a child – reportedly were injured after being struck by a vehicle near 12th Street and Auraria Parkway. The accident happened at about 8:15 p.m., according to news reports.

Weeks later, a pedestrian reportedly died after being struck by a car at the intersection of Marion Street and eastbound 104th Avenue in Thornton.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

More than 7,500 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents nationwide each year, according to statistics compiled by the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association. Pedestrian deaths continue to grow at a much faster rate than all other traffic fatalities combined. 

The GHSA cites a number of factors, including reckless behavior behind the wheel by drivers, as well as the increasing size of vehicles and the speeds at which they often travel.

In Colorado, CDOT is increasingly turning its attention to another major factor: road and street design. 

Advocates have long pushed for roads and streets to be reinvisioned to account for the wide variety of traffic they see every day. That includes lowering speed limits, adding bike and bus lanes and widening sidewalks, among other changes.

CDOT touted its Revitalizing Main Streets program, through which it said it has awarded $75 million in grants to support “community-driven safety enhancements.” The agency specifically highlighted an effort on CO 121 in Jefferson County that “replaced antiquated traffic signals with modern equipment, added pedestrian-focused signage and made improvements for people with disabilities by installing ADA-compliant ramps.”

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Know Your Rights

Anyone who is injured in a traffic accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the collision. That is true whether you are inside or outside of a vehicle at the time of the crash.

In the tragic event that a person dies in a pedestrian accident, his or her loved ones also have the right to pursue a wrongful death action. This allows you to seek compensation for the accident and ensure that those responsible for it are made accountable.

The money damages in wrongful death cases are meant to compensate family members for the financial impact of losing a loved one. That includes compensation for medical and burial costs as well as the loss of the person’s financial and emotional support.

No amount of money can ever allow you to go back in time, stop an accident from happening. A wrongful death action can, however, help ease the financial strain that often comes with the loss of a loved one. It can also provide a certain level of closure by getting justice and ensuring that those responsible are made accountable for their actions.

State law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.

In order to successfully pursue a wrongful death claim you have to be able to prove that a driver or other party is legally liable for your loved one’s death. 

An experienced Denver personal injury lawyer can help you identify those responsible for the crash, clearly establish legal liability and maximize your compensation. An attorney also can help you navigate the legal process and negotiate with insurers to avoid a long, drawn-out court battle. 

Speak with a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian, car, truck, motorcycle or other accident in Colorado, a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help you understand your rights and get compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.