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Pedestrian Deaths Spike to Four-Decade High Across US

by  on  Personal Injury

Pedestrians are being killed in run-ins with cars, trucks and other vehicles at an increasingly alarming rate, new data show.

More than 7,500 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents last year, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. That is up about 1% from a year earlier, the non-profit research and advocacy group said.

It is also the highest number of pedestrian deaths since the GHSA began tracking the data 41 years ago.

“The shocking thing is, nothing seems to be changing,” Russ Martin, senior director of policy and government relations at GHSA said in a statement following the new data’s release. “We’re still considering the same contributing factors that are driving these trends, and it seems like we’re not really making progress.”

The group blames the size and speed of vehicles as well as drivers who are all too willing to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

“A general rule is the larger and heavier the vehicle, the lower the chances a person on foot will survive a crash,” GHSA concluded in its annual report. Sport utility vehicles and light trucks were involved in nearly 40% of pedestrian deaths over the course of 2021, according to GHSA research.

Meanwhile, pedestrian deaths continue to grow at a much faster rate than all other traffic fatalities combined. The figure spiked by 77% over the last decade, the GHSA data showed. That is compared to a 25% rise in all other traffic deaths over the same period.

California saw the most pedestrian deaths last year (1,100), followed by Texas (834) and Florida (824). 

Colorado saw 71 pedestrians killed over the year. The state’s pedestrian fatality rate fortunately has continued to decline, down to 1.2 per 100,000 people statewide.

Pedestrian Infrastructure

It is not just large vehicles and negligent drivers behind the rise in pedestrian deaths.

Advocacy group Smart Cities also pointed to the lack of pedestrian infrastructure across the country. 

Streets and roads are far too often designed without pedestrians – and their safety – in mind, according to the group. It starts with speed limits. 

Pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed in accidents with vehicles traveling 30 miles per hour than with those going 20 miles per hour, a separate report by StreetLight Data found.

The U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this year called on governments, law enforcement agencies and businesses to take action to support DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy. The approach focuses on five pillars: safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, safer roads and post-crash care.

“Traffic crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives a year—a national crisis on our roadways—and everyone has an important role to play in addressing it,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement announcing the initiative.

Injured in an 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 crash. That is true whether you are in a car or truck, on a motorcycle or bicycle, or simply traveling by two feet.

The monetary damages available in Colorado car accident cases are intended to help injured people get back into the financial position that they were in before the collisions. Money for doctors’ bills, vehicle damage, missed wages and the impact of injuries on the person’s long-term earning capacity are all on the table.

To get that compensation, you generally need to be able to identify who is responsible for the crash and prove the person or entity’s legal liability.

Careless drivers – and their insurers – are often to blame when accidents happen. Colorado’s harsh winter weather and Denver’s mix of various modes of traffic mean drivers have to remain alert and responsible at all times.

Motorists are required by Colorado law to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. They are also expected to avoid dangerous behavior such as speeding, drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel. And they can go a long way in keeping people safe by staying off the road completely if they are drowsy or fatigued.

Others who may be liable for a collision include third parties like defective vehicle parts manufacturers and road construction crews that create hazards.

Wrongful Death Claims for Fatal Pedestrian Accidents in Colorado

Colorado law also gives the family of a person killed in a pedestrian or other accident the right to seek just compensation from those responsible for the collision.

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. 

Although the money damages available in wrongful death cases will not allow you to go back in time and stop the accident from happening, it can ease some of the financial burden that can come with losing a loved one.

The good news is that you do not need to go it alone.

At Levine Law, our Denver personal injury lawyers have helped people and families across the state whose lives have been changed by tragic accidents. We are tireless advocates who have dedicated our careers to assisting our neighbors in their times of need.

Often, that can be done without a long and drawn-out court battle. We have successfully resolved a number of cases through negotiated settlements.

Speak With a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible  

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Colorado, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

Our lawyers 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.