Any average person walking the streets can find themselves the victim of being struck by an automobile. It can happen anywhere in the world, and unfortunately, that includes Utah.
Every year, 30 people are killed by being struck by a car, with an additional 800 injured and in need of hospitalization and emergency care. It is a terrifying outcome, one that can be avoided by following a few simple guidelines and being aware of your surroundings.
It can be a scary prospect, that some driver out there could end up hitting and killing you or a loved one for reasons beyond your control, which is why you should contact our group of experienced automobile lawyers if you or a loved one find yourselves the victim of one of these unfortunate pedestrian accidents.
The Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
It’s no secret that, we, as a society, suffer from information overload, of being assaulted by a litany of distractions that never seem to cease, and that the most persistent distractions come from the rectangular screens we carry in our pockets all day long, beckoning for our attention.
Your attention span is finite, however, and you need as much of that attention as you can muster when you’re driving a car. Your automobile can quite literally be a dangerous weapon when handled improperly or without focus.
Your cellphone might even be the least of your distractions when driving. Boisterous passengers, adjusting your radio or car’s settings, eating while driving, or even grooming yourself, brushing your hair, or putting on your makeup for the day, can all lead your attention from the road just long enough to make the biggest mistake of your life.
Speeding ends up being one of the biggest causes of pedestrian accidents. It might be a simple, easy-to-grasp concept, but the faster you are driving your automobile when and if you strike a pedestrian, the much higher the risk of death occurs, with speeds of 60 mph and over guaranteeing death if an accident does occur.
Finally, backing up is a major cause of pedestrian accidents, most specifically and most morbidly in children. This commonly occurs in suburban areas, when a person backing out of their driveway might not stop, take the extra few seconds to survey their surroundings, and make sure any children nearby are a safe distance away.
Must-Know Utah Laws Regarding Pedestrians
It’s important to know the rules and ways to conduct yourself when you are driving in a pedestrian-heavy area, so as to keep everyone safe and to follow the law in Utah.
At marked and unmarked crosswalks or walkways, pedestrians will always have the right-of-way. Walkers may cross the street in any location unless specified otherwise. If a walker is crossing the street not using a crosswalk, they must generally yield to oncoming traffic themselves.
The pedestrian is always the priority. Under Utah law, it is stressed that the driver must be the party who takes the most due diligence in avoiding an accident, even when the pedestrian may not be following their proper course of conduct.
Ultimately, the driver must be the party to carry the most responsibility in the situation, since they are the ones who could ultimately cause the accident.
Where Pedestrian Accidents Occur Most Often
Pedestrian accidents occur often in suburban areas when they involve children, generally in driveways or a neighborhood subdivision.
They are also quite likely to occur in urban areas and cities, places with large populations. Areas and streets in cities that are non-intersections happen to be where most pedestrian accidents occur. It was found that, in 70% of cases involving the deaths of pedestrians while they were running, jogging, or walking, the accidents were caused by automobiles. These incidents seemed to occur mostly at night as well, between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and when weather conditions were surprisingly clear.
While those driving should still take responsibility for the situation more than anyone else involved, it is also the duty of pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings and to think clearly when crossing the roads in heavily trafficked areas.
When is a Driver At Fault for an Accident and When is a Pedestrian?
Often, pedestrians are determined to be liable in accidents more than drivers, usually by running out into an intersection without looking where they are going.
Legally, they are determined at-fault if they are hit by an automobile after they cross a street while the “Do Not Cross” signal is going. Pedestrians may be at fault in other situations as well, such as when walking on a highway or freeway, places generally accepted to not be meant for pedestrian crossing.
The driver is at-fault in almost every other scenario. Hitting a pedestrian after making a turn, drifting from the road, backing their car up, or merging is always the fault of the driver.
Additionally, a driver may be charged with a hit-and-run if a pedestrian is struck and the driver refuses to stop or contact the police, even if the pedestrian is the party responsible in the incident.
How a Team of Salt Lake City Lawyers Can Help You
Driving always has the chance of being dangerous, whether you’re behind the wheel or out for a stroll. Lives are on the line when automobiles are being operated, so it is up to both the drivers of cars and the pedestrians crossing the streets to stay observant and vigilant, to avoid any kind of awful, life-changing accident.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a pedestrian accident in Utah, contact Salt Lake City’s Siegfried & Jensen automobile accident lawyers. With over 30 years of experience, we will give you the knowledge and legal defense you might need after a pedestrian accident, as well as any help you might need recouping any compensation you might be owed.