Throughout the five boroughs of New York City, across the state and nation, the ongoing health crisis is still in progress and has changed life in dramatic ways. Still, the situation is slowly getting better and people are out and about more often, returning to work and taking part in leisure activities. Despite that, there have been fundamental changes that have impacted many lives. Pedestrians were at risk before the pandemic and, in an unusual twist, the danger has gotten worse even with fewer people taking to the road. Several factors are believed to have caused this spike. People who have been injured in a pedestrian crash or lost a loved one should pay attention to these numbers as that may be important when weighing options.
New report highlights increased danger to pedestrians
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently released a report about pedestrian accidents over the first six months of 2020. Across the nation from January through June, there were more than 2,950 pedestrian deaths. This was part of a trend in which there was a spike in auto fatalities in general. Ironically, New York had an improvement in its pedestrian fatalities. During that time, 101 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in the state. That was a decrease from the prior year in which there were 121 fatalities.
The National Safety Council (NSC) said more than 42,000 people lost their lives in a crash in 2020. This was the worst year since 2007. When calculated in the context of miles traveled, this was an increase of nearly one-quarter from the previous year and the biggest rise in almost a century. New York had a 10% increase in road deaths from 2019 to 2020. Among the reasons experts cited for the worsening landscape for pedestrians are distracted driving, speeding and drivers who are under the influence. These issues were exacerbated during the height of the health crisis as there was less law enforcement and traffic congestion was substantially reduced, giving drivers the freedom to misbehave.
Pedestrians are inherently vulnerable
When there is an auto collision between vehicles, there can be severe injuries and death, but people inside the vehicles are accorded some layer of protection. That is not true for pedestrians. Being hit by a car almost unavoidably causes injuries to a pedestrian. Broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord damage, lost limbs and more can come about and damage a person’s future physically, personally, financially and professionally. Knowing what can be done to account for all that was lost may require professional assistance.
Experienced, aggressive advocacy can be essential
While many cases will settle out of court, it is not uncommon for insurers to try and avoid a major payout to cover for what people have lost after a pedestrian accident. Having legal assistance that can negotiate a settlement but is simultaneously willing to go to court can be beneficial. Whether the injuries do not appear severe or they were catastrophic, it is wise to have guidance from the beginning.
Given the litany of challenges a person and a family can face after a pedestrian crash, seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost contributions, pain and suffering, funeral costs and more might make a legal case necessary. Consulting with experienced professionals who understand the required steps is critical.