What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Written By: Darl Champion

Date Posted: 06.08.24

Category: Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian accidents can result in devastating injuries that dramatically affect the victim’s life. If you or someone you know suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident that was someone else’s fault, speak with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer who can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Let’s go over the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. Understanding how these incidents typically occur can shed light on who you can hold liable for your injuries and other damages.

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Distracted Driving

One of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents today is distracted driving. When motorists take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or focus away from the driving task, they put pedestrians at grave risk.

Sending a text, making a call, adjusting music, eating, or conversing with passengers are dangerous distractions that commonly lead to collisions with pedestrians.

Drivers must operate their vehicles safely and prudently at all times. When they fail in this duty by driving distracted and striking a pedestrian, an injured pedestrian can hold them liable for the resulting injuries and losses.

A skilled pedestrian accident attorney can investigate the crash, gather evidence of the driver’s distraction (such as cell phone records), and build a strong case for maximum compensation.

Impaired Driving

Another major cause of pedestrian accidents is driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Alcohol and many legal and illegal drugs can drastically impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Distracted Driving I Causes of Pedestrian Accident

Effects like blurred vision, slowed reaction time, poor coordination, and impaired judgment make it much more likely that an impaired driver will fail to see a pedestrian in time to avoid a collision.

Impaired driving is not only extremely reckless and dangerous, it’s also a criminal offense. Drivers who choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs demonstrate an appalling disregard for the safety of pedestrians and everyone else on the road.

When their poor choices lead to innocent people getting hurt or killed, their victims can hold them fully accountable. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will diligently pursue all avenues to secure justice and the financial recovery victims need and deserve.


What Are Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries I Speeding

Speeding is a factor in a significant portion of pedestrian accidents. The faster a vehicle travels, the less time the driver has to perceive and react to a pedestrian in the roadway. High speeds also mean more forceful impacts and more severe injuries in the event of a collision.

Speeding is especially dangerous in areas where pedestrians are likely present, such as school zones, shopping districts, residential neighborhoods, and urban centers.

Drivers should always obey posted speed limits and reduce their speed as needed based on traffic, road conditions, and the presence of pedestrians. Failure to do so constitutes negligence if a speeding driver hits and injures someone on foot.

If you’ve suffered an injury from a speeding driver, don’t hesitate to contact a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney.

A lawyer can thoroughly investigate the incident, work with experts to analyze vehicle speeds and crash dynamics, and construct a compelling case demonstrating the driver’s negligence and liability for your injuries.

Failure to Yield Right-of-Way

Failure to Yield Right-of-Way I Causes of Pedestrian Accident

Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in many situations, such as at marked and unmarked crosswalks, turning at intersections, and entering/exiting driveways and alleys. Failure to properly yield as mandated by law directly endangers pedestrians and frequently leads to serious collisions.

Intersections are a common site of failure-to-yield accidents. Pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk with a walk signal have the right-of-way, and drivers must wait for them to safely cross before proceeding. Drivers turning right on red or left on a green light must also yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Sadly, many drivers are impatient or simply not paying adequate attention. They often fail to come to a complete stop and look for pedestrians before accelerating through the intersection.

Another frequent scenario is a pedestrian collision in a parking lot or parking garage. Drivers navigating these areas must yield to pedestrians and exercise special caution, as pedestrians can emerge unexpectedly from behind parked vehicles or blind corners. Many drivers, however, fail to properly look out for pedestrians and end up backing into or running over people on foot.

You have important legal rights if a driver fails to yield the right-of-way and hits you. Consult a dedicated pedestrian accident lawyer who can assess your case, explain your options, and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Left-Hand Turns

Left-hand turns are particularly dangerous for pedestrians, as drivers making these turns often fail to see and yield to people in crosswalks. Many drivers misjudge the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles and rush to complete their turn, overlooking crossing pedestrians.

Pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks, and drivers must wait for them to safely cross before turning. This is true even if the driver has a green turning arrow.

Too often, however, drivers treat that green arrow as a license to make their turn without checking for pedestrians. Similarly, drivers turning right often focus on looking left for a break in traffic and fail to look right for pedestrians before accelerating through the turn.

Intersection turns, especially left-hand turns, result in numerous pedestrian accidents and injuries. If a turning driver fails to yield and hits you, don’t wait to speak to an experienced attorney. A pedestrian accident lawyer can gather evidence demonstrating the driver’s negligence and liability for your injuries and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Poor Lighting and Visibility

Pedestrian accidents frequently occur in areas with poor lighting and visibility, such as dark parking lots, unlit rural roads, roads with visual obstructions like shrubs or parked vehicles, and intersections with blocked sightlines.

While pedestrians should wear bright or reflective clothing and carry lights when walking at night, drivers should always drive slowly enough to perceive and react to pedestrians and other hazards.

Many pedestrian accidents in low-visibility areas happen because drivers are speeding and/or not exercising due caution. When visibility diminishes, drivers must reduce their speed and watch for pedestrians. Sadly, many fail to do so and strike people they didn’t see in time to avoid.

Poor lighting and visibility are especially problematic for certain groups. Older pedestrians with impaired vision or hearing, as well as smaller and less visible children, are disproportionately represented in low-visibility pedestrian accidents. Drivers must compensate for these vulnerabilities.

If a driver hits you or someone you love in a poorly lit or low-visibility area, don’t hesitate to contact a pedestrian accident attorney. A lawyer can investigate the collision, document the hazardous conditions, and work to hold all negligent parties accountable. You may recover substantial compensation, and the right attorney will fight tirelessly to recover it.

Backing Up/Reversing

Another leading cause of pedestrian accidents is drivers backing up or reversing without properly checking their surroundings for people on foot. These collisions commonly occur in driveways, parking lots, parking garages, and other locations where drivers routinely back up.

Backover accidents are especially tragic because the victims are often small children. Every year, hundreds of children are injured or killed when drivers backing up don’t see them and run them over. These heartbreaking incidents underscore the critical importance of walking around your vehicle before entering and actively checking all mirrors and blind spots while backing up.

Pedestrians struck by reversing vehicles often sustain severe lower body injuries like fractured pelvises and catastrophic leg, ankle, and foot damage. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can result when cars knock people down, run them over, and they hit their heads.

If you or a family member has suffered a severe injury by a backing driver, speak with a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can investigate the incident, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a powerful case for liability and damages.

Vehicle Defects

Pedestrian accidents sometimes result from defective vehicle equipment rather than driver negligence. Faulty brakes, malfunctioning accelerators, defective tires, and other vehicle defects can cause drivers to lose control and strike pedestrians. When these incidents occur, injury victims may have product liability claims against the vehicle and/or parts manufacturers.

Vehicle defect cases require great technical expertise. Automakers and their insurance companies fight these claims aggressively to avoid liability.

As such, work with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney with the knowledge, resources, and determination to fully investigate the defect and hold the manufacturer accountable. With skilled legal counsel, you can recover the substantial compensation you deserve.

Road Hazards

Finally, dangerous road conditions like potholes, uneven pavement, missing signs, malfunctioning traffic lights, inadequate lighting, and visual obstructions cause some pedestrian accidents. When a pedestrian suffers an injury due to a road hazard, they may file a claim against the party responsible for designing, building, and/or maintaining the road.

Depending on the specific circumstances, liable parties can include private construction companies, utility providers, and local, state, or federal government entities.

Special rules often apply when pursuing compensation from a government agency, including strict notification deadlines and other procedural requirements. As such, consult a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer right away.

An experienced attorney can promptly investigate the hazardous condition, identify all potentially liable parties, and take timely action to preserve your rights. A skilled lawyer can construct a strong, persuasive case to get you the full compensation you need and deserve.

Damages Available in Pedestrian Accident Cases

When a pedestrian suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, they may pursue compensation for the full extent of their losses. This compensation, known as damages, can cover various economic and non-economic harms.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the tangible, quantifiable losses an injured pedestrian suffers.

Common examples include:

  • Medical Expenses: Pedestrian accident victims can recover compensation for all medical bills related to the incident, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, medication, physical therapy, assistive devices, and any necessary ongoing treatment. They may also recover future medical costs.
  • Lost Income: Serious pedestrian accident injuries often force victims to miss substantial time from work. They may also recover compensation for the income lost during this period. If injuries cause long-term earning limitations, victims can recover loss of future earning potential.
  • Property Damage: If the accident damages a pedestrian’s personal property, such as clothing, jewelry, a phone, laptop, or other items, they can seek reimbursement for repair or replacement costs.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Injured pedestrians may incur various out-of-pocket expenses after the accident, such as transportation to medical appointments, home and vehicle modifications for accessibility, and childcare services. These expenses are compensable.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the subjective, non-monetary losses pedestrian accident victims endure. Though more difficult to quantify, non-economic damages are often the most significant component of a pedestrian accident award.

Examples include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Pedestrian accident injuries can be agonizing. Victims can recover compensation for their physical pain, emotional anguish, psychological trauma, and overall suffering.
  • Scarring/Disfigurement: When pedestrian accidents leave victims permanently scarred or disfigured, they may recover compensation for the emotional distress and loss of self-esteem these conditions cause.
  • Disability: Injuries that result in temporary or permanent disability profoundly impact a victim’s life. Disability damages compensate for the difficulties and limitations of living with disabling conditions.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Severe pedestrian accident injuries can make it difficult or impossible for victims to participate in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed. Compensation can cover this lost quality and enjoyment of life.

Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident, the path to justice starts with contacting an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. The right lawyer can thoroughly investigate the incident, gather powerful evidence, construct an effective case strategy, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Don’t wait to get the legal advocacy you need during this difficult time. Contact a trusted personal injury attorney today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.