Table of Contents
Pedestrian Accident Statistics in Utah
Pedestrians are defined as people traveling by foot. While some victims of car accidents walk away with minor injuries because their vehicle absorbs most of the impact of the crash, pedestrians are vulnerable because they have no such protection. Since the average weight of a personal motor vehicle is 3,000 pounds and vehicles travel faster, pedestrians are likely to sustain catastrophic injuries or die in pedestrian accidents.
In 2022, Utah experienced a notable increase in pedestrian accidents. As of September 30, there had already been 117 victims of pedestrian accidents, including 39 fatalities. The Utah Department of Public Safety (UDPS) reported that 2015 was the deadliest year for pedestrians in more than three decades. Since the highest number of pedestrian accidents typically occurs in October, 2022 could match or exceed 2015’s 49 pedestrian fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, you do not have to face the heavy burden of financial and physical recovery on your own. Our Utah pedestrian accident lawyers can help.
What are the main causes of pedestrian accidents in Utah?
Although drivers contribute to the majority of pedestrian accidents, pedestrians themselves cause or contribute to a significant number of these accidents. Understanding common pedestrian accident causes can help drivers and pedestrians take appropriate steps to prevent accidents.
With distracted driving on the rise, many drivers fail to see pedestrians or consider their safety. In their rush to get to appointments or to beat a red light, drivers often speed through crosswalks, putting pedestrians – those most vulnerable on the road – at risk. Accidents involving pedestrians can result in catastrophic injuries and have devastating effects. In 2015, distracted driving caused or contributed to 8% of pedestrian accidents, according to the UDPS.
There are multiple causes of distracted driving. Typical examples are talking on a cell phone, sending text messages, adjusting your stereo, or drinking a beverage. Drivers have an obligation to focus on the road and remain vigilant when driving. Anything that prevents them from concentrating on driving can cause a distracted driving accident.
Drivers can prevent these accidents by eliminating distractions. Using hands-free devices enables drivers to focus on the road while answering calls. Drivers can also wait until they’re stopped at a red light before changing radio stations or consuming food or beverages.
Pedestrians can help avoid distracted driving accidents by attempting to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Observing driver behavior can alert pedestrians about drivers unaware of their presence. Pedestrians shouldn’t step out in front of a driver who appears distracted, even if the pedestrians have the right of way.
Hit and Run
Hit-and-run accidents involve a driver fleeing the scene after the accident. Many factors contribute to hit-and-run accidents. A driver who has consumed alcohol or prescription medications may not respond rationally after an accident or may be afraid of a DUI charge. Other drivers may flee the scene because of prior convictions. Hit-and-run accidents contributed to 12% of pedestrian accidents in 2015. Pedestrians can employ the same tips used to avoid distracted driving accidents to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Crosswalks and Crosswalk Accidents in Utah
Crosswalks are some of the most important signals on a roadway. They influence both cars and pedestrians. With many different laws surrounding crosswalks, drivers and pedestrians should know them. Usually, crosswalks have signals like lights, sounds, flags, and painted lines.
Pedestrians must cross the road at crosswalks or intersections or use tunnels or overhead walkways if available. When pedestrians cross the road at unmarked intersections or locations not designated as crosswalks, they’re required to yield the right of way to motor vehicles. The UDPS reported in their 2015 study that improper crossing and darting across roadways contributed to or caused 20% of pedestrian accidents, while drivers failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians contributed to an additional 30%.
PEDESTRIANS IN CROSSWALKS
Pedestrians utilize crosswalks when they cross the street or an intersection. To ensure safety, be alert when crossing the road, even if it is the pedestrian’s turn. The following is a list of items pedestrians should be aware of when utilizing a crosswalk.
- Crosswalk Signals. Signals alert the pedestrian of when to walk and when to wait. These signals may be a hand or an icon of a person walking. Depending on the crosswalk, a countdown timer might also inform the walker how much time they have to walk. There may also be flashing lights. Though signals are helpful, they should never replace a pedestrian’s judgment at a crosswalk.
- Crosswalk Lines. A couple of different types of road lines can signify a crosswalk. Zebra stripes, or vertical stripes on the road, indicate a crosswalk that is not at an intersection. These are typically used around schools and within neighborhoods. Straight, parallel lines indicate a crosswalk at an intersection. Pedestrians should walk within these lines and watch for oncoming traffic.
- Unmarked Crosswalks. Some intersections may not have crosswalk lines. While it’s ideal to use a marked crosswalk when crossing the road, it’s legal to cross the street at intersections, and drivers should give you the right of way.
VEHICLES AND CROSSWALKS
Drivers must be aware of crosswalks at all times, so they do not hit pedestrians. In general, motor vehicles must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. The following is information you should be aware of as a driver:
- Yielding to Pedestrians. Cars should yield to pedestrians in all situations, even if they are jaywalking, because it may be unsafe for pedestrians to stop in the middle of the road. No matter who has the right of way, drivers should make every effort to avoid striking anyone or anything on a roadway. Be aware of signals that may indicate a pedestrian crossing. A driver should not assume that a pedestrian will see them or that the pedestrian will yield, even if they’re legally required to do so.
- Drivers Being Cautious For Pedestrians. Due to their sheer size, cars need to be more cautious when approaching any stop sign or signal so they do not injure or cause harm to pedestrians. Stay within lanes, follow traffic signals, and be an alert driver. Remember that crosswalks benefit the pedestrian, not the vehicle.
Lack of visibility was a factor in 7% of pedestrian accidents in 2015, per the UDPS study. Visibility issues are common at night, particularly if pedestrians wear dark colors and walk on a street with poor lighting. Pedestrians can improve their safety at nighttime by adding reflective materials to backpacks and wearing light jackets and shoes.
Visibility issues are also an issue during poor weather conditions. Pedestrians and drivers should know that fog, snow, or heavy rain can limit visibility. Pedestrians should try to make eye contact to ensure drivers are aware of their presence before they attempt to cross the street. Drivers should slow down and remain vigilant when driving in bad weather.
What compensation is available after a pedestrian accident?
The type and amount of compensation available for those involved in a pedestrian accident in Utah vary based on the factors contributing to the accident. Determining what types of compensation you qualify for and how much to seek is complex. You can seek legal representation from a pedestrian accident law firm to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Economic damages are proven costs stemming from your accident. You can establish the amount of economic damages you’re seeking with medical bills and receipts from other related costs. Economic damages also include lost wages and future medical bills for ongoing treatment. You qualify for compensation for future lost wages if your injuries will prevent you from returning to work.
Non-economic damages can’t be measured with receipts or bills. These are damages based on how your injuries have impacted your social life or personal opportunities. Read about Lynette’s judgment, which included compensation for opportunities she missed. Non-economic damages also include compensation for pain and suffering.
Some accident victims can seek punitive damages from the at-fault party responsible for their injuries. Punitive damages rely on the ability to prove misconduct. For example, if a drunk driver caused your pedestrian accident, you may be able to seek punitive damages.
If you don’t feel too badly hurt after an accident, should you still see a doctor?
You should seek medical attention to identify and address any injuries promptly. You may be in shock after the accident and unaware of the extent of your injuries. Your injuries may also be more severe than you realize. For example, if you struck your head, you could have a traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as “talk and die” syndrome. You could have injuries to Internal organs that may not be immediately apparent, and you may also have hairline fractures stemming from your accident.
How long do you have to file a claim for a pedestrian accident?
In order to seek compensation, you must file paperwork with the courts before the statute of limitations expires. In Utah, the statute of limitations for pedestrian accidents is four years. However, the sooner you pursue legal action, the sooner you’ll receive a financial settlement to cover your economic and non-economic costs.
Why do you need a pedestrian accident lawyer?
Pedestrian accidents cause serious injuries. The person on foot doesn’t have the weight of a heavy vehicle to protect them from impact. The resulting injuries can turn your life upside down. Unfortunately, the insurance companies and those responsible won’t want to pay you fairly. They want to stall your case to pay far less than you deserve or may even refuse to pay you altogether.
When you have a lawyer for pedestrian accidents, it shows that you mean business. Your attorney can help you understand if your claim is being handled properly. With their experience on your side, you can have peace of mind that you’re building the evidence in your favor and working on a legal strategy to reach your goals. A pedestrian accident is a life-changing event. With qualified legal counsel, you know that you’re handling the situation in the best way possible while you recover on your own terms.
What can the advocates do for your pedestrian accident case?
The Utah pedestrian accident attorneys at Good Guys Injury Law built our law firm with the goal of helping accident victims. When you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian, you need that help. You may not know what your claim is worth or how to go about pursuing it. Working directly with the insurance companies can be a minefield. Things that you don’t even know can unravel your case.
Our attorneys are your legal advocates when you need us most. We offer comprehensive legal services to pursue your case from start to finish. Let us focus on your legal claim while you focus on your recovery. Together, we work to move your case quickly and smoothly while maximizing your compensation.
Our Utah Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help
The attorneys at Good Guys Injury Law are here to fight for your rights and ensure that you receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys personally handle every case we take, serving every client with compassion and integrity. Our goal is to be the best pedestrian accident attorneys near you who handle your case from start to finish.
The best pedestrian accidents lawyer sees more than a case number; they see a person injured in a pedestrian accident whose life has been turned upside down. Every Utah Pedestrian accident attorney with our firm understands you need expert legal help while you recover from your injuries. Good Guys Injury Law cares for the welfare of pedestrians who are injured because a driver failed to obey traffic rules and share the road. Request a free consultation or call us at (801)-506-0800 for a free initial consultation. We will help you get you the maximum compensation possible for your pedestrian accident case.
2015 Utah Crash Facts. (2016).
Borrell, B. (2009). What is “talk and die” syndrome?
Likens, A. (2022). Utah sees rise in auto-pedestrian crashes.
Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties. (2015).
Punitive Damages. (2022).