California is First in U.S. Pedestrian Deaths - Adamson Ahdoot

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California Recorded Highest Number of Pedestrian Deaths Nationwide in 2022

July 18, 2023 María López Garcia
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The State Average Pedestrian Fatality Rate is 25% Higher Than the National Rate

In 2022, pedestrian deaths nationwide reached historic levels, the highest in 41 years. With 7,500 fatalities, the number of moralities increases year after year. Alcohol, reckless speed, or poor infrastructure are some of the determining factors in these accidents. This is especially serious in states like California, which has seen a 10% increase in pedestrian deaths over the past three years.

Considered the deadliest state in the country, California again recorded the highest number of fatalities, with 1,100 deaths. The increased data indicates that the Golden State has a serious traffic safety problem. At a time when more people are walking to work or exercising on the street, the risk of being hit by a car is increasing.

In this blog, we will present statistics on California’s traffic data and try to identify why there are so many pedestrian fatalities in the state. We will also explain what to do if you are hit as a bystander.

Filled with vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians, the chances of getting hit on California streets are high.

California Pedestrian Deaths Still on The Rise

Data collected over the past few years make it clear to residents that California’s roadways pose a real danger to walkers: Approximately 25% of all traffic collisions in California result in pedestrian fatalities. And, of all fatal collisions, the driver fled the scene in one in four.

After reviewing the last ten years of analysis published by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot found that California has consistently led the list of states with the highest number of pedestrian deaths. Based on California data from the 2013 Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities Report, the total pedestrian fatalities doubled by 2022: 612 victims in 2012 and 1,100 in 2022. In the last three years alone, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 10%. In the last ten years, the number has jumped by 77%. This means a death rate of 2.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, the fifth worst in the country.

Since 2010, the number of people fatally struck while walking has increased by 77%.

Los Angeles, the Worst City for Pedestrians

If California is the state with the highest number of pedestrian deaths, Los Angeles is also the deadliest city. An analysis by Streets Are For Everyone of data from 2018 to 2022 shows that LA has 2.9 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities per capita, a rate that far exceeds the national average of 2.2. In fact, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation that compiled traffic data from 2011 to 2020, more than 1,130 people died on the city’s streets. Despite California’s initiative to reduce the number of casualties with the Vision Zero plan, pedestrian deaths continue to occur in Los Angeles.

In 2022, the city experienced 312 fatalities, a 6% increase from the previous year and a 29% spike from 2018. This marks the first time in 20 years that the city has seen more than 300 pedestrians struck and killed.

In addition to having the bloodiest city in the country, California also has the second most dangerous. According to a 2021 report by Smart Growth America, Bakersfield is one of the most unsafe urban areas for pedestrians. Experts say the streets are designed for cars, but the pedestrian infrastructure is in poor condition.

Knowing what your rights are in the event of a collision can be key to your health and finances. At Adamson Ahdoot, we always advise having the number of a Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer on hand. In the event that you are hit, having an expert to advise you on how to proceed will be of great help.

Graphic of fatalities occurring in Los Angeles during the period of 2003 and 2022. (Credit: Streets Are For Everyone)

Possible Causes for the Increase in Pedestrian Deaths

There are several reasons behind many of the pedestrian deaths in recent years. One of the most significant is distracted driving, an increasingly common bad habit among drivers. It is estimated that there has been a 23% increase in distracted driving resulting in accidents since 2020.

Unfortunately, alcohol and drugs also play a negative role in fatalities. Drunk drivers are more likely to cause pedestrian casualties. Especially at night. In fact, drunk drivers were responsible for half of all pedestrian fatalities in California and other states in 2018.

Recklessness and speeding are also responsible for thousands of lives lost each year. Imprudence can be the cause of many pedestrian and bicyclist casualties.

Unfortunately, as has happened in California, pedestrian deaths can even be the result of police action. It is estimated that an average of 37 people are injured each year as a result of being struck during a police pursuit. It is estimated that half of the victims of these police actions were bystanders.

In addition to the inappropriate behaviors mentioned above, there are other factors involved in pedestrian accidents.

  • Poor visibility.
  • Tired or drowsy driving.
  • Disobeying traffic signals.
  • Poor infrastructure.
  • Adverse weather conditions.

Tips for Pedestrians in California

Since 2007, pedestrian fatalities have increased by nearly 30%. And while you never know when a driver might hit you, precautions and preventive measures can be taken to avoid potential injury. As the California Office of Traffic Safety points out, wearing visible clothing and avoiding dangerous behaviors can be key to saving your life. Some of the other tips to follow include

  • Be aware of your surroundings and minimize cell phone use.
  • Look before you cross the street and use designated crosswalks.
  • Do not walk on the road.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident?

When you experience an accident firsthand, it’s hard to know what to do. Adrenaline can make you feel no pain and want to resolve everything as soon as possible. However, you have to be patient and keep a cool head. We advise following these steps in case you suffer an unfortunate accident as a pedestrian:

  1. Stay calm. As mentioned above, remaining calm will help you assess the situation.
  2. Check for major injuries and whether you can move.
  3. Call 911 for medical assistance and the police. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re injured. In many cases, adrenaline masks pain, and injuries may not come to light for hours, weeks, or even months.
  4. Exchange information with the other driver. This includes insurance and vehicle information, as well as personal identification.
  5. Do not talk to anyone except the police. Never admit to anyone that you made a mistake or that you are not in pain. Especially not to the other driver involved.
  6. Get a police report of what happened for your future lawsuit.
  7. Take photos and try to collect any evidence that can serve as solid proof for the case.
  8. Gather information from witnesses.
  9. Find a personal injury lawyer who will guarantee you fair and satisfactory compensation for the damages you have suffered.

Liability in California Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries Accident Cases

When a pedestrian is involved in an accident, the at-fault party may be an SUV, truck, scooter, or even a bicyclist. When a pedestrian is struck and injured, the liability falls on the negligent driver. Even if the person walking was inattentive and negligently crossed the street, causing the incident, the victim may still be able to recover damages.

Although the at-fault party is usually a driver, the negligence could also stem from the poor condition of the sidewalk, roadway, or parking lot. This would make the owner of the property liable, which could be the state, a homeowner, or a business owner.

Typically, the pedestrian accident attorney and the victim must prove three key points in order to obtain the damages sought:

  • The responsible driver owed the pedestrian a duty of care.
  • The driver breached that duty of care.
  • By breaching the duty, the driver was negligent and caused the pedestrian’s injury.

Adamson Ahdoot Has Experience Defending Pedestrian’s Rights

With the alarming numbers coming to light, especially in California, there is an urgent need to take action to prevent more pedestrian deaths. However, if you are a victim or a family member of someone who has been negligently struck by a vehicle, it is important to seek justice.

As one of the most respected options in California, Adamson Ahdoot has more than 100 years of combined legal experience. Our firm is widely known for obtaining successful settlements for clients who have suffered negligent auto accidents. Such as the $9 million obtained in February 2022 for the pedestrian who was struck and suffered severe brain injuries as a result.

If you or someone you know has been hit while walking, contact a knowledgeable lawyer today. Explore your legal options by calling Adamson Ahdoot at (800) 310-1606. One of our bilingual experts will be happy to answer your questions about the potential for compensation in your case free of charge.

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