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Salt Lake City Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Salt Lake City is a dangerous metropolitan area for pedestrians. Its unusually wide streets are difficult to cross, and its sidewalk infrastructure is not conducive to safe foot travel. The roads are so perilous for pedestrians, in fact, that many intersections offer safety flags in buckets for walkers to take back and forth with them across the streets. If you’re one of many unsuspecting pedestrians injured in Utah, speak to an attorney about your legal options. A pedestrian accident attorney in Salt Lake City can offer dedicated legal representation to help you maximize a settlement offer or jury verdict.

When to Call a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

After a pedestrian collision, you may feel scared and confused. You might be in the hospital recovering from significant injuries, and facing hefty medical costs. In these moments, a personal injury attorney can be your greatest ally. A lawyer can help you pursue compensation through a lawsuit or an insurance claim.

An insurance claim may be a viable source of recovery after a pedestrian collision, as long as the offending driver remains on the scene and has adequate coverage. In a hit-and-run case, the pedestrian’s own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance may cover damages. Insurance companies often offer less in settlements than what you could receive in a personal injury claim. Your best option may be to turn down a quick insurance settlement and take the offending party to court for fair and just compensation.

Salt Lake City’s Design is Hostile to Pedestrians

The designer of the urban grid of Salt Lake City created it as the “Plat of Zion.” The goal was to create a spiritual utopia – a city free from crime. Early settlers planned to achieve this by making the blocks long and wide to accommodate plots for houses with farms and gardens. In essence, the vision of early settlers was to create a rural community setting within a city. Each block is in the shape of square at right angles. They thought that by giving residents plenty of space, they could reduce the rates of violence and crime.

Blocks in Salt Lake City are much longer and wider than most other cities in America. Blocks in downtown Salt Lake City are 660 feet on each side – the equivalent of about two football fields per block. In comparison, city blocks in Carson City, Nevada are 180 feet on each side; Portland, Oregon are 200 on each side; and New York City blocks are 200 feet long. In today’s modern world, these large city blocks have an unintended consequence, their large size makes them particularly dangerous for pedestrians trying to cross. Thus, downtown Salt Lake City presents a rather hostile environment for those trying to get around on foot.

Salt Lake City and Utah Pedestrian Collision Statistics

Despite the Salt Lake City government’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety, pedestrian collision rates remain high. Statistics reflect a marked need to improve the city’s infrastructure, incorporating more intuitive crosswalks, intersections, and pedestrian traffic signals. The city itself does not invite people to walk its lengths, with too much space in between buildings and blocks for socializing or effortless shopping. People who do try to brave the sidewalks are at risk of collisions from distracted, careless, and negligent drivers. The statistics on state and local pedestrian collisions according to the latest highway safety report are as follows:

  • Salt Lake County accounted for the greatest number of pedestrian collisions in Utah every year from 2006 to 2015. In 2015, 528 pedestrian crashes occurred in Salt Lake County. This was an increase from 499 collisions in 2014, and 479 in 2014.
  • Over a 10-year period, Salt Lake County recorded 4,341 total pedestrian collisions. This made up 50.7% of the total for the entire State of Utah in the same decade (8,563 collisions). Salt Lake County made up 45% of all pedestrian deaths in Utah.
  • Throughout Utah, there were 965 total pedestrian collisions in 2015. These accidents resulted in 876 pedestrian reported injuries and 49 deaths.
  • The age group most at risk of fatal pedestrian collisions in Utah is 50- to 54-year-olds, making up 11.2% of all pedestrians killed from 2006 to 2015. Males accounted for the majority of all pedestrians involved in crashes (54.3%) and killed in crashes (61.2%) in Utah, 2015.
  • About 87% of pedestrians sustained injuries in crashes, compared to just 17% of all persons in crashes. The majority of pedestrians in collisions (41%) suffered non-incapacitating injuries.
  • In 48.8% of all pedestrian collisions in Utah, the pedestrian did not contribute to the collision. Improper pedestrian crossing accounted for 11.4% of collisions, followed by darting into the road (7.6%), not being visible (6.3%), and failing to obey traffic signals (4.2%).
  • The most common location in Utah for pedestrian collisions is marked crosswalks at intersections, making up 36.6% of all pedestrian crashes in 2015. Other common locations were in the roadway, on the shoulder of the road, at an unmarked crosswalk, and on the sidewalk. In the roadway accounted for the most pedestrians killed.
  • About 28% of pedestrians killed in crashes and tested for alcohol had blood alcohol concentration levels at or above 0.08%. This is the percentage of legal intoxication in Utah.

Reading the statistics on pedestrian collisions in Utah and Salt Lake County can help roadway users understand the who, what, when, where, and why of these accidents. This in turn can help spread awareness of the risks of walking around SLC and, hopefully, lower the number of injured and killed pedestrians every year. Avoiding the most dangerous regions for pedestrians can help you avoid becoming a statistic.

Why Are Pedestrians So Vulnerable to Serious Injuries?

Scientists engineer vehicles to provide ample protection to occupants in the event of a collision. A vehicle’s restraint devices, airbags, and roll bars all help prevent serious and fatal injuries. Pedestrians have no such protections. They are also more vulnerable than bicyclists, who at least have bicycle frames and often helmets to buffer the forces of a collision. Pedestrians have virtually nothing between their bodies and the vehicle striking them. This results in much more serious harms to the pedestrian than to other parties involved.

The severity of pedestrian collision injuries relates in large part to the way these incidents occur. Data from around the world shows that the majority of pedestrian accidents involve frontal impacts – a collision between a pedestrian and the front of the vehicle. Frontal impacts to standing pedestrians injure the legs, knees, thighs, pelvis, thorax, and head, in this order. The car first impacts the pedestrian at the lower extremities, causing the person’s upper body to rotate relative to the car. The vehicle may then strike the upper parts of the body, and, finally, the head, which may hit the windshield or front hood of the vehicle. The injured pedestrian then falls to the ground.

The severity of pedestrian injuries will depend on the size, shape, and speed of the vehicle, as well as the age and height of the pedestrian. Children are at greater risk of serious chest, head, and brain injuries in collisions, since the front of the vehicle will strike these areas first upon impact. Pedestrian head and brain injuries can result in permanent physical and cognitive disabilities. Pedestrian fatalities often stem from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal damage. Pedestrians who survive collisions may face expensive medical bills, income losses form missed time at work, physical pain, and emotional suffering.

Determining Liability in Pedestrian Accidents

The Utah civil courts give injured pedestrians (and the surviving family members of deceased pedestrians) outlets for financial recovery after collisions with vehicles. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, the injured party may sue for damages. Bringing a lawsuit against the at-fault party (the defendant) on the grounds of negligence requires that the injured party prove the defendant’s duty of care, breach of duty, and causation for the collision. Moreover, injured pedestrians are entitled to receive medical coverage from the at-fault party via Utah’s no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) laws.

The defendant in a pedestrian case can vary. It may include:

  • The driver. The most obvious defendant in a pedestrian collision is the driver who strikes the pedestrian. If the driver ignored roadway rules, failed to yield the right-of-way, or engaged in dangerous practice such as drunk, drowsy, or distracted driving, the courts may hold him/her liable for injuries. These are acts of negligence that caused what should have been a preventable collision.
  • The municipality. Salt Lake City could be liable for your pedestrian collision if a dangerous roadway infrastructure or malfunctioning control signal caused your injuries. Poor crosswalk design, lack of sidewalks, or other city shortcomings could result in government liability if they contribute to a pedestrian crash. Suing the government in Utah involves the state’s Governmental Immunity Act. There are strict rules claimants in these cases must obey. An attorney can help with these complex claims.
  • A third party. Some pedestrian collisions arise from third-party negligence, such as a construction crew’s failure to provide a safe place to cross the road during construction. The defendant could be virtually anyone or any company that contributed to the accident. This may be a product manufacturer, property owner, or another pedestrian.

The pedestrian may also be at fault for the collision. If the pedestrian darted in front of traffic or ignored traffic control signals, contributing to the crash, the courts may reduce his or her available recovery by the percentage of fault. For example, a pedestrian 20% at fault for the collision would receive $80,000 of a $100,000 total settlement or verdict. According to the state’s comparative negligence laws, an injured pedestrian may still receive compensation as long as he or she is less than 50% responsible.

Fielding Law Injury Attorneys Can Help

 

Speak to our attorneys about all of your options before agreeing to a settlement. Suing the at-fault party could result in much greater recovery depending on the circumstances. A Salt Lake city personal injury lawyer at Fielding Law can help you explore your legal opportunities and choose the path that’s right for you. Speak to our honest, hard working lawyers today during a free consultation. Contact us online or call (801) 666-2912 today for a free consultation. Hablamos Español.