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Wrongful Death Claims and Pedestrian Accident Fatalities

Casey Woodruff

pedestrian crossingMost of us know that pedestrians in Chicago are at risk of being struck by speeding automobiles. While we can pay attention to “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs and can obey pedestrian safety tips, such as those offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when we cross streets, we may not be able to avoid the risk of a fatal pedestrian accident altogether. According to a recent report from ProPublica, cars may be even more dangerous to pedestrians than we tend to believe. Indeed, the chances of sustaining fatal injuries in a pedestrian accident rise not only with the increasing speed of the vehicle, but also with the age of the pedestrian. In other words, the faster a car is traveling, the more likely a pedestrian is to be killed in a collision. And the older the pedestrian, the more likely that she or he is to suffer fatal injuries in that crash.

What else do you need to know about pedestrian accident fatalities and filing a wrongful death claim?

“Faster Cars Are Deadlier,” Report Says

The ProPublica article focuses on a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which shows that a pedestrian’s risk of fatal injuries increases as the speed of an automobile increases. When a car traveling 25 miles per hour strikes a pedestrian, the average pedestrian is at a 12 percent risk of sustaining fatal injuries in the accident.

As you might imagine, there is a sharp incline as the speed of the automobile increases from 25 miles per hour up to 60 miles per hour. At 30 miles per hour, for instance, the risk of fatal injury to the average pedestrian rises to 20 percent. At 40 miles per hour, that risk of fatal injury increases to 45 percent. Once a vehicle reaches a speed of 50 miles per hour, the risk of fatal injury to a pedestrian who is struck by that car rises to 75 percent. At 60 miles per hour, the risk of fatal injury is 93 percent to the average pedestrian. Given that the risk simply cannot increase much beyond that point, the risk of fatal injury largely plateaus at 60 miles per hour.

Older Adults at Much Greater Risk of Fatal Injury

What is particularly interesting about the report is how it demonstrates that the risk of fatal injuries in a pedestrian accident not only rise with the increased speed of the automobile, but those risks also rise as the age of the pedestrian goes up. While the average pedestrian is at 20 percent risk of sustaining fatal injuries in an accident with a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour, that risk is nearly double (37 percent) for pedestrians aged 70 and older. In a collision with a car traveling 40 miles per hour, the average pedestrian runs a 45 percent risk of sustaining fatal injuries; while a pedestrian aged 70 or older has a 70 percent risk of sustaining fatal injuries—double that of the average pedestrian.

Likewise, younger adult pedestrians (those approximately 30 years old) have a slightly lower risk of sustaining fatal injuries in a pedestrian accident than the average walker.

File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If someone you love sustained fatal injuries in a pedestrian accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Illinois, the Wrongful Death Act governs these claims. It is important to recognize that the statute of limitations requires you to file a claim within a certain period of time after the death occurred. An experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyer can help. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today for more information.

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