Across the United States, pedestrian deaths averaged 20 deaths a day in 2021, the highest in four decades. In Montana, however, pedestrian accidents decreased that same year. Yet, while pedestrian accidents are down a bit, there is still cause for concern. The Governors Highway Safety Association showed 17 pedestrian fatalities in the state of Montana in 2021.
Pedestrian accidents are often more fatal than other types of accidents. According to the NHTSA, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a car crash. Pedestrians have no protection when hit by a vehicle. Because of this, the injuries are likely to be catastrophic.
NHTSA data concerning pedestrian fatalities shows the following:
- Urban areas are much more likely to have pedestrian fatalities than rural areas.
- While most people think pedestrian accidents primarily happen in intersections, in reality, only about 18 percent of all pedestrian accidents occur in an intersection.
- Those between 10 and 14 and 50 and 54 are the most likely to suffer a fatality from a pedestrian accident.
- Pedestrian accidents are much more likely to occur in the dark (75 percent) than in daylight.
- Almost three-fourths of all pedestrians killed in traffic accidents are male.
What Causes Most Pedestrian Accidents in Montana?
In the state of Montana—as in other states—pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks and places where traffic signals are not in place. Pedestrians have the right to walk safely, whether they are walking for exercise, recreation, or to and from work. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Drivers who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted drivers
- Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Overly tired drivers
- Failure on the part of drivers to adjust to roadway conditions or inclement weather
- Small children suddenly darting out into the road
- Drivers who ignore traffic signals or who violate traffic laws
Distracted drivers are increasingly common, causing all sorts of traffic accidents. Drivers may be talking on their cell phones, texting, or even posting on social media rather than paying attention to their driving. Some drivers eat entire meals while behind the wheel, put on makeup, turn around to see what the children are doing in the back seat, fiddle with car controls, GPS devices, or the radio, or talk to passengers. Drivers tend to look for other vehicles more vigilantly than they look for pedestrians, motorcycles, or bicycles.
Fatigue is another increasingly common cause of pedestrian accidents. We are a sleep-deprived nation, with as many as 100,000 traffic crashes being attributed to drowsy driving each year. Sleep Foundation found that driving while overly fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Both conditions slow reaction times, affecting decision-making skills and alertness. After about 18 hours of being awake, the effects on eye-hand coordination and reaction time are equal to a BAC of 0.05 percent. After twenty hours of no sleep, drivers react similarly to drunk drivers with a BAC of 0.08 percent. Even mild or short-term sleep deprivation can lead to dangerous impairment in driving ability.
What Should You Do Following a Montana Pedestrian Accident?
If you got hurt in a pedestrian accident, you might face a long recovery, significant medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, and spinal cord injuries often result from pedestrian accidents due to the pedestrian’s lack of protection.
While you may have suffered horrific injuries following your accident, if you are able, do the following:
- Call 911 for police and EMS
- Seek medical attention for your injuries
- Obtain contact information from the driver, along with insurance information
- Take photographs at the scene of the accident
- If there were witnesses to the accident, get their contact information
- Keep track of all relevant medical receipts and records
- Once home, contact an experienced Montana pedestrian accident attorney
A pedestrian accident can alter your life forever. You may have injuries that never fully heal. Getting your life back to how it was before your accident may not be possible. Settling the negligent party’s insurance can help. And, in most situations, your own car insurance, called underinsured motorist coverage can help compensate you for your losses and injuries. If you cannot return to work because of your injuries, you might fall behind on paying your basic monthly expenses. Your medical expenses may be mounting alarmingly, and you may not even be able to get the medical treatments you need. A skilled Montana personal injury attorney can ensure you receive a fair settlement for your injuries, giving you a better chance of a positive future.
Contact Our Helena Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident in Montana, we can help. Let Doubek, Pyfer & Storrar obtain maximum compensation for you after a serious injury accident.
Keif served as the Law Clerk and Special Master to the Honorable Kurt Krueger, Second Judicial District Court, Butte-Silver Bow County. Keif represents people who have been injured by the misconduct or negligence of others and seek justice in Montana’s courts. Keif is a member of the Montana State Bar and the Montana Trial Lawyers. Doubek, Pyfer & Storrar, PLLP serves clients throughout Western Montana.