The long, warm days of summer pull you outside. Sports, hiking, street fairs, picnics—whatever your activity, even if you commute everywhere by car, you’re still a pedestrian now and then. Nearly six thousand pedestrians are killed—and thousands more injured—every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Avoiding pedestrian accidents is a serious issue for everyone, including drivers, pedestrians and property owners. Here are some steps to prevent accidents this summer, and tips if you have been injured.

Pedestrians: be predictable

Avoid pedestrian accidents in crosswalks

  • Just like drivers, pedestrians must follow the rules of the road, obeying signs and signals.
  • Use available sidewalks, or if necessary, walk in the road, facing traffic, with as much distance as possible from moving vehicles.
  • Stay alert—avoid using electronic devices when walking.
  • Drivers expect pedestrians at crosswalks, so use them when available.
  • Make eye contact with approaching drivers.
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.
  • Exercise extra care around cars reversing from driveways and parking spots.
  • Avoid walking while intoxicated.

Drivers: stay vigilant

  • Obey the rules of the road, including signs and signals.
  • Exercise extra caution in school zones and around children.
  • Stay constantly alert for pedestrians, especially at night or in bad conditions.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Drive slowly and approach all crosswalks with caution.

Property owners: provide upkeep

Poorly-maintained sidewalks, parking lots or construction zones can also cause accidents. Property owners can be held at fault under some conditions by some courts. In general, it’s best to monitor your property for any bad conditions that could lead to an accident. If you created the condition, or procrastinate in its repair, you could be held negligible.

Accidents happen

Following these steps can reduce your chances of causing or suffering a pedestrian accident. If you’re injured, take these immediate steps:

  • Call 911.
  • Stay at the scene until help arrives.
  • Collect any witness names and phone numbers.
  • Avoid making any statements to anyone, including insurers and drivers.

Understanding negligence

An injured pedestrian may be able to recover damages if another person’s negligence led to the accident. The Legal Information Institute defines negligence as: “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g. a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).”

Various factors need to be proven to legally establish negligence. Since laws can vary by location, give us a call if you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident. We specialize in the area of personal injury, can skillfully negotiate settlements, and bring years of courtroom experience to our work with clients.