Pedestrian accidents are shockingly common in Michigan. Every year, more than 100 pedestrians are killed and several thousand are injured in traffic crashes.
Data from the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) shows that pedestrian fatalities in Michigan hit a high in 2021. A total of 183 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes – out of which 43 were killed in alcohol-involved crashes.
Pedestrian Accidents in Michigan – Key Facts You Should Know
- Since 2017, more than 800 pedestrians have been killed in motor vehicle accidents.
- A majority of pedestrian accidents occur between 6 pm and 9 pm.
- Men account for close to 70% of pedestrian fatalities.
- Children under the age of 15 are at higher risk of being involved in pedestrian accidents due to their unpredictability, recklessness, and playful nature.
- Older people (over the age of 65), on the other hand, are at higher risk of being involved in pedestrian accidents due to poor eyesight, hearing problems, slow reflexes, restricted mobility, and lack of situational awareness.
What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Michigan?
Pedestrian injuries and fatalities have been on a steady rise in Michigan over the past few years. Even in 2020 – when there were fewer cars on the road due to COVID-19 lockdowns – the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths actually increased in Michigan.
Data shows that the increase in pedestrian injuries and deaths is not limited to Michigan alone. Between 2010 and 2020, the pedestrian fatality rate in the country went up by more than 50%.
Experts say that the lack of pedestrian-friendly roads and infrastructure is one of the reasons why pedestrian accidents are so common in Michigan. While many cities in Michigan including Ann Arbor, Hamtramck, and Traverse City have a high walk score, there is no denying the fact that the roadways in the state are designed primarily to cater to the needs of motorists.
Another reason for the increase in pedestrian injuries and deaths is the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns seem to have altered the driving habits of many people. Data shows that incidents of speeding and distracted driving have increased significantly over the past five years – particularly during the pandemic.
The Center for Sustainable Systems reports that there has been a 24% increase in the average vehicle weight in the country. While any motor vehicle can cause serious injuries to a pedestrian in the event of a collision, bigger and heavier vehicles pose a much greater danger and the risk of fatalities is considerably higher.
Moreover, taller vehicles like SUVs and trucks have larger blind spots, which can make it harder for drivers to check for pedestrians – especially when they are turning. Data shows that nearly 50% of people in Michigan own an SUV, which might explain why pedestrian accidents are so common in the state.
The Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) has taken several initiatives to tackle the issue of pedestrian accidents – from launching public awareness campaigns like Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Week to educating motorists about pedestrians’ rights on the road and educating pedestrians about how to share the road safely with motorists.
What Are the Factors that Contribute to Pedestrian Accidents in Michigan?
A vast majority of pedestrian accidents happen due to the negligence or recklessness of motorists. The most common examples of negligent or reckless actions by motorists that can result in pedestrian accidents include:
- Driving too fast in intersections, construction zones, and other places with heavy traffic.
- Distracted driving.
- Aggressive driving.
- Disregarding traffic signals.
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians.
- Failing to check for pedestrians while making a turn.
- Failing to check for pedestrians while backing out of a parking lot.
- Making rolling stops at traffic signals.
- Driving too fast under inclement weather conditions.
- Poor visibility due to rain or fog.
Research shows that speeding – in particular – can increase the risk of pedestrian accident fatalities by a significant extent. If a vehicle traveling at 16 mph hits a pedestrian, there is a 10% chance that the pedestrian will suffer a serious injury. At 23 mph, the risk increases to 25%. And at 46 mph, there is a 90% chance that the pedestrian will suffer a serious injury.
Similarly, if a vehicle traveling at 50 mph hits a pedestrian, there is a 75% chance that they will sustain a fatal injury. At 58 mph, the risk increases to 90%.
The risk of serious and fatal injuries also differs greatly depending on the age of the pedestrian. The older the pedestrian, the more likely they are to suffer a serious or fatal injury in the event of a collision – even at low speeds.
In some cases, pedestrian negligence can also contribute to traffic crashes. Common examples of pedestrian negligence include:
- Not crossing at an intersection.
- Darting in and out of traffic.
- Not using the sidewalk when it is available.
- Being under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription medications.
- Texting, talking on the phone, talking to other people, or being distracted in any other way while walking along the road or crosswalk.
Determining Fault in Michigan Pedestrian Accidents
In the event of a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the driver can be held liable under the following circumstances:
- If they were drunk or under the influence of recreational drugs or prescription medications at the time of the accident.
- If they were fatigued or sleepy.
- If they were speeding or driving too fast for conditions.
- If they were distracted.
- If they were driving aggressively, recklessly, or impatiently.
- If they did not yield the right of way to the pedestrian.
- If they failed to come to a complete stop at an intersection.
- If they failed to check for pedestrians before turning or changing lanes.
If the accident was caused as a result of vehicular malfunction, the company that designed or manufactured the defective part can be held liable for the accident.
If the pedestrian was negligent in their own right, they can be partially held responsible for the accident as well. For instance, if they were intoxicated, distracted, jaywalking, or failed to follow traffic laws, they can be held partially liable for the pedestrian accident.
You can also opt a legal course from ExLibro to learn about traffic and other laws.
Who Can Be Held Liable If a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Rideshare Vehicle?
If you are hit by a rideshare vehicle like Uber or Lyft, the driver or the company can be held liable – depending on the circumstances.
Both Uber and Lyft maintain third-party liability insurance for all their drivers. However, the company-sponsored liability insurance comes into effect only when the app is turned on. If the app was off when the accident happened, it is the driver who can be held personally responsible for the accident. You need to file a claim against the driver and recover damages from their auto insurance company.
If the app was on and if the driver in question was waiting for a ride request when the accident happened, the ridesharing company can be held liable for the accident. Similarly, if the accident happened when the driver was on their way to pick up a passenger or during a ride, the ridesharing company can be held liable for the accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable If a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Food Delivery Driver?
If you are hit and injured by a food delivery driver, you might be able to hold the driver or the company they work for liable.
Companies like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates maintain third-party liability insurance for their delivery drivers. These employer-sponsored insurance policies cover the accidents caused by drivers from the moment they pick up an order until they make a delivery. At all other times, in the event of an accident, it is the driver who can be held personally liable for the resulting damages.
On the other hand, if the driver in question has a history of alcohol or drug issues or has been convicted for traffic law violations in the past, the restaurant or the food delivery company that hired the driver can be held liable – as long as the driver was on the clock at the time of the accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable If a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Government Vehicle?
Local and state government agencies in Michigan are protected against tort claims under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Pertaining to this, accidents caused by government vehicles are exempted from sovereign immunity. If a driver operates a government vehicle negligently or recklessly and injures someone, the government agency they work for can be held liable for the resulting damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable If a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Commercial Truck?
If you are hit and injured by a commercial truck, one or more of the following parties can be held liable – depending on the circumstances:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The loading company
- The truck or truck parts manufacturer
When Is the Truck Driver at Fault?
The truck driver can be held personally liable in a pedestrian accident claim under the following circumstances:
- If they were under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription medications, or any other illicit or intoxicating substance at the time of the accident.
- If they were fatigued.
- If they were speeding or driving aggressively.
- If they violated traffic laws.
- If they failed to yield you the right of way.
One of the factors that separate truck accidents from other kinds of accidents is that the truck company can be held liable – even if the accident was caused by the driver.
When Is the Truck Company at Fault?
There are two ways a truck company can be held liable for a pedestrian accident caused by their driver – direct liability and vicarious liability.
A truck company can be held directly liable for the accident caused by its driver under the following circumstances:
- If they did not have a proper screening and background checking process in place and hired an unqualified or untrained driver to operate the truck.
- If they hired a driver with a history of intoxicated driving, aggressive driving, or reckless driving.
- If they did not have a proper alcohol and drug testing program in place.
- If they forced or encouraged the driver to drive continuously without taking adequate breaks in between.
- If they failed to maintain the truck properly.
A truck company can be held vicariously liable for the accident caused by its driver under the following circumstances:
- If the driver in question was under the employment of the truck company.
- If the driver was acting within the scope of their employment when the accident happened.
In order to avoid liability for the accidents caused by their drivers, many truck companies in Michigan choose to hire independent contractors with their own vehicles – rather than hiring people directly.
It should be noted that even if the at-fault driver happens to be an independent contractor, the truck company might still be held liable – depending on the nature of the relationship between the company and the driver.
For instance, if the driver worked exclusively for the truck company and if the company exerted control over the driver’s actions, the driver cannot be considered an independent contractor, in which case the company might be held liable for the accident.
When Is the Loading Company at Fault?
Commercial trucks should be loaded carefully in accordance with federal regulations. If the cargo is not properly loaded, it can increase the risk of accidents significantly. The loading company can be held responsible under the following circumstances:
- If the cargo was unevenly loaded and its weight was not distributed evenly.
- If the cargo was not properly secured.
- If the truck was overloaded with cargo.
When Is the Manufacturer at Fault?
If the accident was caused by a defectively designed or faulty part, the company that designed it or manufactured it can be held liable.
How a Michigan Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help You
An experienced pedestrian injury attorney can help you in many ways. These include:
- Helping you file a personal injury protection claim and making sure you receive your no-fault benefits in a timely manner.
- Working out an arrangement with a hospital so that you can continue to get the medical care you need and pay your medical bills after you get your settlement.
- Investigating the accident and gathering evidence to establish the defendant’s fault and their extent of liability.
- Calculating the extent of your economic and non-economic losses and determining the amount of compensation you are legally entitled to receive.
- Negotiating with the insurance adjuster for a settlement.
- Taking your case to trial and recovering monetary damages through litigation.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Our Capable and Trusted Michigan Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Fight for You!
Pedestrian accidents can result in extremely serious and life-altering injuries. The medical expenses for treating your injuries can be prohibitively costly – even if you have health insurance. You need to hire a capable Michigan pedestrian accident lawyer who can fight for you tirelessly and get you the settlement you deserve.
At The Lobb Law Firm, we have proven and talented Michigan pedestrian accident lawyers who have been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of pedestrian accident victims and their families for nearly 50 years.
Our personal injury attorneys can investigate your case, identify all the parties who can be held liable, assess the extent of your economic and non-economic losses, and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Our legal team has decades of experience in civil litigation. We have the legal expertise and resources to handle highly complicated personal injury claims and we are prepared to fight relentlessly to obtain the best result possible in each and every case.
If you are injured by a motor vehicle, you should contact a pedestrian accident attorney in Michigan to handle your claim. You need someone you can trust and rely on to provide you with the legal advice, guidance, and support you need.
Call our law firm today at 248-591-4090 or get in touch with us online and schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned Michigan pedestrian accident attorneys.