2017 is shaping up to be a deadly year for pedestrians in Kansas City. In June, a man trying to cross I-670 at Genessee Street at night was struck by multiple vehicles and killed. His was the ninth pedestrian death in the city this year, making the first six months of 2017 three times deadlier than previous years.
Should this man have been crossing the interstate at night? Of course not. But when you're the driver of a car that hits and kills a pedestrian, it may not matter that the pedestrian was at fault. You have a duty as a driver to exercise caution and do all you can to protect vulnerable pedestrians. When you're on foot, you should be aware of the dangers posed by cars and take common sense precautions.
How Pedestrians Put Themselves At Risk
In fact, drivers can be held liable for a pedestrian’s injuries even if the accident appears to be the pedestrian’s fault.
Common mistakes pedestrians make that put them in danger include the following:
- Walking while intoxicated. Destinations like the Power and Light District or Downtown Overland Park are full of people on Friday and Saturday nights, many of whom have had a few too many drinks at dinner and may wander into the street. As a pedestrian, it’s important to realize these are not closed areas and that you should stick to crosswalks. As a driver, you must be on the lookout for drunks stumbling into the street.
- Standing on the shoulder of a highway. These accidents are so tragic, because often the person who is hit is a Good Samaritan helping someone who has broken down on the highway. When you're driving on the highway and see a car on the side, move to the far lane if at all possible to give people who may be around the car plenty of space. If you can’t move over, keep your eyes on the road—not on the broken-down car—and keep your car in the lane.
- Children darting into the street. We all try to teach our children not to chase a ball into the street, but when you're driving in a residential area—particularly by a park—it's your duty as a driver to go slowly and watch out for children who may dart out. No one is going to blame a kid for being a kid, so it’s up to you as a driver to be vigilant, doing everything possible to ensure no child is injured.
- Distracted walking. You see it all the time—people texting and walking or having a conversation on their phones while crossing the street. You may even do it yourself. These distracted walkers are likely to step out in front of a car, not hear or notice a car backing up, or ignore a “Don’t Walk” signal. For your own protection, be alert when walking through busy downtowns. As a driver, be aware that many pedestrians are paying no attention to you and it’s up to you to watch out for them.
Driver Mistakes That Put Pedestrians at Risk
We don’t mean to put all the blame for pedestrian accidents on the pedestrian. More often, careless drivers are to blame for both pedestrian and car accidents. In fact, in May of this year, a man was standing at the intersection of 35th and Prospect when two cars collided in the intersection and drove straight into him. He was seriously injured, but survived.
Pedestrians are at risk everywhere, especially when drivers do the following:
- Drive while intoxicated or distracted. Drivers who are impaired or distracted are incapable of seeing and avoiding pedestrians, even those who are legally crossing the street. These drivers are also likely to drift out of their lanes or even run up onto a sidewalk and hit pedestrians.
- Fail to yield at crosswalks. Drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks whether the light is in their favor or not. Crosswalks are common places for pedestrians to be hit because they feel it's safe zone—and it should be.
- Speed. When a driver exceeds the speed limit, he or she will not be able to stop in time to avoid a pedestrian. A speeding driver is also more likely to run off the road and strike a person walking on a sidewalk or shoulder.
How a Kansas City Attorney Can Help
If you're hit by a car in Kansas City, you'll need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure the driver is held responsible. You may suffer serious brain trauma, broken bones, back injuries, or other serious damages, and you'll need financial compensation to recovery from these injuries.
If a loved one was killed by a motorist in KC, an attorney can help determine if you have cause for a wrongful death claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation.