Personal Injury

Crosswalk Tragedies: Pedestrian Crashes in Wisconsin

When it comes to injury accidents, few are as devastating as collisions between vehicles and pedestrians. The sheer velocity of a traveling car coupled with its significant weight can cause serious injuries or death in an instant. Collisions between cars and pedestrians are unfortunately not uncommon in Wisconsin, and although the statistics are not updated, the numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation indicate that in 2001, one pedestrian was killed every five hours and twelve minutes in the state.

When you think about it, there is no reason for these accidents to ever occur. Everyone is aware that pedestrians have the right of way in any crosswalk and drivers should be constantly vigilant behind the wheel, looking out for people on sidewalks, crosswalks, and other places where pedestrians are common. Speed is often a factor in these collisions as well, and when drivers fail to observe the posted speed limit, accidents are bound to happen.

The study by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation highlights two specific groups that have a higher likelihood of being seriously injured or killed as pedestrians: the elderly and children. Older pedestrians showed the highest fatality rate as pedestrians on Wisconsin roadways, often because their age prohibits them from moving quickly when crossing the street, and other contributing age-related factors like diminished eyesight and hearing problems, that may make it difficult for them to see oncoming traffic before it is too late.

Children, on the other hand, are also a high-risk group. Ages 5-9 showed the highest rate of injury due to their “limited understanding of traffic laws and little sense of danger” according to the Wisconsindot.gov website. In addition, children often cannot judge the speed or distance of an oncoming vehicle, do not know that vehicles cannot stop as fast as pedestrians, and have a full third less peripheral vision than adults do. When all of these elements are factored in, it is not difficult to see why children and vehicles are a deadly mix.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of every driver on Wisconsin roadways to watch for children and elderly people on the road and do everything possible to avoid collisions. If a driver fails to stop in time and a pedestrian is killed on accident, they may face criminal prosecution (if the person was intoxicated at the time of the crash or was speeding) or may face civil actions like a personal injury lawsuit. These actions can have a serious impact on the driver and the family of the victim alike. Families of those hurt or killed in an accident may contact an attorney to fight for compensation including funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost wages or loss of companionship, and other monetary costs associated with the tragic accident.

It is part of a social contract we share with each other: we will operate our vehicles responsibly and will do all that we can to prevent injury to others. If we fail to do so, especially around pedestrians, serious injuries can occur and everyone’s life will be affected. So watch out for pedestrians, and let’s make sure to take care of one another on the road.

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Dangerous Conditions on the Road are often the Cause of Car Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has never ceased in creating and implementing programs and designing educational campaigns that will continuously remind drivers of the necessity of observing road safety rules to keep accidents minor and at a minimum. This is because no less than 90% of the more than five million motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. (every year) are due to driver’s fault, like speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, which is the number one cause of car accidents, and distracted driving, which greatly involves teenage and young adult drivers. This, somehow, points to the alarming possibility that, no matter how careful one may drive, if another driver acts negligently or carelessly, then an accident may just occur.

Drivers, however, are not the only ones guilty of acts of negligence, for there are also factors or other causes of accidents that are outside of a driver’s control. These include cars with manufacturing defects or low-quality car parts, and defective roads and highways. Often, these other factors present greater dangers for these may not be immediately obvious, being discovered only after having caused tragic road mishaps. 

According to the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD, dangerous conditions on the road are often responsible for accidents. They may be the fault of the state or a municipality responsible for road design, maintenance, and signage, a construction company that has left the pavement littered with obstacles or debris, or a truck that has left blown out tire treads or fallen cargo on the pavement. These are some of the more common road conditions that cause highway accidents:

  • Faulty road design
  • Hazardous road construction area
  • Objects or debris on the road
  • Potholes or cracked, uneven pavement
  • Lack of a level shoulder
  • Missing guardrails
  • Standing water
  • Detached tire treads
  • Snow and ice, especially black ice
  • Lack of lane dividers or pavement markings, especially on winding roads

The dangerous effects of a defectively-designed highway or a poorly-maintained street is definitely more extensive than car manufacturing defects as the former directly affects more (if not all) motorists. States, municipalities and cities are the ones responsible in the construction and maintenance of roads. States, however, have immunity from any form of liability (despite injuries during an accident), which is based on the rule that, so long as they follow approved construction plans, then they are exempt from paying any claims by an accident victim.

The chance of a victim in winning the court’s approval to claim for damages, therefore, depends on the ability and competence of the personal injury lawyer, on whom rests the burden to prove that the risk of accident should have been foreseen or discovered by the state. Personal injury lawyers know very well how important it is for victims to hold those who cause accidents liable for their injuries.

 

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