Pedestrians and cyclists injured in accidents in Washington, DC now have an easier time pursuing financial compensation they rightfully deserve from the person responsible for their accident, according to a new law recently adopted in the District.
Washington, DC mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill into law, which allows pedestrians and cyclists to pursue damage (financial compensation) for accident-related expenses if they are less than 50 percent at fault, according to the law known as Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act, B21-0004.
Washington, DC pedestrian accident attorney Mike Slocumb praised the new law, which he said will come as a relief to the families affected by such serious accidents. “You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes,” Slocumb said. “If someone causes your accident, they should be responsible for paying your bills.”
Pedestrian, cyclist injuries in Washington, DC
Accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists occur at an alarming rate in our nation’s capital. Each year, an estimated 600 pedestrian accidents and 265 bicycle accidents occur in Washington, DC, according to allwalksdc.org.
As for fatalities, the number of pedestrian fatalities in Washington, DC has increased steadily in recent years. In 2015, there were 13 pedestrian fatalities in Washington, DC, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In previous years, there were 9 pedestrian fatalities in 2014 and 2013 in DC, 7 in 2012 and 8 in 2011. Cycling fatalities have remained steady at roughly one fatality per year in Washington, DC.
Statistics for 2016 were not available. But nationwide, pedestrian fatalities increased to a 26-year high last year. 5,997 pedestrians were killed last year nationwide, an 11 percent increase compared to 5,376 pedestrian fatalities nationwide in 2015, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Last year’s figure was the highest since 1990, when 6,482 pedestrians were killed nationwide, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Why are pedestrian accidents more common?
There are many reasons why pedestrian accidents have become more common. Some officials noted an increase in impaired pedestrians and pedestrian distraction. An estimated 34 percent of pedestrians were intoxicated (blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher) when they were struck and killed by a car or another vehicle, according to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in April.
Failure to yield and speeding continued to be the top two causes of pedestrian fatalities last year, according to NPR. But officials believe the real reason why last year was so deadly for pedestrians has to do with an increase in the number of pedestrian accidents caused by distracted drivers, especially texting drivers.
Such conclusions came as no surprise to attorney Slocumb. “We’ve all seen it, drivers more focused on their phones than the road in front of them,” Slocumb said. “That’s why more needs to be done to crack down on distracted driving. That’s why our firm works so hard on such cases. We believe injury victims shouldn’t have to suffer just because someone wasn’t paying attention. If a distracted driver caused your accident, make them pay. Contact our DC law firm.”