Pedestrian accidents are not rare in Butler, Pennsylvania. Let’s say that you were in one yourself; you may be wondering if you can seek compensation from the driver’s insurance company, and the answer will depend on who was at fault and to what degree.

One thing is for sure, and it’s that more accidents are occurring nationwide that these are leading to more fatalities. Pedestrian fatalities have been increasing since 2009, in fact, and the latest data shows that 2019 was no different.

Pedestrian deaths may have hit 30-year high

The Governors Highway Safety Administration has analyzed the traffic death data from the first half of 2019 and come up with some startling findings. It estimates that there were 6,590 pedestrian deaths in 2019: 5% more than in 2018 and 60% more than in 2009, when a total of 4,109 pedestrians died. The number has not been this high since 1988.

Five states had an especially high number of fatalities: California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida. These states, which together compose about one third of the U.S. population, accounted for 47% of all the fatalities. Florida also had one of the highest fatality rates per 100,000 people along with New Mexico and Hawaii. Vermont, Wisconsin and Idaho had the lowest rates.

More SUVs and distracted drivers to blame

This trend has no equal as all other traffic deaths, the GHSA says, rose about 2% from 2009 to 2018. There are several ways to explain why this is so, one being the greater number of phone users behind the wheel.

The GHSA notes that in 2019, 69% of new vehicles that were sold were light trucks, including SUVs. This is up from 2009, when the percentage was 48%. Collisions with these vehicles tend to leave pedestrians with more serious injuries, so this is clearly another factor.

Seeking compensation with legal help

Pedestrian collisions caused by driver negligence can open the way for a claim, but filing one is not easy. Insurance companies can deny the claim, so victims may want a lawyer to help them prepare a strong case and strive for a reasonable out-of-court settlement.