Multiple serious injuries and deaths resulting from pedestrian-car accidents in San Francisco have brought increased attention to the matter of pedestrian safety in the Bay Area. In December 2012, Mayor Ed Lee announced the plans of the Pedestrian Safety Task Force, which aims to reduce the number of dangerous pedestrian accidents through safety improvements and awareness efforts.
According to CBS San Francisco, 876 pedestrians were injured in collisions with vehicles in San Francisco in 2011. Even worse, there were at least 18 fatal pedestrian accidents in San Francisco in 2012, said Elizabeth Stampe, the executive director of Walk SF, a pedestrian advocacy organization.
Mayor Lee said half of San Francisco's pedestrian accidents happened on 5 percent of its streets. Major thoroughfares like Market Street, Van Ness Avenue, 19th Avenue and Geary Boulevard experience a high number of accidents, as well as intersections at highway off-ramps.
The mayor reported that the city and its Pedestrian Safety Task Force will focus their efforts on the 50 most dangerous intersections. Their plan includes reducing speed limits, enhancing crosswalks, installing yield signs, improving sight lines and educating drivers and pedestrians. The stated goal is to reduce the number of fatal pedestrian accidents by 25 percent by 2016, and by 50 percent by 2021, Mayor Lee said.
These plans come against a backdrop of far-too-common pedestrian accidents. Just in the two weeks following the mayor's announcement, two more serious pedestrian accidents occurred. In the first, a driver hit three pedestrians in Twin Peaks, killing a 56-year-old woman and causing injury to three others - one person wasn't hit by the car but was injured trying to get out of the way. Later, another pedestrian-car accident seriously injured a 50-year-old woman in the Anza Vista area. The woman suffered head and brain injuries, and the driver left the scene without stopping, according to SF Weekly.
There may be a variety of legal responses following a pedestrian accident. If the injuries are serious or fatal, the driver may be charged with a crime. In addition, regardless of whether criminal charges are filed, the injured pedestrian may be able to sue the driver.
If the accident was the result of negligent behavior by the driver, the injured person may be able to obtain compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Through the lawsuit, the pedestrian may be able to recover damages for his or her pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages while recovering. If the accident permanently limited the pedestrian's ability to work again in the future, monetary compensation may be awarded to cover the loss of anticipated future income.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian accident, contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in pedestrian accident cases to discuss your legal options.