Pedestrians in wheelchairs more likely to be killed in accidents

Reducing pedestrian fatality rates is a key concern for traffic planners in Louisiana, and the results of a study conducted by researchers at Georgetown University indicates that particular attention should be paid to pedestrians who use a wheelchair. The study analyzed data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concerning accidents that occurred between 2006 and 2012, and it found that pedestrians in wheelchairs were 36 percent more likely to be killed after being struck by a motor vehicle. The researchers said that the true figure could be even higher because they were not able to include pedestrians riding on mobility scooters in their calculations.

The researchers conceded that pedestrians in wheelchairs may sometimes be difficult for motorists to see, and they said that being confined to a wheelchair could make it difficult for pedestrians to take evasive action and avoid oncoming motor vehicles. They also pointed out that many wheelchair-bound pedestrians have medical conditions that could reduce their chances of surviving a collision.

However, the data indicates that the careless actions of drivers were often to blame for fatal car accidents involving pedestrians in wheelchairs. These fatal accidents occur in intersections about half of the time, and drivers made no effort to avoid striking pedestrians in wheelchairs almost 80 percent of the time. Researchers say that accident rates could be reduced significantly if motorists remain vigilant and avoid distractions such as cellphones or other electronic devices.

The families of pedestrians killed by a negligent motorist may seek civil remedies, and a personal injury attorney could file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. Families often face serious financial difficulties after the paycheck of a loved one is lost, and this kind of litigation may seek compensation for lost income as well as expenses such as medical bills and funeral costs.

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