San Francisco is well-known for a lot of great things – the Golden Gate Bridge, streetcars, beautiful scenery and hilly, curvy streets. One unfortunate thing it is known for as well is pedestrian accidents and fatalities. There has been a surge in pedestrian deaths in recent years, which some safety advocates say needs a more aggressive response from city officials.

However, you may be surprised to learn that San Jose actually has at least as many, and in some cases more, pedestrian fatalities as San Francisco. In 2013, 21 pedestrians were killed in both San Jose and San Francisco. There have been at least 18 pedestrians killed this year already in San Francisco.

The high number of pedestrian fatalities can be attributed to a lot of factors. Both cities have talked about pedestrian safety improvements, but are slow in following up. In San Francisco, local agencies have identified the areas with the highest rates of pedestrian injuries and they have made plans for changes. Some of those changes include installing countdown signals in crosswalks, re-engineering streets, and upgrading curb ramps.

One of the problems with both cities is that on some of the wide, fast streets, cars approach freeway speeds. San Francisco city officials point out that significant progress toward pedestrian safety has been made. In 2000, 32 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in San Francisco and that number has been on the decline since then.

One aspect of pedestrian accidents that is worth taking note of is that many of the pedestrian fatalities are because of the actions of the pedestrian. Pedestrian injuries due to cell phone use are up 35 percent since 2010, according to federal emergency room data. Of the approximately 78,000 pedestrian injuries that occurred in the United States in 2012, at least 10 percent are blamed on the pedestrian’s distraction by a mobile phone. To deal with the problem, some states are experimenting with fines for texting in dangerous walking situations. In New York City, speed limits have been lowered in order to make traffic less dangerous for pedestrians who are distracted. San Francisco is also taking initiatives to improve safety for distracted walkers.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in San Francisco or San Jose, it’s important that you speak with an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, time off work, and more. If a family member has been killed in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death.

Typically, in order to win such a lawsuit, you must prove that the other driver who caused your injuries was behaving negligently. The driver may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or may have been distracted by a phone. The driver may have been speeding. If you behaved negligently as well, such as by jaywalking or not being attentive, you may still be able to pursue your case. The damages to which you are entitled though may be reduced as a result of your negligence.

It’s important to speak with a San Francisco personal injury attorney if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident. The driver’s insurance company may send someone to talk to you right away after the accident, in the hopes that you will accept a quick settlement. It is never a good idea to settle a case right away. Instead, speak with an experienced attorney. If you have been injured in the San Francisco/San Jose area, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco pedestrian accident attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She will provide you with a consultation free of charge on your case. Call Liberty Law today to learn more.

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