Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise in Michigan

What might be causing them, and what you need to know to protect yourself in the event you are involved in a pedestrian accident.

On Michigan Radio’s website is an interesting, yet alarming, article on the rise of pedestrian deaths, not across the nation, but specifically in Michigan.

In fact, while the overall number of pedestrians killed on roads across the country last year is not expected to vary considerably from 2013 totals, the fact that the number of pedestrian deaths in Michigan increased is cause for great concern. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, in the first six months of 2013, 47 pedestrians were killed in Michigan. In the first six months of 2014, 66 pedestrians lost their lives.

That’s quite a jump in pedestrian accidents.

What might be causing the increase in pedestrian deaths in Michigan?

These days, it’s risky to be a pedestrianpedestrian-deaths-on-rise-michigan on Michigan roads. Some questions to ask are:

  • Are motorists simply not paying attention to their surroundings?
  • Are drivers being distracted by cell phones and other things?
  • Are drivers speeding too often?
  • Are pedestrians crossing where they should be?
  • Are pedestrians listening to music instead of listening for the cars and trucks passing them by?

While any number of these could explain the reason why pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in Michigan, wouldn’t these also hold true in other states? Surely Michigan doesn’t hold a monopoly on distracted and/or inebriated drivers and walkers.

We’ve blogged a number of times on the increase in hit-and-run accidents involving pedestrians. While conversations about how to prevent future pedestrian accidents and deaths are especially needed given these new findings, it’s also important for you to be aware of how you and your loved ones may be protected if confronted with this situation.

How our state’s no-fault insurance system protects you

As you know, Michigan has a mandatory, comprehensive no-fault automobile insurance system which provides a number of benefits. Not only do these benefits apply to drivers involved in accidents with other motor vehicles (i.e., other cars, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, etc.), but they also extend to pedestrians if a motor vehicle played a significant role in causing injury or death. While “fault” is not important with regard to who can receive PIP benefits (because we are a “no-fault” state, you are entitled to receive these benefits unless you fall into one of the statutory exceptions), it can be a factor with regard to any additional compensation beyond the receipt of no-fault PIP benefits.

Who pays the no-fault PIP benefits if you happen to be involved in a pedestrian accident? First, if you’re the pedestrian, you will look towards your own insurer for payment, even though your motor vehicle was not involved. If that isn’t possible, you will then look elsewhere for coverage. However, there is an order that you must follow in finding a source of no-fault coverage. It can be quite complicated, which is why you would need to consult a Michigan personal injury attorney who has handled pedestrian accidents successfully.

If you seek to recover excess economic loss and/or noneconomic loss damages, you will need to file a negligence claim against the at-fault driver. You must show that the driver who caused or significantly contributed to your pedestrian accident was negligent. Additionally, you will need to show that you have suffered “threshold injur[ies],” qualifying you to make the claim for excess damages in the first place.

Should you have any additional questions or concerns about pedestrian accidents and insurance coverage, contact our Lansing wrongful death attorneys or Grand Rapids wrongful death attorneys who handle pedestrian accidents, including hit-and-run cases and wrongful death claims.

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