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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Pedestrian Accident / Pedestrian Deaths After Dark: What to Consider

Pedestrian Deaths After Dark: What to Consider


Pedestrian accidents and injuries tend to occur more frequently in urban areas, and research has long shown that motor vehicle collisions in which pedestrians are injured tend to increase when the clocks fall back in the autumn for daylight saving time and more people are walking at darker rush hours. Yet a recent report from The New York Times suggests that the rate of pedestrian accidents after dark has increased over the last two decades, and at an alarming rate without an obvious explanation. Indeed, as that report explains, pedestrian deaths were on the decline from about 1980 onward. However, by the early 2000s, that number began to rise significantly, and the majority of the increase in pedestrian fatalities occurred at night.

What do you need to know about seeking compensation for a pedestrian injury after dark in Richmond, and what can the recent report tell us about injury risks and liability? Our Richmond pedestrian accident attorneys can say more.

Time of Day is a Key Factor in Fatal Pedestrian Accidents 

The Times report reveals that the trend toward a low rate of pedestrian deaths that began in the early 1980s has remained relatively stable over the last four decades, but only in the daytime. By 2009, the rate of deadly pedestrian injuries after dark had jumped substantially, and the data was only applicable to the United States. In short, pedestrian injuries in “comparably wealthy countries” like Canada and Australia have continued to decline or to remain stable, despite the time of day and amount of daylight. In the United States, a shockingly high rate of pedestrians have been dying at night, and that number continues to rise with each year.

In 2021, for example, there were 7,300 pedestrian fatalities in the United States, and about 75 percent of those deaths occurred after dark. While researchers point to some explanatory factors — such as an increase in SUVs on American roads (which tend to cause more serious and deadly pedestrian injuries), and the increased use of smartphones — the darkness factor cannot be fully explained as of yet. Since rates of alcohol-impaired driving and aggressive driving have not increased steadily, they cannot explain the rise in nighttime pedestrian deaths.

Filing a Claim After a Fatal Pedestrian Accident in Richmond 

When a pedestrian is killed in a collision with a motor vehicle, they are no longer alive and able to file a claim themselves. Accordingly, Virginia wrongful death law — rather than personal injury law — will likely apply to the case. A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal lawsuit in that it allows a plaintiff to seek compensation from a liable party for damages caused by their negligence. Yet rather than the injured person filing the claim, another party must stand in the shoes (metaphorically) of the deceased person to file the lawsuit.

Under Virginia law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must be the party to file the wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative can then seek compensation for the deceased’s surviving family members, including a surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, and other relatives.

 Contact Our Richmond Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Pedestrian accidents in and around Richmond can be devastating. The experienced Richmond pedestrian accident attorneys at Latham & Martin can learn more about your case and provide you with information about your options for seeking financial compensation after a debilitating or deadly collision.




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