The Risks of Pedestrian-Car Accidents in Seattle

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According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, between 2008 and 2012, there were 90 pedestrian fatalities and 582 injuries in accidents with vehicles in King County. Twenty-one percent of all traffic fatalities in King County were pedestrian fatalities.

These accidents shed some light on the risks that pedestrians face of being hit by a car in Seattle. Fortunately, injured pedestrians or their families can pursue compensation from drivers who cause these accidents to cover their damages.

Causes of and Factors in Pedestrian-Car Accidents

A lot of the same things that cause accidents between two vehicles cause pedestrian accidents, including:

  • distracted driving (or walking);
  • alcohol impairment (on the part of the driver or pedestrian);
  • right-of-way violations (on the part of the driver or pedestrian);
  • speeding; and
  • aggressive driving.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 37 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2011, the pedestrian had a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of above .08, while in 13 percent of the accidents the driver had a BAC of greater than .08.

Additionally, 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersecting portions of the street, and the same percentage of accidents occurred at night. Crossing at a place other than an intersection, walking at night and intoxication are significant factors in pedestrian accidents.

The Seattle and King County Public Health Department did a study of pedestrian accidents as well for the years 2000 to 2003. They found that 42 percent of pedestrian fatalities were the result of unsafe crossing, and 60 percent of fatalities involved alcohol on the part of the driver or pedestrian.

Tips to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents

Looking left, right and then left again before crossing is a good way to reduce risk of accidents. Pedestrians always should cross a street at a crosswalk, follow crossing signals and make sure they make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

Pedestrians should also make themselves visible when crossing. This may entail wearing visible clothing, crossing in lighted areas, using flashlights or other lights, etc. See our blog post for more pedestrian safety tips at night.

Putting away cell phones and other devices is a good way for pedestrians to ensure they pay full attention to the road. This includes headphones or earbuds, which can be a source of distraction, too. Of course, pedestrians should avoid walking across the street while intoxicated.

Legal Options after an Accident

An injured pedestrian immediately should seek medical attention after an accident. Someone, either the pedestrian or a loved one, should make sure that he or she files a police report, obtains the driver's name, contact information and insurance policy number, and records the contact information for any witnesses.

After the accident, a pedestrian may file a claim with the driver's liability insurance company. After the claim is filed, the insurer performs an investigation to determine liability in the accident, and injured pedestrians and an attorney can submit relevant evidence to establish the driver’s negligence.

Max Meyers Law, PLLC knows how to fight for fair compensation after a pedestrian accident. Contact our office 425-399-7000 at to speak with an attorney about your case.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.