There were 5,977 pedestrian deaths across the U.S. in 2017, many of which were in California. That same year, an estimated 137,000 pedestrians went to the emergency department to be treated for non-fatal injuries.

In a car crash, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die than the occupants of the passenger vehicle. The faster the vehicle is going, the more severe the injuries will be and, thus, the higher the risk for a pedestrian fatality. Most pedestrian deaths occurred at night in urban areas.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which provided the data from 2017, found that adults 65 and older made up 20% of the pedestrian fatalities and 10% of those who were injured. Children and young teens were also prominent in NHTSA’s findings. Of all those under 15 who were killed in traffic crashes in 2017, one in five were pedestrians.

Many pedestrians were at least partially to blame in these accidents. Alcohol consumption on the part of the driver and/or the pedestrian was behind 47% of all incidents with a pedestrian fatality. In 33% of the fatal crashes, the pedestrian had a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08 (the legal limit). In 17%, it was the driver with a BAC of at least .08.

Pedestrians injured in an auto accident may have a valid personal injury claim, provided that they themselves were following the applicable traffic laws. Even if they were, though, there can be obstacles to filing an effective claim, so victims may want a lawyer to assist them. The lawyer will likely have a team of crash investigators, medical professionals and other third parties whose job it will be to strengthen the case before negotiations begin.