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Some urban Colorado residents walk to get around town, and some walk for the health benefits that walking can provide. Unfortunately, although walking on a sidewalk or in a marked crosswalk should be safe, occasionally, it is not. Over the course of a single year, there are many pedestrian accidentsthroughout Colorado, although the majority are in cities. In some cases, pedestrians sustain catastrophic injuries. A pedestrian is no match for a motor vehicle of any sort at any speed.

So, how does Colorado compare with national averages? According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Safety Administration, some 76,000 pedestrians were injured and 4,743 killed in traffic accidents across the United States in 2012. In Colorado, of the 471 people killed in motor vehicle accidents in the state, 76 were pedestrians, which translates to 16.1 percent of all traffic fatalities and a rate of 1.47 pedestrians killed for every 100,000 people. This rate is far below other states, such as Delaware (2.94 percent), but well above others, such as New Hampshire (0.61 percent).

How can pedestrian accidents be avoided? Pedestrians can protect themselves by crossing in marked crosswalks and being constantly alert to vehicles. For their part, motorists must be cautious when traveling in any area where pedestrians are likely. Drivers are legally required to yield to crossing pedestrians even in areas not marked with crosswalks. In the event of a pedestrian accident, the party who fails to exercise caution or who acts recklessly may face both criminal penalties and civil litigation.

Anyone who has sustained injuries after being struck by car may be entitled to compensation to cover medical expenses and lost income as well as punitive damages if a driver was clearly at fault. Speaking with a knowledgeable legal professional can provide more information about a lawsuit.