As Kansas City personal injury lawyers, we know that pedestrians are especially vulnerable to serious, life-threatening injuries when they're involved in motor vehicle accidents. Sadly, a significant number of these accidents involve school-age children. This week, a Maryland family was awarded $90 million in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the death of their teen daughter in 2009. According to the Washington Post, a jury granted the award to the family of 13 year-old Ashley Davis, who was struck by a vehicle as she crossed the street to catch her school bus. Davis reportedly suffered serious injuries in the accident and died two weeks later.
Ultimately, Davis's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Prince George's County Board of Education, alleging that the school system failed to "provide a safe bus stop for students who lived on the north side of Brinkley Road." After Davis's bus driver "persistently negligently failed to stop at the appropriate stop," the young girl was forced to cross the street to catch a different school bus - which is what she was doing when she was struck. This incident reportedly came after years of complaints from area parents about the unsafe routes students had to use to get to school, and the Post reports that the district recently cut the number of available bus stops by 2,350.
"The school board was negligent," John Costello, attorney for Davis's parents, told NBC Washington. "They had adopted a policy to provide for safe transportation. The policy was they were going to pick up Ashley on her own side of the street. They never did. They forced her to cross the street. She got killed crossing the street."
Facts about pedestrian accidents:
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in auto accidents than vehicle occupants.
• According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 more suffered injuries in 2010 motor vehicle accidents nationwide. Pedestrians accounted for about 13% of 2010 crash fatalities.
• Of children age 14 and under who died in 2010 accidents, about one-fifth (21%) were pedestrians.
• Safety experts say parental involvement and education is the best way to prevent child pedestrian injuries in fatalities. To find some helpful resources and useful safety tips, click here to visit Safe Kids USA.