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Lose a loved one in a pedestrian accident? You are not alone

Walking is a fantastic way to improve your health, save some gas money and even reduce your impact on the environment. Sadly, it is also dangerous. As a pedestrian in Connecticut, your risk for injury, or even death, in a pedestrian accident is probably much higher than you think.

In 2016, the fatality rate for pedestrians reached its highest point since the year 1990. So, what is behind the sharp increase in deaths? While many factors are at play, a major contributor is a popular type of vehicle -- the Sport Utility Vehicle.

SUVs are killing people

While pedestrian deaths increased across the board and in all types of collisions, accidents involving SUVs saw the greatest spike. This information comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which examined data from 2009 to 2016. IIHS reported that fatal pedestrian-SUV accidents rose a shocking 81 percent. This is 3.1 percent higher than fatal pedestrian accidents involving other motor vehicle types combined.

During this same period of time, registered SUVs rose by 37 percent. All other passenger vehicle registrations decreased. Knowing this, it may not come as a surprise to learn that SUVs and trucks comprise a whopping 67 percent of the auto market in the United States.

Why are SUVs so dangerous?

SUV manufacturers design them to keep their occupants safe, and they do a good job at that. Large and heavy vehicles tend to have better survival rates for accidents than small passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, these large vehicles are also associated with higher death rates for pedestrians because of those designs.

Designed with high front ends, SUVs usually strike pedestrians in their chests or heads. Small cars can still cause serious injury to pedestrians, but passenger vehicles usually hit pedestrians in the legs. This small difference can mean the difference between suffering and injury, or dying.

Speed is also a factor

Everyone in Connecticut seems to be in a rush, and that includes drivers. As speed limits have been inching up over the years, pedestrians are becoming more likely to be involved in high-speed accidents. Combine the problematic SUV design with higher speeds and a report that, as of 2015, 4.2 million people walk as their primary mode of commuting, and you get a deadly combination.

If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident, you can take action. Wrongful death claims can provide valuable compensation when successfully pursued to completion. However, these types of suits hinge on your ability to properly demonstrate a driver's negligence, and as such, you might consider first consulting with an attorney who is experienced in such matters.

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