After seeing a record jump in 2015 and 2016, the number of roadway fatalities in California and the rest of the U.S. has been gradually declining. If the estimates of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are accurate, 2018 will be the second year in a row to see a decrease, however slight it might seem.
The years 2015 and 2016 were the worst in terms of traffic fatalities since at least the 1960s, prompting many to suggest that a new era in driving had begun. There are grounds for such concerns: More drivers are, for example, letting smartphones and in-vehicle technology distract them from the road. But 2017 saw a 2% decline in traffic fatalities with 37,133 dying in motor vehicle crashes. In 2018, that number went down about 1% to 36,750.
At the same time, 2018 was a worse year for pedestrians and bicyclists, both of whom are becoming vulnerable as urbanization continues. NHTSA estimates that there were 4% more bicyclist deaths and 10% more pedestrian fatalities. Data from Automotive News confirms the long-standing nature of this trend. In 1996, 80% of all traffic deaths in the U.S. were vehicle occupants, while 20% were pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. In 2017, the latter formed 33% of all traffic deaths.
Pedestrians, motorcyclists and vehicle occupants who are injured through no fault of their own may file a claim and be reimbursed for medical expenses, income lost during the physical recovery and more. It may be a good idea, though, to see an attorney who works in personal injury law. After seeing if the case is valid under California's rule of comparative negligence, the lawyer might proceed to build the case with evidence gathered by investigators. If the other side is willing, the lawyer may negotiate a settlement.