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Are pedestrians at risk if they wear headphones?

The days of carrying a boombox may be over, but people still like to listen to music on the go. In the age of smartphones, it's easy to just plug your headphones into your phone and listen to your favorite songs anywhere. Maybe you're walking from the parking garage to work, from your house to the bus stop, or just strolling across town.

pedestrian headphones.jpg

Are you in greater danger of being hit? Some experts believe you are. One study found that the number of accidents in which pedestrians were hurt tripled in just half a dozen years thanks to the use of headphones.

The exact reasons did vary. In some cases, the music blocked out sounds that otherwise would have warned pedestrians, so they were hit. In other cases, they were busy using the devices -- scrolling through song options on the phone, for instance -- and walked into trouble.

That shows that there's a clear risk, but it doesn't mean the pedestrians are at fault. There's no law against listening to music, and drivers have a responsibility to drive safely.

For instance, maybe you were listening to music and legally crossing the road at a crosswalk, with the light in your favor. A driver then ran the red light and hit you. If you hadn't been using the headphones, maybe you would have heard the car coming and you could have run out of the way in time. But that accident is still the driver's fault; you're not obligated to run from drivers who break traffic laws just to avoid injury.

If you are hurt, you must know if you have a right to compensation. Your medical bills in a pedestrian crash can be very high, even after a low-speed accident.

Source: Daily Tech, "Headphones Cause Pedestrian Injuries to Triple Over a 6-Year Period," Tiffany Kaiser, accessed April 07, 2017

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The Malloy Law Firm concentrates on helping injured people and their families put their lives back together. We can help you get the medical care and compensation you need.

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Bethesda, MD 20814

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