Bagen Law Firm | May 16, 2023 | Pedestrian Accidents
Walking is a healthy, eco-friendly activity that becomes riskier all the time. Thousands of Americans lose their lives or suffer severe injuries as pedestrians every year. Many of these injuries can produce life-altering and extremely expensive results.
Drivers who negligently cause pedestrian accidents should be accountable for their actions. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you hold liable parties responsible for your injuries and losses, and you might deserve significant compensation for your injuries.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accidents can result in many injuries, from minor to catastrophic or even life-threatening. These injuries can leave injured parties with severe pain, scarring, disabilities, emotional trauma, and even clinging to life.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Even though the skull and some fluid protect the brain, it’s often no match for the extreme forces of a motor vehicle. Pedestrians lack the protection that motorists and even bicyclists have in most areas, including the head.
If the head suffers a severe blow—perhaps by hitting the roadway or the vehicle, it can cause severe bleeding and swelling. Sometimes these injuries are minor, and other times they are severe or fatal. A TBI can leave a victim suffering from headaches, seizures, personality changes, extreme mood swings, and other problems.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
The spinal cord receives protection from the surrounding vertebrae. Still, it’s also quite vulnerable to injuries in such a traumatic accident. A traumatic blow can dislocate or fracture the vertebra causing damage to the spinal cord, including bruising, swelling, or severing. Depending on the level of the spinal cord injury and its severity, the injured pedestrian can become paralyzed and be unable to care for themselves.
Fractures and broken bones are also common, as bones can only withstand so much pressure or force. Many fractures heal by immobilizing the body part with a splint or cast for several weeks. However, some require surgery and physical therapy yet still result in chronic pain and long-term problems.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Several different injuries are soft tissue injuries, including:
While insurance adjusters like to think that soft tissue injuries aren’t worth compensating, quite the opposite is true. Although many are self-resolving with little to no medical treatment, they often still result in substantial pain and can keep accident victims from participating in their everyday activities or working.
Other soft tissue injuries can cause scarring or disfigurement and impact an injured pedestrian’s emotional well-being. If you seek recovery for soft tissue injuries, get a reputable pedestrian accident lawyer immediately.
Appendages can sustain amputation either during the accident or due to medical necessity after the accident. Either way, adjusting to life without an appendage or limb can be extremely challenging. Victims often have to re-learn ways of doing things and suffer the emotional consequences of their disfigurement.
Pedestrian accidents can injure vulnerable extremities. They often don’t stand a chance against an oncoming vehicle. Fractures, soft tissue injuries, and loss of extremities are common.
Insurance adjusters frequently want to ignore the fact that not all accident injuries are physical. Some are mental and emotional with no outward physical symptoms. A motor vehicle crash can traumatize you, no matter how minor or severe your injuries might be.
You may suffer depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and body image problems. You deserve compensation for these injuries just like you do for your physical injuries. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help you obtain such a recovery.
Sadly, some of these injuries can be fatal. Pedestrians are at a high risk of death when hit by cars as they lack protection and are much smaller than most vehicles. If you lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, a pedestrian accident lawyer can help you pursue justice on their behalf.
A death makes it imperative to hire a knowledgeable attorney.
The Elements of Negligence
Successful pedestrian accident claims involve establishing the four elements of negligence. If you or your pedestrian accident lawyer can’t prove each element, it’s unlikely that you will receive compensation for your damages.
You need a lawyer who can prove:
- Duty: The driver who hit you owed you a duty of care, for example, to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk
- Breach of duty: The driver violated their duty by not yielding the right of way to you
- Injuries: The driver’s breach of duty resulted in the accident that caused your injuries
- Damages: Your damages are the direct result of your injuries
Your pedestrian accident attorney will use evidence, such as the police accident report, medical records, bills, lost income statements, surveillance video footage, and eyewitness testimony, to establish each point.
Pedestrian Accident Damages
Suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident causes additional expenses, physical pain, and many other losses. Damages are the financial representation of these expenses and losses. If you hear that someone received $X in damages, they received $X in compensation for their injury losses.
Damages are typically divided into two categories, economic and non-economic. They are very different, but both are essential to any personal injury claim.
Economic damages represent your financial expenses and losses, such as:
- Past and future lost income and earnings
- Past and future medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses such as travel to medical appointments, prescriptions, or medical supplies and equipment
- Legal expenses
Since proving economic damages is more straightforward with bills, receipts, and income statements, their value is objective.
On the other hand, non-economic damages don’t come with bills, receipts, or statements. Their value is subjective. These damages focus on how your injuries have impacted your life and your relationships.
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of a body part or function
A seasoned pedestrian accident lawyer can ensure that you account for all of the damages in your claim. They can also work towards negotiating a fair settlement that will fairly cover all of your damages.
Economic and non-economic damages compensate you for your losses, while punitive damages punish and deter the driver who caused the accident. However, the court only awards them when the driver acted willfully or especially carelessly with disregard for the damage they might cause.
For example, if a drunk driver or drag racer injured you, you might receive punitive damages in court. Only a judge or a jury can award them at trial. If your case settles out of court, you won’t collect punitive damages. Discuss this with your lawyer.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Being hit by a car while walking can be one of the most traumatic experiences someone might ever face. Unfortunately, with so many pedestrians on roads, these accidents happen more and more every day. Understanding how they happen can help prevent them and help determine who is liable when one occurs.
In most circumstances, pedestrians have the right of way. Even if a pedestrian doesn’t see a vehicle and begins to cross the street against a light, they still have the right of way. Drivers who fail to keep watch for pedestrians on the road or attempt to drive around pedestrians walking in crosswalks cause avoidable accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Intoxicated drivers put everyone at risk, especially pedestrians. Many impaired drivers drive right through crosswalks without looking and make left turns right into groups of pedestrians resulting in severe accidents.
Reckless drivers are responsible for many pedestrian accidents every year in the U.S . Pedestrian safety relies on drivers who drive defensively and ensure they do all they can to prevent accidents. When drivers get behind the wheel only caring about getting where they are going, the chance that there will be innocent victims increases.
Rain can make roads slippery, requiring a farther stopping distance to avoid hitting vehicles. Sometimes downpours can be so extreme that they significantly reduce visibility. High winds can also contribute to auto-pedestrian accidents.
When the sun goes down, it becomes increasingly difficult to see pedestrians. They often blend in with the background, even with street and traffic lights illuminating the roads. Drivers should always keep in mind that pedestrians can be present and expect them to be on the streets at night.
Road construction is typically an inconvenience, but it can also be a safety hazard. Many motorists don’t realize that construction zones can force pedestrians to walk in areas where they may not expect them to be. Drivers should be highly alert to pedestrians in construction areas.
Vehicles Turning Left
Even when a crosswalk has signals, drivers can fail to pay attention to them. One of the riskiest areas for pedestrians is in the path of a vehicle making a left turn. Drivers attempting to negotiate such a turn are often focused only on oncoming traffic to determine when to turn, so much so that they fail to see any pedestrians that can be in their path.
While on arterial roads, drivers must be aware of other drivers changing lanes, speeding, making dangerous lane changes, or even tailgating. Because of this, most drivers are naturally not keeping a lookout for pedestrians or focusing on traffic signals.
How Long Do I Have to File a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
After a pedestrian accident, you only have a limited amount of time to pursue your legal options. As per your state’s statute of limitations, accident victims have limited time to file a claim.
If you lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, you also have a deadline for filing a claim. You should also be aware that in pedestrian accidents involving injured children or against government entities, a different statute of limitations can apply.
If you don’t file your case on time, you can no longer seek a legal remedy in your accident claim. Instead of trying to figure out what statute applies to your specific circumstances, the best course of action is to reach out to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. They will know what statute of limitations applies to your case and ensure that you file it on time.
Why You Need to Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The majority of accident victims receive a more significant settlement with legal representation.
Not only does hiring legal help increase the chances of receiving fair compensation, but it also:
- Gives you more time to rest and heal and gives you peace of mind
- Prevents the insurance companies from speaking to you directly
- Might allow for faster compensation, saving you time and money
- Ensures that a skilled negotiator is working on your claim
- Provides objectivity
Your attorney will know what your claim is worth and isn’t afraid to fight for your rights, even against large businesses or powerful insurance companies. If it becomes necessary, they can litigate your claim. It’s generally in your best interest to have a lawyer on your side.
If you meet with a pedestrian accident attorney, they can give you their honest opinion of whether or not you can benefit from legal representation. If an attorney doesn’t think they can help you, they will tell you and provide alternative remedies you can pursue. Never make this decision without a professional evaluation.
Do You have Injuries Due to a Pedestrian Accident? Speak with a Skilled Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
Your injuries were not your fault, so why should you have to pay for them? You shouldn’t. The negligent driver who caused your accident should be held liable for their actions.
A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you do this. They can take care of your claim from the day your accident happens up until it is settled or litigated. Let them work out the details while you heal from your injuries.