Given the serious lack of protection, pedestrians often suffer serious types of injuries from pedestrian accidents. Disabilities and fatalities are not uncommon either. In 2013, over 4,700 pedestrians died and 66,000 sustained injuries in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In many cases, injured pedestrians (or their families in fatal cases) are entitled to file a claim with the at-fault drivers’ insurance company or file a lawsuit against the driver to recover damages. For a full explanation of your legal options and help obtaining financial compensation, call our pedestrian accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC and request a free consultation: 215-642-2335.
What are some of the most common injuries pedestrians sustain?
According to a research study published in Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, the areas of the body which most frequently sustain injury in a pedestrian accident include the following:
- Lower extremities (50 percent of victims)
- Head/face/neck injuries (38 percent of victims)
- Upper extremities (27 percent of victims)
Researchers noted that women sustain more pelvic injuries in these types of accidents than men do, and that children tend to sustain abdominal injuries more often than adults do. Musculoskeletal injuries are common across the board, with damage occurring to nerves, bones, tendons, muscles, and blood vessels. Pedestrians also sustain a lot of injuries to the head, abdomen, chest, and ribs – injuries considered the most severe and life-threatening.
Adult pedestrians usually suffer injuries to the legs after a vehicle strikes them (of course, this depends on the height of the vehicle). The impact to the legs often causes damage to the knees, fractures in the lower extremities, and pelvic injuries. These types of injuries that occur to the lower extremities can result in long-term disability that affects mobility.
Depending on the force and impact, collisions can catapult pedestrians onto the pavement, into objects (such as railings or building), onto the hood of the car, or into the windshield. As a result, adult pedestrians often sustain facial, neck, and head injuries, such as concussions and severe traumatic brain injuries. In serious cases, injuries to the head, neck, and spinal column can prove catastrophic and life-threatening.
What factors affect the severity of injuries in a pedestrian accident?
Speed is one of the primary factors that impact the severity of pedestrian accidents. In fact, the chance of sustaining serious or fatal injuries greatly depends on the vehicle’s speed. Those struck by a vehicle traveling 15 mph or less are not very likely to sustain fatal injuries. But as speed increases, so does the risk of suffering severe injuries or death.
Other factors that affect both the nature and severity of a pedestrian’s injuries include the:
- weight and height of pedestrian;
- weight and type of vehicle (passenger car, SUVs, motorcycles, large trucks, etc.);
- height of bumper; and
- age of pedestrian (very young and older pedestrians may be most susceptible to severe injuries).
Even the victim’s overall health status could impact the severity of injuries. For instance, an older adult who has a bone disorder is more likely to suffer significant broken bones than a healthy, younger individual with healthy bones.
What types of disabling injuries might pedestrians sustain?
Some the most common injuries that cause permanent disability for victims of pedestrian accidents include:
- head and brain injuries;
- vertebrae fractures and spinal cord damage; and
- nerve injuries
Injuries such as these affect every aspect of victims’ lives. Brain injuries affect cognition, emotional homeostasis and personality, and motor function, which can impact the person’s outlook on life, family members, job, and sense of well-being. With spinal cord damage, paralysis may result, which can lead to permanent disability and dependency. Even injuries to the extremities can be disabling when complications occur, e.g., compound fractures can lead to dangerous infection, sepsis, and amputation.
What expenses can I recover in a pedestrian accident claim?
Pedestrian accident victims can sustain a world of damages, most of which will be compensable in a valid accident claim or lawsuit. First, there are medical and rehabilitation costs to consider, which can cost thousands of dollars. Likewise, the victim’s home may require modification to accommodate the disability, and home care may be necessary.
More than the costs of ongoing medical treatment, the victim most likely will miss time from work, and will have to account for the loss of income resulting while recuperating. She may lose the ability to perform job functions adequately or her injuries could result in a lost capacity for promotion, which in turn, would result in a loss of earning capacity.
Pedestrians can also sustain various psychological or mental damages related to the injury as well. Some victims experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological problems as they adjust to the injury and rely on others to provide care. There are also other intangible costs, like pain and suffering and mental anguish that may come with the injuries, for which victims have the right to seek compensation.
You can include most of these damages on a pedestrian accident claim, although much depends on certain foundational factors such as fault, liability, the strength of the evidence, and the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. You will want to speak to an attorney for help calculating the value of your claim and ensuring you receive fair and adequate compensation.
Where can I get legal help to pursue compensation in PA or NJ?
Our firm, Cordisco & Saile LLC, has helped numerous pedestrians and their families secure the settlements they need after disastrous traffic accidents. Our team of pedestrian accident lawyers has the backgrounds, tenacity, and legal skills to facilitate full financial recoveries for victims. For tips on maximizing your settlement, download a FREE copy of our helpful book, Don’t Crash Again! A Car Accident Victim’s Guide to Maximizing Recovery.
We are currently accepting pedestrian accident cases in both PA and NJ, and would be happy to explain your legal options during a no-cost, no-pressure case evaluation. Contact us today at 215-642-2335 to speak to one of our accident attorneys and get started.