Pedestrians typically find themselves rather defenseless when involved in road accidents because they have little in the form of structural safeguards. No matter how careful or vigilant you are as a pedestrian, an errant automobile driver can end up causing serious injury, or more. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, seeking advice from an experienced pedestrian accident attorney is the ideal way forward. You may also benefit by learning about different aspects of your case.
Pedestrian Accidents in Numbers
The numbers related to pedestrian accidents in the U.S. are alarming and highlight the risk that pedestrians face. Data collated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2020 indicates that:
- Over 7,000 pedestrians lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents.
- Pedestrians accounted for one in six people who lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents.
- Around 104,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms to get treatment for non-fatal accident-related injuries.
Data released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that fatal pedestrian accidents increased by 46% from 2010 to 2019 (a jump from 4,302 fatalities to 6,301 fatalities). It also indicates which states had the highest pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2020.
- California – 485
- Texas – 335
- Florida – 332
- North Carolina – 121
- Georgia – 113
- Arizona – 106
- New York – 101
- New Jersey – 80
- Illinois – 75
- South Carolina – 72
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents take place because of different reasons. While most relate to automobile drivers, pedestrians can also be at fault in some instances.
- Distracted driving. One of the most common reasons for pedestrian accidents is distracted driving, where a driver’s attention shifts to a mobile phone, eating, drinking, or something else.
- Speeding. Speeding drivers have to deal with reduced reaction times and are more likely to cause serious injuries or death.
- Poor visibility. It’s common for pedestrian accidents to take place in areas with poor visibility.
- Intoxication. Several accidents take place because drivers or pedestrians are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Improper crossing. Some pedestrians are involved in accidents when they cross streets improperly, such as against a red light or in the middle of the block.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accident lawyers and attorneys are no strangers to dealing with different types of injuries. Some of the common ones they come across include:
- Head/brain injuries. A European study indicates that 44% of traumatic brain injuries are traffic-related, and pedestrians experience the most severe injuries. Brain injuries might lead to long-term disabilities such as paralysis, cognitive impairment, and personality changes.
- Spinal cord injuries. These may come in the form of cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or sacral injuries. Spinal cord injuries might result in paralysis.
- Broken bones/fractures. Broken bones/fractures are common in pedestrian accidents, and may vary from minor to severe.
- Internal injuries. Even pedestrians involved in slow to moderate-speed accidents may suffer from pelvic, long bone, intra-abdominal, and intra-thoracic injuries. Some internal injuries might be life-threatening.
- Soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries such as cuts, bruises, and trauma to muscles, ligaments, and tendons are also common in pedestrian accidents.
If you’re suffering because of a pedestrian accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Consequently, it’s important to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer or attorney, as this helps you determine how to move forward.
Pedestrian accident attorneys need to determine fault, and in doing so, they pay attention to these aspects.
- Duty of care. In the context of pedestrian accidents, drivers have a duty to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and to be aware of their surroundings when driving. Pedestrians, on their part, need to obey traffic laws and cross streets carefully.
- Breach of duty. A breach of duty could occur if a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk or if a pedestrian crosses a street against a red light.
- Causation. Causation refers to the relationship between the breach of duty and the resulting harm. In order to establish causation, your attorney will need to show that a breach of duty was a substantial factor in causing the harm.
- Comparative negligence. In most states, New York included, when pedestrians are partially at fault, their damages reduce based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a court finds you to be 50% at fault, your damages reduce by 50%.
How to Select a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Given that there are several pedestrian accident law firms, attorneys, and lawyers from which to choose, it is important that you select one after comparing your options well.
- You should ideally partner with a personal injury attorney or a lawyer who has experience handling pedestrian accident cases. This ensures that your attorney is familiar with the laws and regulations that apply to pedestrian accidents and can build a strong case on your behalf.
- It’s common for pedestrian accident attorneys to work on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t have to pay any upfront fees, and you pay only if you get a favorable settlement or win the case. However, it’s important to look at the terms of the contingency fee agreement before signing on the dotted line.
- It’s important to select an attorney who makes you feel at ease. For example, your attorney should encourage you to ask questions and provide clear answers. Your attorney should also provide timely updates about your case.
- Building a reputation takes time, diligence, hard work, and consistent results. When you partner with a reputed pedestrian accident law firm, you increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
Having to deal with the aftermath of a pedestrian accident is never easy, especially if it leads to serious injuries or loss of life. What might help is that the law makes provisions for those who suffer so they may receive compensation to deal with medical expenses, loss of income, and more. If you feel you might need legal assistance, consider getting in touch with a qualified pedestrian accident attorney or lawyer at the earliest.