Most people understand the risks of driving a car, but we often underestimate the dangers facing pedestrians on our streets. A car can strike a pedestrian with catastrophic consequences, often resulting in life-threatening injuries and a lengthy recovery period.
Moreover, because pedestrian accidents typically cause more severe injuries than ordinary car crashes, victims frequently face expensive medical bills and a permanent drop in their quality of life.
This blog will highlight some common pedestrian accident injuries to better illustrate the scope of this problem and what victims can do to demand justice.
Below, you’ll find critical information on the most common accident injuries, what to do after an accident, and how a San Diego pedestrian accident attorney can help injured pedestrians fight for fair compensation.
Most Common Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian is no match for the brute force of a 2,000-pound car, let alone something larger like a pickup, SUV, or semi-truck.
No wonder figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that of the nearly 62,000 pedestrian crashes nationwide in one recent year, there were more than 54,000 crashes with injuries and more than 6,700 fatal accidents.
Why Do Pedestrian Crashes Cause Such Severe Injuries?
Pedestrian crashes often lead to more severe injuries than typical car accidents because pedestrians lack many of the protections that drivers and passengers in cars have.
Unlike vehicle occupants, pedestrians have no airbags, seatbelts, or metal frames to shield them from crashes. When a car collides with a pedestrian, the full force of the collision directly hits the person’s body. This direct exposure increases the risk of severe injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, and internal organ damage.
Additionally, the difference in mass and speed between a moving vehicle and a pedestrian contributes to the severity of the injuries.
A pedestrian’s body is simply not built to withstand the force of a car moving at even moderate speeds. This disparity explains why pedestrian accidents often result in more critical and life-threatening injuries compared to those in a vehicle during a crash.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident
Taking proper precautions can help protect your safety and legal rights if you have sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident. Here’s a guide on what to do following a pedestrian accident.
First and foremost, prioritize your health by following all of your doctor’s prescribed treatments to the letter. Even if your injuries appear minor, hidden complications can arise later, and your medical records can help support a personal injury claim.
Next, report the accident to the police to create an official record, as you will likely need the accident report to help establish liability. Furthermore, save the contact information from any eyewitnesses to the crash and any photos or videos you took of the scene.
Throughout this process, watch what you say regarding the crash, particularly to the driver who hit you and their insurance company. Avoid discussing fault or making comments that someone might take as you admitting liability for the crash.
Be especially careful about discussing the accident on social media, as the driver’s insurance company can easily find your posts and use them against you.
Finally, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after starting medical treatment. They can help you understand the details of a personal injury claim and work to secure fair compensation for your injuries and trauma.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are unfortunately common and can occur due to various factors. Understanding these causes can help determine liability in the event of an accident.
Here are some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Distracted Driving: Drivers focused on their phones, navigation systems, or other distractions often fail to notice pedestrians, leading to accidents.
- Speeding: Exceeding speed limits reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases the severity of any collision with a pedestrian.
- Failure to Yield Right of Way: Many accidents happen when drivers ignore crosswalks or traffic signals, failing to yield to pedestrians as the law requires.
- Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs dramatically impairs a driver’s ability to react and make sound judgments, putting pedestrians at significant risk.
- Poor Visibility: Accidents are more likely in conditions of poor visibility, such as at night or in bad weather, where drivers may not see pedestrians until it’s too late.
- Road Design Flaws: Inadequately designed or maintained roads, lacking proper crosswalks and signals, contribute to pedestrian accidents.
Who’s Liable for a Pedestrian Accident?
The most commonly liable party in a pedestrian crash is the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident. If the driver was speeding, distracted, or otherwise negligent, they likely bear at least some responsibility for the accident.
However, liability for a pedestrian crash sometimes extends beyond the driver or pedestrian. For instance, you could hold a city or municipality liable if poor road design or inadequate signage contributed to the accident.
Furthermore, you could hold the vehicle manufacturer partly responsible if a vehicle malfunction, like brake failure, led to the accident.
In scenarios where a driver hits someone during the course of their job, their employer might also bear responsibility for the crash. Identifying the liable party often requires a thorough investigation and the experience of legal professionals.
How Much Is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?
Because pedestrian accidents cause such devastating injuries and cost victims dearly, you need an attorney to maximize the value of your claim. An experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer can assist you in pursuing compensation for any losses related to the accident, such as:
This includes costs for immediate treatment, surgeries, hospital stays, medication, and any future medical care related to your injuries.
This category of compensation can cover any income you lost due to your inability to work during your recovery. This category also includes lost earning capacity if your injuries lead to a long-term disability.
Pain and Suffering
This category accounts for the physical pain and emotional distress you suffered due to the accident.
Loss of Quality of Life
If your injuries result in long-term disability, affecting your ability to enjoy life and perform daily activities, you can demand compensation for this loss.
Compensation from a pedestrian accident claim often includes money for physical therapy, counseling, and other forms of rehabilitation.
If any of your personal property, like a phone or clothing, sustained damage in the accident, a personal injury claim can include the cost of repairing or replacing it.
When considering the potential value of a pedestrian accident claim, remember that every case is different. While you can get an estimate of your claim’s worth by adding up your medical expenses and other losses, an attorney will need to review your case to provide you with a more concrete figure.
How Do You Prove a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
Concrete evidence is the foundation of any successful personal injury claim.
Some common evidence in pedestrian accident claims include:
- Police accident reports
- Your medical records
- Eyewitness accounts
- Photos or videos from the crash scene
- Footage from surveillance of traffic cameras
- Testimony from expert witnesses
Deadline to File a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
The deadline to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit varies across states. Each state has a statute of limitations that limits how much time a person has to file a lawsuit after an accident. Some states give you three or four years to file a lawsuit, while others specify that you must take legal action within a year or two.
If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit, that most likely means your case is over, as the court will dismiss your claim regardless of its merits. Furthermore, while two or four years seems like a long time, you want to hire an attorney as soon as possible. That way, they can preserve critical evidence and take their time to build a comprehensive case.
Waiting to hire a personal injury lawyer could cost you significantly or lead to the automatic dismissal of your claim.
How an Attorney Can Help Maximize Your Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident
After a pedestrian accident, you have enough to worry about without the hassle and complications of a personal injury claim. You need to focus on healing from your injuries and rebuilding your life. At the same time, you need to protect your rights and pursue fair compensation from the party who caused your injuries.
The best way to do this is to hire an attorney right away and let them handle your legal case while you rest and recuperate.
Here are a few ways a personal injury lawyer can help after a pedestrian accident:
- Investigating the Accident: A lawyer can thoroughly investigate the accident for you. They can gather evidence like police reports, witness statements, and camera footage to build a strong case.
- Navigating Legal Complexities: Your attorney can explain the legal intricacies of your case and guide you through these complex procedures. They can also ensure all paperwork and filings meet legal requirements.
- Assessing the Full Extent of Your Losses: Attorneys know how to evaluate and document all your losses from a pedestrian accident. Thorough documentation of your losses helps you maximize all possible areas of compensation, from medical expenses to pain and suffering.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies and can negotiate effectively on your behalf to prevent lowball settlement offers.
- Representing You in Court: If your case goes to court, an attorney can provide robust representation. They know how to present the case effectively to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.
- Advising You on Legal Decisions: Your lawyer can offer informed advice on any settlement offers and guide you on the best course of action. They can consider both your immediate needs and the accident’s long-term effects.
How Much Does a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Cost?
Some people don’t want to hire an attorney after a pedestrian accident because they have concerns about what it might cost.
However, most personal injury attorneys do not charge any upfront fees. Instead, their compensation comes from a percentage of whatever money their clients recover through an insurance settlement or trial verdict.
That way, injury victims can hire an experienced advocate without worrying about the cost. Furthermore, most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, so potential clients can determine whether a lawyer is a good fit without losing any money.
When to Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Speaking to an attorney immediately after a collision ensures they have enough time to investigate the case, gather crucial evidence, and negotiate with the insurance companies. Giving your attorney sufficient time to build a robust case increases the likelihood that they can maximize your compensation.
Waiting too long to hire an attorney can have disastrous consequences, including the dismissal of your claim without your recovering any compensation. Thus, contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your legal options for seeking financial relief.