There is no denying that a car is larger and heavier than a pedestrian, which is why a pedestrian doesn’t usually stand a chance in a car vs. pedestrian accident. Unfortunately, pedestrians often suffer devastating injuries when hit by automobiles. When a pedestrian accident occurs, the injured pedestrian has the same right to pursue a personal injury claim as any injured motorist in Virginia.
Although pedestrians aren’t always innocent, drivers of vehicles are usually to blame in pedestrian accidents for failing to operate their vehicles safely. If an injured pedestrian was not violating the law at the time of the collision, the pedestrian should have a legal claim against the driver.
While pedestrian accidents can take place anywhere, the potential dangers for pedestrians in Washington are numerous due to the many people walking and crossing streets.
Common Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Each pedestrian accident victim we represent has a unique story to tell and we treat each client as an individual, but we do find commonalities in the kinds of accidents they suffer, including the following:
- Intersection accidents. Many pedestrians are hit while they are crossing the street—even when they are in a crosswalk. This is because drivers fail to look for pedestrians crossing the street before they attempt to make a left or right turn. Also, some pedestrians are hit after stepping off the curb because drivers blow through red lights or stop signs.
- School zone accidents. Children walking to school are often hit by negligent drivers because drivers are not paying attention to the road and fail to look out for pedestrians—especially children.
- Parking lot accidents. Pedestrians are hit in parking lots because drivers are in a hurry to find parking spaces and fail to yield to pedestrians, or they back out of their spots without taking the time to look for pedestrians.
- Struck along the side of the road. When pedestrians are walking or jogging along the side of the road with traffic, they can sometimes get hit by cars that run off the road or spin out of control in collisions.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There is no excuse for a motorist hitting a pedestrian, but the causes can usually be connected to one of the following:
- Distracted driving. When drivers are looking at their cell phones, eating, talking with passengers, or are otherwise engaged in something other than driving, they tend to put pedestrians’ lives in danger.
- Drowsy driving. When drivers don’t get enough sleep before driving, they may run red lights and ignore pedestrian crossings.
- Drunk driving. Many drivers who get behind the wheel impaired fail to see pedestrians due to their altered state of mind and blurred vision.
- Inexperienced drivers. Many novice drivers don’t remember they are supposed to yield to pedestrians. Unfortunately, they may fail to stop or even look out for pedestrians while driving.
- Aggressive drivers. When drivers behave carelessly or negligently behind the wheel and speed or make turns without looking for pedestrians, they may hit them as they cross the street.
When drivers are distracted, drowsy, drunk, inexperienced, or aggressive, they have a higher chance of hitting pedestrians. Sadly, when a pedestrian is stuck by a car or truck, the pedestrian is almost always left with critical injuries.
Types of Injuries Sustained by Pedestrians
Due to the fact that pedestrians have no protection in the event of a crash, they are vulnerable to injuries. Typically, pedestrians will suffer multiple broken bones in their arms and legs as well as other serious injuries that can have long-lasting effects, such as:
- Paralysis. When pedestrians are hit by cars or trucks, they may suffer serious damage to their backs, necks, and spines. In fact, sometimes their spinal cords may even partially or completely tear. When this happens, a pedestrian can suffer from a spinal cord injury that results in the inability to move the lower extremities (paraplegia) or the inability to move the legs and arms (quadriplegia).
- Head trauma. When pedestrians are struck by vehicles, they often hit their heads. As a result, they can suffer facial injuries such as eye injuries and jaw injuries as well as complex brain injuries. In fact, many pedestrians often suffer concussions, contusions, hematomas, and traumatic brain injuries. Sadly, traumatic brain injuries can lead to speech difficulties, behavioral issues, personality changes, and other issues that can make it difficult for brain injury survivors to return to life as they knew it.
- Fatal injuries. When vehicles plow into pedestrians, pedestrians often end up fighting for their lives. As a result, many injured pedestrians suffer from fatal injuries. Families of pedestrians who died as a result of a driver’s negligence need to learn why the death of their loved one is likely a wrongful death.
When pedestrians are left to deal with serious injuries, such as the ones listed above, they may require months and years of medical treatment and rehabilitation, plus in-home assistance. Consequently, these effects of pedestrian accidents can put a financial strain on the victim as well as the victim’s family. This is why it is important that injured pedestrians are educated about their rights to financial compensation.
What Pedestrians Should Know About Making a Financial Recovery
Following a pedestrian collision caused by a negligent driver, a pedestrian can pursue a personal injury claim in order to seek justice and compensation. However, just because a pedestrian is injured by the carelessness of a driver doesn’t mean the driver’s insurance company is going to give the injured pedestrian the full value of his or her claim. This is because insurance companies are always looking for ways to save money—even if it’s at an injured victim’s expense. As a result, injured pedestrians have to negotiate their settlements to make sure they get fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
Because dealing with injuries and settlement negotiations can be overwhelming, it is usually in an injured pedestrian’s best interest to hire a lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance company for the following damages:
- Medical expenses. Injured pedestrians should be compensated for the ambulance ride, ER visit, x-ray, MRI, other tests, surgery, hospital stay, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, occupational rehabilitation, counseling, prescriptions, and any other medical bill related to the injury they suffered in the collision.
- Lost income. When a pedestrian suffers injuries that cause him or her to miss out on working and earning the income he or she is used to, the victim should be compensated for such lost wages and benefits.
- Pain and suffering. Pedestrians experience physical pain and suffering and well as emotional distress, which is why they should be compensated for such suffering following a collision.
- Other losses. Often times injured pedestrians will need to hire housekeepers, nannies, cooks, and in-home care to help them get by. Because hiring for these services can be costly, victims need to be reimbursed for such expenses and any other out-of-pocket expense related to their injury.
Injured pedestrians often need ongoing medical care and may not be able to return to work, so they need to make sure they receive damages for future medical bills and future lost earnings. Because calculating future losses can be complex, it is best to work with an attorney experienced in representing seriously injured pedestrians. To get your questions answered in a free consultation with a knowledgeable Fairfax personal injury lawyer, call us today at (703) 591-0067.