Auto / Pedestrian Accidents
As Americans, we’re all told that we need to walk more for our health and to reverse the effects of increasingly stressful and sedentary lives. But with so much of the nation’s transportation system designed to accommodate cars, finding safe ways to walk to school or to the park or to the grocery store can be challenging for pedestrians. Even where there are sidewalks and marked crosswalks, pedestrians can be jeopardized by drivers distracted by talking on their cell phones or wolfing down a McMuffin on their way to work.
When a pedestrian is hit by a car or truck, the injuries can be serious or even fatal. If you’ve been hit by a car while on foot, you may have suffered anything from scrapes and cuts to broken bones and head trauma. If you were seriously injured, you’ve likely had to take time off from work to recover, and have medical and other bills stacking up and causing you worry.
As a pedestrian, you do have legal rights to be compensated for your injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate your individual circumstances and discuss with you the best course of action to try to get your costs paid.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the accident usually is the result of driver inattention or distraction. Some common actions by drivers that lead to collisions with pedestrians include:
- Running red lights
- Turning on red lights without checking the crosswalk first
- Failing to yield to pedestrians
- Backing out of parking spots
- Talking on a cell phone or texting on a mobile device
In some cases it might have been the pedestrian who was distracted and stepped out in front of the vehicle with little or no warning. Even though pedestrians have the right of way, they also have the responsibility to look before crossing and to take reasonable actions to be safe, such as not darting out into traffic.
If you did indeed look both ways before crossing, or you crossed at an intersection and had a walk signal, and were hit by a driver who was texting or drinking coffee or just not paying attention, you may have a good chance at recovering damages through an insurance settlement or a lawsuit. As the person bringing the claim, it’s up to you to prove that you deserve compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you to investigate the accident and gather the evidence you’ll need to prove your case, such as accident reports, photographs, witness statements, and medical records and bills.
Common Types of Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Even a compact car is bigger and much heavier than a person, and when a mass of metal and glass hits a human being even at a slow speed, the chance for injury is great. It’s not uncommon for pedestrians who have been hit by cars to suffer:
- Broken bones
- Concussion or other head injury
- Back and neck injuries
- Herniated disc in neck or back
- Nerve damage
- Dislocated joints or limbs
- Painful soft tissue injuries
- Cuts, scrapes and bruises
Some of these types of injuries can take a significant amount of time to heal. Some may result in permanent damage that affects your ability to work or perform simple household tasks for the rest of your life.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will discuss with you not only your existing medical bills, but what costs you expect to incur for future treatment or therapy, and whether you’ve lost income or will lose future income as a result of your injuries. Other types of damages you may be able to recover include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of normal life, and disability and disfigurement. Your attorney’s goal will be to convince the driver’s insurance company or a jury to compensate you for all of those costs, or as much as is possible given the limits of the driver’s insurance coverage.