Pedestrian accidents can inflict a wide range of devastating injuries. Victims of those injuries frequently have the right to receive compensation for the harm they’ve suffered. Here’s an overview of common physical, emotional, and financial injuries pedestrians sustain when struck by motor vehicles, and how an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can handle the process of obtaining monetary damages for them.
Common Physical Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
No vehicle should ever strike a pedestrian. But it happens all too often. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,500 pedestrians died and roughly another 55,000 suffered injuries in traffic accidents during the course of a recent year. Those victims sustained a wide range of physical trauma, all of which can cause lifelong health difficulties and most of which could be fatal.
Traumatic Brain Injury (Tbi)
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain sustains damage and loses function due to an external blow or jolt or a penetrating injury. The collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian commonly results in a TBI, which can range in severity from a concussion to catastrophic trauma amounting to brain death.
Any brain injury holds the potential to cause lasting challenges for the injured pedestrian. TBI victims frequently struggle with cognitive, emotional, or motor impairments. In severe cases, they may lose and never regain consciousness. The costs of caring for traumatic brain injuries frequently reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
A spinal cord injury (SCI) consists of any damage to or interference with the function of the spinal cord, which transmits signals between the brian and the body. Pedestrian accidents frequently result in SCIs due to the violent impact of a person’s body hitting the vehicle or being thrown to the road.
SCIs commonly cause lasting disability and health complications. Pedestrians who suffer SCIs may suffer from paralysis, loss of control of bodily functions, or permanent weakness. Caring for a spinal cord injury is extraordinarily expensive. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (CDRF), the lifetime cost of living with an SCI can easily reach millions of dollars.
Hip and Leg Injuries
Pedestrian accident victims routinely suffer trauma to their hips and legs because that’s the part of the body that usually absorbs the impact with a vehicle’s bumper.
A wide range of injuries can result, including:
- Broken or crushed hip
- Broken or crushed femur, tibia, fibula, or other leg bone
- Broken or crushed foot or ankle
- Hip, knee, or ankle dislocation
- Torn or severed knee ligaments (ACL, MCL, LCL)
- Nerve damage
- Ruptured blood vessels
The hip and leg injuries common in pedestrian accidents regularly leave victims immobilized at least temporarily and sometimes permanently. They often face a long and painful recovery from their injuries requiring surgery and months (or more) of physical therapy. Treatment costs can run into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Torso Injuries, Including Organ Damage
Pedestrians also commonly suffer severe injuries to their torso. These injuries are particularly common when the torso is the point of impact, which often happens when the victim is a small child or the vehicle has a high bumper (common for pickups, SUVs, and trucks).
Common torso injuries include broken ribs, collapsed lungs, and lacerations to abdominal organs. Any of these traumas can also lead to potentially life-threatening internal bleeding. Pedestrians who sustain torso injuries may endure lengthy recovery processes and could end up living with permanent health complications that require changes to their lifestyles and constant, expensive treatment.
Broken Arm or Wrist
Pedestrian accidents also frequently cause fractures to victims’ arms or wrists, the result of bracing themselves against the impact with a vehicle or the road. Broken arms or wrists might sound like relatively minor injuries, but that’s not necessarily true in the case of a pedestrian crash. Victims routinely sustain complex or compound fractures that require costly surgery and extensive rehabilitation to remedy.
Severe Lacerations and Abrasions
Pedestrians who get thrown to the ground by the impact of a vehicle often sustain deep cuts and scrapes from friction with the road or contact with sharp metal or glass. The resulting injuries tend to bleed profusely, get dangerously infected, and leave behind extensive scarring when they heal. In some cases, pedestrians sustain these injuries to their face, resulting in disfigurement or loss of eyesight.
Common Emotional Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can also take a heavy emotional toll on injured victims. An injured pedestrian may suffer from emotional disturbances caused by the trauma of the accident itself and the challenges of healing from or living with their injuries.
Common emotional injuries from a pedestrian accident can include:
- Severe anxiety and flashbacks
- Sleep disturbances, including nightmares or insomnia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Shame due to scarring or disfigurement
- Self-harm and suicidality
Pedestrian accident victims may also run a higher than average risk of developing substance use disorders. Some may become dependent on powerful prescription painkillers. Others may resort to illicit drugs to self-medicate their physical or emotional pain.
Individuals who witness pedestrian accidents can also suffer significant emotional trauma. Seeing a loved one get hit by a vehicle can lead to profound psychological disturbances that require medication, counseling, and other mental health interventions.
Common Financial Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian accident also inflicts devastating financial injuries. The losses victims suffer can put them under extreme strain and lead to profound life consequences.
Large Medical Costs
As mentioned several times already, the cost of treating pedestrian accident injuries can be astronomical. Depending on the severity of the trauma, the medical needs for treating it, and the degree of lasting disability, an injured pedestrian may incur millions in medical expenses over their lifetime.
And that can have a significant effect on their future. Few people can afford to pay for extensive medical care out of their own pockets. Even when health insurance covers some costs, injured pedestrians frequently face tens of thousands of uncovered expenses, co-pays, and deductibles. Medical debt is a leading reason Americans file for personal bankruptcy.
Loss of Income and Job Benefits
The physical and emotional trauma of a pedestrian accident often forces victims out of work, depriving them of crucial income and job benefits. Financial losses become especially severe when victims face long-term or permanent disabilities that prevent them from returning to work in a previous capacity, if at all. Being out of work also compounds the difficulty of meeting medical and living expenses, contributing to a downward financial spiral for victims and their families.
Who Can Your Lawyer Hold Liable for Your Pedestrian’s Injuries?
As a general matter, anyone whose dangerous decisions, actions, or inaction contributed to the cause of a pedestrian accident will have legal and financial liability to the injured victim. Perhaps the most common party who fits that description is the driver of the vehicle that struck and injured a pedestrian. In many pedestrian crash cases, a driver and the driver’s auto insurance company owe compensation to the injured victim.
But that’s not the only party who might have a duty to pay monetary damages for the injuries a pedestrian sustained. Others could share that liability or bear it entirely.
A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer can examine the facts of a collision to identify others who should also pay compensation to the victim, such as:
- The employer of a driver who struck a pedestrian with a commercial or work vehicle
- A public or private entity responsible for hazards that made a road unreasonable dangerous for a pedestrian to walk on, near, or across
- A manufacturer of defective auto parts that played a role in the vehicle striking the pedestrian
- A passenger in the vehicle that hit the pedestrian who negligently distracted the driver
These are just some examples. The point is that even when it seems obvious that the driver of the vehicle that hit a pedestrian was at-fault, others could also owe damages. And the more of those other parties a lawyer can find, the better the injured pedestrian’s chances of securing full compensation.
What Compensation Can Pedestrian Accident Victims Get for Their Injuries?
Pedestrians who suffer injuries in a traffic accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness generally have the right to claim full compensation for their losses.
By pursuing insurance claims or lawsuits on the victim’s behalf, a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer can often secure payment for the victim’s:
- Medical and other accident- or injury-related expenses
- Past and future lost income, job benefits, and earning opportunities
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Emotional suffering and mental health challenges
- Diminished quality of life
After a fatal pedestrian accident, the victim’s surviving spouse or family members often have the right to receive compensation also.
Through a wrongful death lawsuit, a pedestrian accident lawyer may secure payment for:
- Loss of the victim’s income, job benefits, inheritance, services, or financial support
- Loss of the victim’s companionship, consortium, or parental guidance
- The victim’s medical and other expenses before death
- The victim’s pain and suffering before death (in some states)
- The spouse or family’s emotional distress (in some states)
- Funeral and burial expenses
If the at-fault party engaged in extreme or intentional misconduct in causing the pedestrian accident, a court may also award the victim punitive damages. The exact types and amounts of pedestrian accident losses you might have the right to recover will generally depend on factors like the strength of your case, the skill and reputation of your lawyer, and the financial resources the at-fault party has available (through insurance or assets) to pay you.
You can boost your odds of success in a pedestrian accident claim by connecting with an experienced lawyer right away. Once hired, a lawyer can take all actions necessary to protect your rights and get you the maximum compensation available in your circumstances.
What a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
A pedestrian accident lawyer handles every step in the process of getting you money for the injuries you suffered. Putting your case in the hands of an experienced attorney frees you to focus your time and energy on healing and rebuilding from your trauma.
The steps a lawyer might need to take to get you paid for your injuries will depend on your unique circumstances. But the right lawyer for you will have years of experience, a stellar reputation, an impressive track record of winning case results, and an all-star team that’s ready to tackle any challenge your case throws their way.
Your lawyer may, for example:
- Investigate your pedestrian accident to identify its causes and liable parties
- Handle all dealings with insurance companies on your behalf
- Gather evidence to support your claim for monetary damages
- Plan the course of action that stands the strongest chance of getting you paid
- Prepare, file, and pursue insurance claims and lawsuits in your name
- Negotiate settlements of your claims whenever possible
- Advise you about whether to accept or reject settlement offers
- Present a winning case at trial
- Collect and give you the money owed to you
An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will also usually agree to represent you on contingency. That means they only receive a fee if they win for you. You don’t have to pay upfront fees or hourly rates for their services.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawyer Today
You deserve compensation for the injuries you suffered in a pedestrian accident. An experienced lawyer can handle the process of getting it for you. Contact a skilled personal injury attorney in your area today for a free case evaluation.