A pedestrian accident or traffic accident in which a pedestrian suffers harm often results in severe injuries. Pedestrians have no protection when a car hits them. Their bodies can suffer extensive trauma in the initial collision when they land on the road or get thrown against a roadside object, even when a second vehicle hits or runs over them.
Healing from pedestrian accident injuries takes courage, time, and money. Pedestrian crash victims often have the first of those in abundance. Still, they frequently feel pressure to rebound quickly to get back to work before buckling under unexpected financial strain.
Here is a review of some common pedestrian accident injuries and how a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer can help victims heal, pay for care and other expenses, and return to living their lives as soon as possible.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a blow or jolt to the head or body causes the brain to twist, compress, or deform within the skull, resulting in physical injury and chemical changes that disrupt normal brain function. Pedestrian accident victims commonly suffer TBIs in the initial collision with a vehicle or a secondary impact with a hard surface like the road or a curb.
Doctors assess TBIs as “mild” (also known as a concussion), “moderate,” or “severe,” based upon the victim’s initial symptoms. However, any grade of TBI can have a lasting impact on the victim’s life.
- Cognitive impairments include difficulty remembering, reasoning, understanding, speaking, or concentrating;
- Motor difficulties including paralysis, weakness, numbness, and loss of coordination;
- Emotional struggles such as mood swings, depression, anxiety, and personality changes;
- Physical symptoms like headaches, disrupted sleep, fatigue, and light or noise sensitivity;
- Secondary health complications, including strokes and seizure disorders;
- Temporary or permanent loss of consciousness, including coma and persistent vegetative state; and
- In severe cases, brain death.
Healing from a TBI can be uncertain, frustrating, and expensive. TBI sufferers often need to limit their activities and receive various rehabilitative or adaptive therapy forms.
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Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
A spinal cord injury (SCI) can occur when a violent blow to the body causes a bruise or tear to the spinal cord. Pedestrian crash victims commonly suffer SCIs from a violent impact on a vehicle or a hard surface.
Doctors classify SCIs according to the degree of disruption of the functioning of the spinal cord, which transmits messages between the brain and the body. A pedestrian accident victim who suffers an incomplete SCI will have some feeling and control of bodily functions in parts of the body connected to the cord below the injury site. A victim with a complete SCI will have no sensation or function below the injury.
Consequently, the higher the injury on the cord, the wider the potential impact of the injury.
Depending on its location, an SCI can cause:
- Paralysis or weakness;
- Loss of sensation;
- Loss of control of bodily functions;
- Disruption of autonomic functions like breathing and reflexes;
- Secondary health complications, including respiratory illness, blood pressure fluctuations, and skin ailments.
According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, in addition to facing extensive physical and emotional challenges, individuals living with an SCI also face millions in SCI-related costs totaling throughout their lifetimes. Pedestrian accident victims who sustain SCIs need significant financial support to lead independent lives.
Fractures, Tears, and Other Orthopedic Injuries
The impact in a pedestrian accident often caused broken bones (including spine, hip, and skull fractures and crush injuries), dislocated joints, torn ligaments and tendons, and other orthopedic trauma.
Many of these injuries require lengthy treatment, physical therapy, and multiple surgeries to correct. Even when they heal, they can cause permanent disability and chronic pain, taking a heavy toll on a person’s daily activities, independence, and livelihood. Injuries that affect the vertebrae and discs of the spinal column, in particular, can cause lasting, debilitating back pain.
Some trauma-related orthopedic injuries also lead to victims developing long-term health complications like degenerative disc disease. In a pedestrian accident, what once seemed like a relatively minor bone, joint, or soft tissue trauma may lead to severe long-term struggles with pain and immobility.
That is one of many reasons why it is always critical to seek medical care after any pedestrian accident, even one in which you think you escaped without having suffered serious harm. Only a qualified medical provider can tell you the nature, extent, and risks of injuries you may have suffered.
Pedestrian accident victims also commonly suffer various injuries to their internal organs, caused directly by an impact, broken bones, or other primary injuries. Common internal injuries resulting from the blunt force trauma of a pedestrian accident include collapsed lung (pneumothorax), myocardial contusion, and uncontrolled internal bleeding.
Any internal injury can cause a serious medical emergency. Pedestrian accident victims who suffer internal injuries may need immediate, life-saving surgery.
An internal injury may cause:
- Partial or total loss of organ function;
- Nerve damage;
- Compromised immune systems;
- Activity limitations;
- Dietary or nutritional limitations; and
- Increased risk of death or disease.
Life may return to normal after an internal injury, but it might not as the complications above suggest. Many pedestrian accident victims who suffer internal injury confront a life transformed by the particular effects of their injury. They can no longer lead independent lives without significant financial support.
Lacerations, Abrasions, and Scarring
Pedestrian accidents happen on or adjacent to roads, which means victims’ skin often grinds off on the rough pavement, shattered vehicle glass, and twisted metal. This commonly results in severe lacerations and abrasions.
These injuries are more than just cuts and scrapes. They can easily lead to uncontrolled bleeding, nerve damage, and life-threatening infection. They may require extensive surgery and rehabilitation. And even when they heal, they frequently leave behind extensive scarring—a permanent, visible reminder of the trauma the pedestrian accident victim suffered.
Injured Pedestrian Accident Victims Have Rights
The injuries described above can profoundly affect pedestrian accident victims’ lives, affecting everything from the jobs they can do to the activities they can enjoy. And as if the pain, immobility, health complications, and mental health challenges of a pedestrian accident weren’t difficult enough, victims also frequently struggle to make ends meet and pay for the care they need.
The law recognizes that pedestrian accident victims should not have to bear the cost and burden of injuries they suffered because of someone else’s wrongful actions. In every state, an injured pedestrian has the right to seek financial compensation from any person or entity whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or conduct contributed to the accident’s cause.
The Process of Seeking Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
In an ideal world, pedestrian accident victims could expect the party or parties at fault for their injuries to pay full, fair compensation immediately. But we do not live in an ideal world, and at-fault parties rarely willingly admit their role or pay compensation.
To secure the money they need, pedestrian accident victims hire attorneys to represent them in taking legal action against the at-fault parties. These actions can take various forms, but they most commonly consist of insurance claims, informal payment demands, and formal lawsuits.
But first, lawyers for pedestrian accident victims usually need to investigate the accidents to figure out what happened and who should bear the blame.
By investigating, attorneys and their teams collect evidence, review police reports, interview witnesses, and (sometimes) work with outside experts in accident reconstruction and automotive mechanics. They also work closely with their clients to understand the full impact pedestrian accident-related injuries have taken to develop a detailed picture of the amount of financial compensation necessary to meet their clients’ current and future needs.
Only then do victims’ lawyers prepare and file the paperwork necessary to demand payment from at-fault parties and their liability insurance carriers. Once making those demands, lawyers work to secure maximum compensation for their clients as quickly and efficiently as possible. Often, that means entering into settlement negotiations with defense lawyers and insurance companies. It means going to trial to prove a case to a judge and jury in other cases.
Potential Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Victims of pedestrian accidents often incur large, unplanned expenses from medical treatment while also coming under financial strain from missing work. A lawyer’s job is to secure the financial compensation necessary to pay those expenses, replace that lost income, and give the victim financial support in recovering from severe trauma.
Every pedestrian accident case differs, and so do the amounts and types of compensation victims may obtain with the help of a skilled lawyer.
In general, however, the law allows the victim’s attorney to seek payment for:
- Medical costs related to treating pedestrian accident-related injuries and follow-on health complications;
- Other expenses the victim would not have had if the accident had not happened;
- Lost wages and employment benefits due to the victim missing work;
- Lost future income and benefits if the victim sustained disabling injuries; and
- The victim’s physical pain, emotional suffering, and reduced quality of life due to the pedestrian accident.
Sometimes, when the at-fault party’s actions were especially outrageous or intentional, the lawyer can also convince a court to award the victim additional punitive damages as punishment.
The most reliable way to learn about the types and amounts of compensation you may receive for your pedestrian accident injuries is to speak with a skilled attorney in your area.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Here’s What To Do.
It’s not easy to navigate life in the immediate aftermath of a pedestrian accident. Injuries, expenses, and decisions that could affect your future confront you all at once. What should you do to protect your rights?
As we’ve said, every case differs, so the safest bet is usually to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney right away to learn about your rights and options. But in the meantime, here are two suggestions for steps you can take now to safeguard your interests.
Prioritize Medical Care
This is a time to put your health and well-being front and center. Go to the doctor immediately after getting into a pedestrian accident, even if you feel “ok.” Some serious injuries may not show symptoms right away, especially when under stress. Let a doctor check you over so that you can spot and begin treating any injuries you sustained.
Also, make sure to follow medical advice. Keep your follow-up appointments, do your physical therapy, and take your medications. Never allow anyone to argue that you made your condition worse by not caring for yourself.
Let an Attorney Deal With Insurance for You
While you focus on healing, let a skilled pedestrian accident attorney take care of the business of dealing with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. That company may contact you, asking you to give a recorded statement or offer a quick cash settlement of your claim.
Do not agree to anything, and do not sign anything. The at-fault party’s insurance company wants to avoid paying you the full amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. You protect your rights and avoid making costly mistakes by leaving interactions and negotiations with that insurance company to your lawyer.
Don’t have an attorney yet? That’s ok. Experienced pedestrian accident lawyers in your area offer a free, no-obligation case consultation to help you learn about your rights and options. Contact one today to get started.