Pedestrians, whether they are walking, jogging, running, or even sitting in public, can be vulnerable to an accident with a negligent driver. It’s important to be aware of the injuries that can be sustained as a result and stay safe.
Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries – TBI’s are caused when an outside force causes brain dysfunction, usually a violent blow to the head or body that in many cases is the result of a car accident. While some traumatic brain injuries can be minor, others can have severe medical consequences.
Spinal cord injuries – A spinal cord injury can also stem from a sudden, traumatic blow but in this case to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. Because the spinal cord is the mechanism for transmitting signals between the brain and the body, even minute damage can have life-changing results.
Fractures – A bone fracture occurs when the physical force exerted on a bone is stronger than the bone itself. While treatable, the injury can cause lifelong pain and medical problems that can impact the victims well being and quality of life.
Soft tissue injuries – There are a variety of injuries that can be considered soft tissue injuries, including bruises, lacerations, tears, dislocations, and sprains. While many soft tissue injuries are self-resolving with little medical intervention, they can cause significant pain and may keep victims from engaging in everyday activities and working for weeks or even months. In addition, they can leave victims with unsightly scarring or other permanent issues that can have an impact on their emotional well-being.
Amputations – In some instances, the forces involved in pedestrian accidents can have serious lifelong repercussions on the victim’s body such as the accidental amputation of limbs and extremities.
Broken bones – Broken bones are among the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians who are struck by cars, trucks, or other motorized vehicles. These injuries occur when an external force causes a break in the continuity of a bone. Broken bones can be extremely painful and can require intensive medical treatment to correct.
Injured Extremities – Extremities are at risk of injury as well. The impact from a vehicle can cause pedestrians to suffer injuries such as scrapes, broken bones, or even, in some extreme cases, a loss of an extremity resulting from a serious injury.
Emotional Trauma – Not all injuries are physical. In fact, even if an individual does not suffer permanent physical injuries, he or she may suffer lasting emotional trauma. Because being struck by a vehicle is a traumatic experience, pedestrians may be unable to cope with the emotional trauma it causes.
Death – Pedestrians being struck by a vehicle are at high risk of death. This is caused not only by the sheer size of vehicles but also because of the lack of protection for the pedestrian. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 4,735 pedestrian deaths in 2013. Pedestrians are one of the few groups witnessing an increase in traffic related deaths.
Types of Pedestrian Car Accidents
Pedestrian car accidents are defined as accidents between a car, truck, or motorcycle and a person not in a vehicle. However, in Florida bicycles are considered vehicles,1 and cyclists are considered drivers. If you have been in a car-bicycle accident, therefore, it is important to contact an experienced Florida bicycle accident attorney to discuss the laws that apply to your case. For pedestrians, i.e., walkers, runners, shoppers, the following are common types of accidents:
Crosswalk Accidents: Occur when a pedestrian is legally in a crosswalk at the time of the accident and a vehicle fails to give pedestrians the right-of-way, striking them within the crosswalk;
Parking Lot/Back-Over Accidents: Occur when a vehicle is backing up, such as pulling into or out of a parking space, and strikes a pedestrian while in reverse. Back-over accidents are common in parking lots when cars may be blocking a driver’s view to the left or right and shoppers are quickly and consistently crossing the path of parked vehicles;
Loss of Control Accidents: This type of accident includes sideswiping a pedestrian on a sidewalk or hitting a pedestrian after loss of control of a vehicle. Many times such accidents can result in a pedestrian being “run-over” and trapped under the vehicle or crushed between the vehicle and another unmoving object, such as another vehicle or a building. These accidents are some of the most dangerous to the life and health of pedestrians.
Often, these accidents turn into “hit-and-run” accidents, especially if the injuries to the pedestrian seem severe and traffic conditions are light. Drivers often panic after a pedestrian accident as they know even a slight impact can result in severe injuries to the pedestrian. Nevada law imposes legal obligations after any car accident. Everyone involved in a collision in Nevada has a duty to exchange information, render aid and maybe file an accident report. If you flee the scene of an accident that caused only property damage, you may face a misdemeanor charge. But if you flee from an accident after hitting a pedestrian who suffered an injury or death, you can be charged with a felony.
Duty to Render Aid and Give Information (NRS 484E.030)
When anyone is injured in a car accident in Nevada, the other drivers in the collision have a legal duty to render reasonable aid such as carrying the injured person to a medical facility. Where the car accident results in death, injury or property damage, all involved drivers are required by law to stop and exchange the following information:
*vehicle registration numbers, and to show their drivers licenses (if someone so requests).
In Nevada, drivers are also required to give this information to any police officer investigating the accident and to surrender their licenses to the officer upon request. Failing to adhere to the duty to exchange information and render aid can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges depending on if the accident resulted in only property damage or also injury or death.
What if I am involved in a pedestrian accident?
The things that victims say and do in the hours, days, and weeks following an accident often has a significant impact on their ability to recover compensation. Some of the steps that anyone involved in a pedestrian accident should take include the following:
Seek medical attention – people who are involved in accidents should seek medical attention even if they do not believe that they are seriously injured. Doing so will accomplish two very important goals: ensuring that your injuries are properly identified and treated, and creating an official medical record documenting your injuries, their severity, and any treatment that you may need to undergo.
*Record information about the accident – The passage of time invariably fades a person’s memory and may make an account of a particular incident unreliable. As a result, anyone involved in accident should record as much information about the accident as they can as soon as possible after the accident occurs. Examples of the kinds of facts to record are the names of the other people involved in the accident, the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved, contact information for individuals who witnessed the accident, and the time of day the accident occurred.
Retain legal counsel – Anyone involved in an accident should retain an attorney as soon as possible. It is important for victims to be aware of the fact that Nevada personal injury claims are subject to a strict 2-year statute of limitations, meaning that there is a limited amount of time in which you can bring a legal claim.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident be sure to contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. In many cases, you can recover significant compensation for your injuries and other losses associated with the accident. F. Travis Buchanan, Esq., & Associates, PLLC has experience assisting clients recover in matters involving pedestrian injuries.