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Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Pedestrians and vehicles do not mix. Because vehicles are so much larger, heavier, and faster than pedestrians, a pedestrian can be seriously injured or even killed if they are struck by a vehicle. These types of incidents are very common in the United States since driving is most peoples' primary transportation method.

The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have represented many victims of pedestrian accidents who have suffered numerous different kinds of injuries. If you were injured as a pedestrian, it might be advantageous to have a personal injury attorney look into your case to evaluate all of your options.

How Prevalent are Pedestrian Accidents?

Walking is statistically much safer than driving, but it can still present hazards. This is especially true in suburban or rural areas where walking is a less common way to get around than driving.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a pedestrian dies in a traffic accident in the United States approximately once every two hours. Between 2003 and 2012, traffic accidents killed 47,025 pedestrians nationwide and injured another 676,000.

Older people are at a much higher risk of injury and death in pedestrian accidents than younger Americans. This is because many of them may not be able to drive any longer, and therefore rely on walking as a primary mode of transportation. People aged 65 years and older make up about 13% of the population, but account for 21% of the pedestrian deaths, and the consequences of nonfatal accidents are also more severe for older victims.

The speed of the vehicle can also affect whether a pedestrian survives a crash. At 20 miles per hour, 90% of pedestrians survive. However, at 45 miles per hour, only 35% of pedestrians survive.

Common Pedestrian Accident Scenarios

A pedestrian accident can be caused by any unnecessary contact between a pedestrian and a moving vehicle, but there are certain situations in which the risk of getting hit is much higher.

  • The back over: The back over occurs when a vehicle is driving in reverse and the driver does not see the pedestrian before it is too late. This type of pedestrian accident is especially common in parking lots and driveways.
  • The side swipe: The side swipe occurs when a vehicle and a pedestrian are traveling in the same direction and the vehicle veers off in the direction of the pedestrian and hits them. This type of pedestrian accident is common in areas where there are no sidewalks.
  • The right turn: The right turn accident occurs at intersections in which the pedestrian is continuing straight through the intersection, but the driver is turning right. Many drivers who are turning right often look only to their left for approaching traffic and forget to look to their right to make sure there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk. This sort of accident is especially common in urban areas with heavy foot traffic.
  • The left turn: The left turn accident occurs when a car that is turning left strikes a pedestrian who is in the crosswalk that the vehicle is turning across. This type of accident is also very common in urban areas.
  • Children crossing the street to get on a school bus: This type of accident occurs when drivers fail to stop for a school bus and strike a child entering or exiting the bus.
Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents

Some of the most common types of pedestrian accidents we see include:

  • Broken bones and fractures: A speeding car striking a pedestrian can often break or fracture one or more bones in the victim's body. The risk of broken bones increases as the vehicle's speed increases.
  • Spinal cord injuries: These types of injuries result from damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, and disks in the spinal column and spinal cord, and are most often the result of a sudden and traumatic blow to the spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one of the vertebrae.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): A TBI happens when an outside force causes damage to the head, most often through a violent blow. TBIs can result from cars striking pedestrians directly or from knocking the pedestrian to the ground.
  • Bruises, scrapes, and sprains: While bruises, scrapes, and sprains are usually merely superficial injuries, they can take a long time to recover from. They can significantly reduce the victim's quality of life, especially with older victims.
  • Road burn: Road burn is an injury that is caused when the skin is exposed to the pavement at high speeds. When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the force of the impact can throw the pedestrian to the ground, causing them to skid across the pavement. This skidding creates friction and heat, which can cause severe injuries to the skin.
The Financial Burden of Pedestrian Accidents

Being hit by a car is physically painful, but it can also take a toll on your finances. Even if you are insured, your medical bills for treating the injuries from your pedestrian accident can quickly add up, especially if your injury is severe (such as a spinal cord injury or TBI). You might also have to take time off work to recover from your injuries, which can last from a few days to a few months. This means that you will not have your regular paycheck coming in, which can take a financial toll. If you work at a job that is physically demanding (such as construction or the service industry), your injury may affect your job performance even after you recover, which will decrease your earning capacity.

Liability for Pedestrian Accidents

If you suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident, you might be able to recover damages if the accident was a result of someone else's negligence. This is because all drivers must exercise reasonable care to prevent hitting pedestrians. If a driver violates that duty of care and you suffered an injury as a result, that driver could be liable for your injuries. A few ways that drivers can breach their duty of care to pedestrians are driving while distracted, speeding over the limit, failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, failing to use turn signals, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Contact an Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you might be able to recover for your injuries through a negligence claim. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Smyrna, Decatur, and Norcross.

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