Pedestrians suffer some of the most traumatic injuries following an accident. The impact on a pedestrian, even when slight, results in severe injuries. This is because there is no protection of their body from the impact. The causes of these accidents are diverse, ranging from fellow pedestrians, cyclists, dogs, and vehicles. The various reasons, in most cases, determine the extent of the injuries sustained. Some injuries may involve minor lacerations, with some leading to more catastrophic damages of the brain, among others. Death is also a common consequence of a pedestrian accident, especially when it involves a speeding vehicle.
When you or a loved one is involved in a pedestrian accident, your physical, psychological, and financial life is adversely affected. As a result, you are entitled to receive compensation for these losses to cope with the situation. Pursuing compensation is not easy, and that’s why we at the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney are here to help you throughout the entire process.
Injuries Sustained in a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians are exposed to multiple causes of accidents that leave them with devastating injuries. Some of the damages you are likely to sustain if involved in a pedestrian accident include:
Traumatic Head Injuries
Many severe head injuries, causing substantial brain traumas, often happen. Some of these incidents include injuries sustained as a result of a pedestrian accident. Sometimes, victims may not realize the impact of a fall on their brains or the cause of their consistent negative symptoms. Because of this, you are advised to seek medical care if you get involved in an accident, striking your head.
As a pedestrian, you walk along the streets without any protection to your body, but the clothes you have on. Regardless of what causes your accident, your head can forcefully get struck against a hard surface, resulting in a traumatic injury to your brain. Some of the brain injury symptoms may be experienced later, but are not apparent immediately after the accident.
Accidents involving vehicles are one of the prevalent causes of brain injuries. If you are knocked down by a car, do not assume broken bones are the only injuries you can sustain. Going to a hospital for a comprehensive medical examination following an accident is critical in your well-being.
One common type of brain injury is known as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many severe pedestrian accidents result in this type of injury, especially when the blow to the head is forceful. TBI’s are also responsible for causing permanent disabilities, aside from the deaths that result.
When you suffer a pedestrian accident with your head violently struck against a hard place, you can suffer catastrophic brain injuries in two different ways. One way is when your skull is fractured at specific areas, or your brain comes against your skull’s dense regions. Your blood vessels may burst in any way, causing blood to flood in areas it should not. The bleeding in the brain can, in turn, result in breathing difficulties, thus affecting the functioning of your heart, among other challenges. The effects on your body depend on the part in the brain that is disturbed. Some parts of your brain can also be bruised or torn, depending on how forceful the impact was.
The cost of treating brain injuries is hefty. In most cases, it involves complex surgeries and therapy that takes an extended time to recover from. If you suffer from a brain injury due to your pedestrian accident, you can compensate for the treatment cost, among other damages you incur.
Injuries to the Spine
When you are hit by a speeding vehicle or a cyclist, you may fall on your back, injuring your back or neck. Injuries to the spinal cord are common in pedestrian accidents. The forceful impact on your back can damage your nerves, causing you to suffer from excruciating pain and sometimes disabilities.
The central nervous system never rebuilds itself, or regrows and damage to it will leave you with permanent injuries. You may suffer temporary paralysis as a result of a pedestrian accident. Still, the nature of the damage and not the treatment may be the deciding factor on whether you will recover. When your nerves get injured, there is no cure for this, and you may spend the rest of your life paralyzed.
Your spine holds the center of the nervous system. When you suffer an injury to the spinal cord, the communication between your brain and other body parts is cut off. Because of this, when you are knocked down and suffer a spinal injury, it may result in many other complications. This will include issues with your digestive system, heart, urinary tract, respiratory challenges, among others. These kinds of problems can also affect you psychologically, and you end up suffering from psychological disorders.
When your spine becomes severely injured from a pedestrian accident, you may suffer permanent or partial paralysis. Sometimes the disease may be temporary, but this is not common. An injury to your spine can render you incapable of earning a living, being confined in a wheelchair. Depending on your career, this type of injury can also end it.
When you sustain this type of injury in a pedestrian accident, it may be impossible for you to fight depression. The cost of treating the injuries, the effect of your pain and suffering, and your psychological trauma can be compensated in a successful claim.
Injuries following a pedestrian accident can cause disfigurement. If you sustain injuries to your face, the impact can distort your general appearance. Some pedestrians can lose their teeth, broken nose or jaw or even damage their eyes. If you sustained this type of injury, your recovery might involve surgery to try and reconstruct your face and replace the broken or lost teeth. The cost of restoring your face and replacing teeth is high and is recoverable as compensation.
An impact to the face can also cause you to lose your sight temporarily or permanently. If an object or vehicle hits your face during the accident, the trauma to your eyes can be devastating. Even with treatment, the injuries can be emotionally catastrophic to you and your family.
Paralysis to Your Upper Body
Paralysis of the upper body is also common in accidents, just like paralysis of the lower body. This means that your chest area, shoulders, or arms do not receive any signals or communication from the nervous system. A pedestrian accident can cause this, leaving you with pain and without feeling in your upper body.
Sometimes your arm following a pedestrian accident can lose its feeling. In most cases, the effects are felt on one arm, with other symptoms being weakness and excruciating pain in the neck area. Your joints can also be stiff and even lose the function of a limb.
You may be lucky to recover from this type of injury, but they often leave permanent disabilities for most people. The cost of treating this injury is hefty, and the healing period is extensive. As a result, you may miss work and lose income or be rendered unable to work for the rest of your life. The damages that result from this type of injury are compensable in California.
Fractures are cracks on your bones. A pedestrian accident could result in you sustaining fractures if the impact were not very forceful. For instance, if you slip and fall, you may suffer from fractures. The time taken to heal from a fracture is also relatively long. When you experience a fracture on your leg, for example, you will require time without putting pressure on the leg for the bone to come back together. In this case, pressure means that you cannot walk for some time until the doctor checks and sees that you can cause more harm to the leg.
Fractures can happen on multiple bones or any bone in any body part. You should never assume that a fracture is a small injury that can heal on its own. Always make sure to see a doctor when sustaining this type of injury.
When the impact is more forceful, you will suffer from broken bones and not a fracture as above. An injury resulting in a broken bone is more severe than that resulting in a fracture. The cost of treating this injury is high, and the time it takes to heal is equally long.
Pedestrians suffer from broken bones often, especially when struck by a car. Falling on the pavement or pathway can also break your bones, requiring a surgical procedure to get treated. Some accidents can leave you with multiple broken bones.
Fortunately, broken bones can be treated, and you can get back to where you were before the accident.
Pedestrian accidents can also result in amputations. An amputation is the loss of a limb when it is severed from your body. When you get injured as a pedestrian, a leg can be severely damaged, and a doctor will advise on amputating it to save your life. Other times, the limb can be cut off your body at the scene of the accident following the impact.
When this happens, it will take extended hospital stays to heal from this type of injury. Your doctor can also advise you to get closer to standard life. You may need a prosthetic limb to replace the lost one. The cost of prosthetics is high and the treatment as well. It is important to note that prosthetic limbs are replaced often, and if your loved one is a child, as they grow, the artificial limb is replaced. This makes the cost of treating the injury high, which damages your finances to a great extent.
Soft Tissue Injuries
When the pedestrian accident’s impact is not so severe, you may sustain lesser injuries like those involving your soft tissues. These are also known as minor lacerations that are skin deep. For instance, if you fall, the impact may not be as forceful, resulting in these injuries.
Soft tissue injuries are easy to treat and heal within a short period. The cost of treating them is not high. Neither can they cause you to miss work for long periods. However, this does not mean that you cannot seek damages for the injuries in California. When the accident was out of another person’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your costs.
These injuries are never evident at the accident scene but will be discovered after a thorough medical check. These injuries are dangerous because they easily cause death to a pedestrian when they go untreated. Internal injuries can include bleeding or damage to your vital organs. When internal bleeding is not stopped immediately, you can bleed to death, or when damage to your organs is not rectified quickly, it can lead to more severe consequences.
Emotional trauma is not a physical injury, but it is an injury that takes a long time to treat and can be costly. Psychological trauma as an injury results from other physical injuries you sustain following your pedestrian accident. When the collision results in catastrophic injuries, it is likely to affect you emotionally. The treatment for emotional trauma can take an extended period, and in some cases, it is very costly.
Although death is not an injury, it is common in pedestrian accidents and can be due to the injuries sustained. Depending on the accident’s impact, fatality to a pedestrian can happen on the spot or later while receiving medical treatment.
If you die immediately or upon impact, your surviving family can claim damages for your wrongful death. They must, however, show that the driver was negligent, causing your demise. Your family can get awarded the costs to your funeral and burial arrangements as well.
If the injuries cause your death later, your family can also receive compensation for the cost of your treatment and other damages.
Causes of Pedestrian Injuries
Various aspects cause the injuries discussed above in a pedestrian, from having accidents with vehicles to fellow pedestrians causing it. Pedestrian accidents are prevalent, and they cause life-changing injuries and, in many cases, death. Some of the ways that result in damages to a pedestrian are the following:
Most of the severe pedestrian accidents are as a result of a road accident involving a vehicle. The injuries you sustain as a pedestrian are more significant than those of the vehicle passengers. Typically, you do not have safety gear on as a pedestrian, and any vehicle’s impact is direct to your body.
- There are various reasons why you would get knocked down by a vehicle. Although you may share fault for the accident in a few instances, most of these accidents are solely the driver’s fault. When drivers are distracted on the road, they may fail to notice or obey traffic rules and end up knocking you down. Causes of distractions are many that may include eating as they drive, using their mobile phone, or even focusing on their radio. Whatever the reason for the distraction, an accident will result in your suffering severe injuries.
- Speeding is another cause of pedestrian accidents with a vehicle. If the motorist moves at high speed, they may fail to stop at a crossroads when it is supposed to be safe for you to cross. As a result, you get knocked down, and because the impact is very forceful, it can cause death or catastrophic injuries to you.
- Drivers also fail to yield when you have a right to it. This is disobedience to the traffic rules, which may end up in an accident involving you. When this happens, the driver is liable for the injuries you sustain as a pedestrian.
- Intoxicated drivers also cause pedestrian accidents. When drivers are impaired, they are slow to respond to emergencies or miscalculate the distance between them and pedestrians. Usually, drunk drivers fail to focus on the road, and as a result, they can hit a pedestrian. Drunk or impaired driving is an offense in California because of the dangers other road users and pedestrians are exposed to.
- Another cause of pedestrian accidents is terrible weather. During a storm or heavy rains, a driver may fail to notice a pedestrian on the sidewalk or crossing the road. Poor vision or visibility can result in a driver knocking down a pedestrian, causing significant injuries.
- Mechanical failure or malfunctioning of a vehicle part can lead to a pedestrian accident. If a driver of a car hits the brakes when a pedestrian approaches and fails, they can crash to them. Vehicle owners are expected to keep their vehicles in excellent condition to prevent their failing, resulting in an accident.
- Poor road condition is another cause of a pedestrian accident. If you are walking along the road and a driver suddenly comes across a road hazard, it can cause a pedestrian accident. For instance, a driver may notice a pothole on the road, and as they try to avoid it, they end up crashing into you. If the road were in good condition, the driver would not have swerved to avoid damaging their vehicle.
- Sometimes a pedestrian is knocked down by a backing up vehicle. If the motorist fails to use their rearview mirror, they can easily knock down a pedestrian at the back. This type of accident is common in parking lots where a motorist backs up to get out of a parking space but instead hits a pedestrian.
- Pedestrians are also knocked down by drivers making left-hand turns that fail to notice a pedestrian crossing the road legally. When drivers signal to make a turn, some focus on oncoming traffic and navigating their vehicle, and they fail to notice a pedestrian. As a result, pedestrians get knocked down even when they have a legal right to cross at that time and place.
Most catastrophic pedestrian injuries are as a result of vehicle knockdowns. If you get knocked down by a vehicle, you may sustain traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, broken or fractured bones, and even death. When it is established, the driver is liable for your injuries, he or she must compensate you for your California damages.
Seeking Damages for Your Pedestrian Injuries
California is a fault state. This means that the party found at fault or responsible for causing an accident that results in injuries is liable for the damages. As a pedestrian, you may not be sure who is responsible for the accident when you get injured. You must always remember that the other party can also blame you for the accident and cause you to share in the blame.
However, with an experienced lawyer, you can determine the party responsible for your injuries and have them pay your damages. Immediately following the accident, avoid saying anything that can be used to insinuate admitting of fault. For instance, never apologize for the accident. Instead, get the details of the other party and share it with your lawyer.
As you seek treatment for your injuries, make sure to document every cost because it is critical in getting your deserved damages. The expenses of pedestrian damages vary depending on the severity of the injuries. Your lawyer will file a claim on your behalf from the at-fault party’s insurance provider demanding compensation. The insurance provider can decide to pay, present a different offer or decline the claim altogether.
In case your claim is denied, or the offer is not satisfactory, through your lawyer, you can file a petition seeking your damages. A trial then ensues where you must convince the court why you deserve the damages you are seeking. If you win your case, the jury apportions the costs you should receive at the defendant’s expense.
Compensable Damages for Pedestrian Injuries
When you get injured in a pedestrian accident, the damages you seek are the total sum of all the expenses you suffer due to the injuries. These include:
- All your medical bills or costs in treating your injuries
- Lost earnings either for missing work or your inability to work again
- The value of your pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial costs to your family in case you die as a result
- Wrongful death costs
Pedestrians suffer some of the most devastating injuries, especially when their accident involves a vehicle. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident and suffer injuries, the damage to your finances, body, and general well-being is great. Fortunately, with a lawyer from Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, you can receive your losses through a personal injury claim. Call us at 714-876-1959 to discuss your case and seek your damages.