When one is involved in a pedestrian accident they may end up experiencing trauma, pain, distress and even loss of potential income. However, if the injuries suffered are so severe to an extent that they lead to permanent damage to the victim, then they become catastrophic injuries. Injuries suffered as a result of catastrophic pedestrian accidents may in one way or another change the lives of those affected due to the life-long effects that may follow the event. These implications may affect the victim’s way of life to the extent of developing a permanent disability, long-lasting pain, and loss of ability to work. In addition, most of the catastrophic injuries sustained from pedestrian accidents can be very expensive if they require long time treatment.
Common causes of pedestrian accidents
Most pedestrian accidents result from misconduct exhibited by motorists. This depicts that a good number of drivers seems to be acting carelessly when operating their motor vehicle hence causing pedestrian accidents. Below are some of the most common factors that contribute to this kind of accidents:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Distracted driving habits such as texting, changing the radio station or eating.
- Drunk driving
- Failing to give right-of-way at marked crosswalks
- Failure to stop prior to turning right on a red light at an intersection
- Making a left turn without checking for pedestrians
- Failure to adhere to the speed limit in residential areas
- Failure to exercise reasonable caution to avoid accidents
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries Suffered During a Pedestrian Accident
Injuries suffered in an accident involving automobile and a pedestrian, are more severe on the part of the pedestrian. This is because the driver is protected by the car, airbags, and seatbelt. It is the same in accidents between a motorcycle and a pedestrian; the motorcyclist protects themselves with a helmet. Pedestrians are more vulnerable in case of an accident since they do not have protection like drivers and motorcyclist. You can, however, imagine how much damage could be sustained by if an unprotected 150lb pedestrian is hit by a car approximately 3000lb.
Following a catastrophic pedestrian accident, there are several kinds of injuries that one is likely to suffer. These include damages such as:
- Spinal cord injuries
Severe spinal cord injuries can result in lasting health issues including partial paralysis or total paralysis also known as paraplegia or quadriplegia respectively. These are likely to occur when a pedestrian is hit by a moving car. Some injuries of this kind are temporary and a victim can overcome them in a rehabilitation facility while other injuries may lead to permanent paralysis.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
In pedestrian accidents, brain injuries can be sustained if the victim experiences a strong blow to their head when hit by a fast-moving vehicle or motorcycle. These injuries can be manifested in different forms starting with a sudden trauma to the head. This is then followed by bruising or swelling in case the impact affected the interior part of the skull.
- Multiple Bone Fractures
The impact of a vehicle id direct on a pedestrian’s body and this simply implies that the chances of an individual to sustain a bone fracture if not multiple bone fractures are very high. This type of injury can render the victim confined to bed for a long time. Severe bone fractures can result in permanent loss of mobility or strength on the affected area.
When a pedestrian accident occurs, the individual has no control over how far they are thrown or what they hit when they land. Landing on a sharp object, for instance, can result in loss of limb. However, the doctors could also decide to have the limb amputated if the injuries were too severe and there are no chances of saving it.
- Internal organ damage
In a catastrophic accident involving a pedestrian, the victim may sustain internal organs damage. This, for instance, could affect the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and other organs. Extreme damage means that the casualty’s life will be completely altered because the ability of their body to perform critical biological functions will be affected.
One of the great challenges that come with these injuries is that you could spend a lot of money on treating them. For this reason, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you in recovering all the lost costs incurred as a result of another person’s negligence.
Where do catastrophic pedestrian accidents occur?
Apart from intersections and crosswalks, a catastrophic pedestrian accident can also happen in when the pedestrian is in a parking lot, while walking or jogging along the road with sidewalks, while exiting a bus, and even while crossing the street at a non-intersection zone.
Situations in which you might have a personal injury claim
As a pedestrian, your likelihood of being exposed to severe dangers is extremely high. Most catastrophic injuries obtained during these accidents are mainly caused by negligence. Here the two most common situations in which one can file a claim;
- Pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles. Nearly all cases arising from pedestrian accidents are as a result of the motor vehicle hitting a pedestrian. Even at a low speed, the effects of a motor vehicle impact on a pedestrian’s body can be highly devastating.
- Pedestrian accidents connected to premises liability claims. Some of these accidents may be caused by walkways whose maintenance or design is below par. For instance, potholes can cause a sudden fall that can result in severe head injuries or multiple bone fractures. It is important to have your case examined in order to find out if you are entitled to a personal liability claim.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in 2015 with approximately 70,000 pedestrian injuries.
California is one of the states with the leading number of the pedestrian injuries and is mainly due to the fact that the area is highly congested. These statistics just highlight the significance of hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer, in case someone very close to you is suffering catastrophic injuries or dies following a pedestrian accident.
In order for you to fully recover for damages suffered, you will need an experienced attorney to help you overcome all efforts employed by the insurance company to ensure that you do not receive the compensation that you deserve. Just like any other business, insurance companies give primacy to profits more than anything else. In most incidents, they may claim to be offering you a fair deal but in the real sense, they are not. You should avoid making any deals with adjusters from the insurance company in absence of an attorney. Dealing with a qualified legal professional is paramount since they have the capacity to aggressively communicate with claim adjusters to ensure that your claim is successful.
Determining Fault in Catastrophic Pedestrian Accident
California Vehicle Code Chapter 5, states clearly that "the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection". Also, any driver in a motor vehicle approaching a pedestrian within either marked or unmarked crosswalks must exercise all due care, by slowing down or take any other actions necessary to protect the safety of the pedestrian. With the vagueness in this law, drivers in most cases would want to share the burden in cases that reveal that it is the pedestrian’s neglectful actions that led to the crash. Either way, you are still entitled to compensation. You should, therefore, contact a reliable attorney to help you pursue these claims.
There are two main types of damages the injured party might recover, following a successful claim. This includes economic and non-economic damages. For economic damages, the plaintiff can recover damages such as medical cost and lost income. On the other hand, non-economic damages include pain and suffering and personal costs. In case the defendant conduct is seen to be extreme, then the plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages. Survivors of a catastrophic pedestrian accident can recover full damages for economic losses if the victim dies. However, it is difficult to measure losses suffered in this kind of accidents but with the help of a lawyer who works with economic specialists, you will be able to determine your losses fully.
Measuring Loss in Catastrophic Injury Settlements in Pedestrian Accident
The importance of having a lawyer to negotiate settlements on your behalf is that they will always work hard to help you fight for your rights. When you sustain serious injuries that cannot allow you to walk, a personal injury settlement will work to restore normality by ensuring that the casualty gets the following;
- An advanced wheelchair
- Accessible van which can be operated with hands only
- Remodeling of their home and environments to add ramps and accessible entrances
- Vocational rehabilitation to help the victim in finding a new career
In addition, settlements must compensate lost potential income and cover all the future medical expenses the pedestrian accident victim is likely to suffer.
In other incidences, catastrophic injuries may lead to severe brain damage and conditions that restrain a victim to bed. In such cases, compensations are mainly made to ensure that professionals are accessible by the victim to ensure their comfort and safety. Here damages may include the cost of a residential care facility or the cost of a home nurse to help with day to day activities like bathing and eating if the victim is capable of operating in their home.
A good lawyer will work with different specialists to determine the effects of catastrophic injuries suffered by a victim after an accident. Some of these professionals may include doctors and other healthcare experts. They may also work with economists, medical equipment suppliers, vocation rehabilitation professionals, life care planners, and experts in accessible housing. The main reason of an attorney working with all these individuals is to ensure that he or she establishes an all-inclusive understanding of the struggles a victim with catastrophic injuries may go through. Furthermore, the legal representatives will further come up with all possible means to overcome any factors hindering the success of the claims.
Statute Of Limitations for Filing Personal Injury Case
If you or a loved one have been involved in a catastrophic pedestrian accident, it is important to know that time is critical if you want to receive compensation. When you contact an attorney earlier, it will make it possible to have the evidence collected and witnesses questioned before their memories fade. You have 2 years to file the claim if no government entity is concerned. However, where a government agency is directly connected, you will only have 6 months.
Contact an experienced catastrophic Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
At Los Angeles personal injury attorney, we fully understand a lawsuit cannot in any way reverse injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. Our efforts are focused on establishing a claim that will help in safeguarding your future. We work tirelessly to ensure that you get full compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company. You can use the compensation to take care of expenses if you encounter life-altering personal injuries. With the vast experience in handling cases involving a catastrophic pedestrian accident, below are facts about us as a firm:
We take on all the risk. For all cases we have handled, we do not take any fees from our clients before winning the case. Not until you receive fair compensation for the injuries suffered during the accident.
Unmatched track record. We have the results for the massive and successful settlement awards and verdicts that we have won on behalf of our clients.
We care about our clients. Our main duty is to ensure that justice is served to our clients. We help injured pedestrians in pursuing their rights. We are dedicated to providing professional advice and legal counsel necessary during this trying time. Call us today at 424-231-2013 for a free consultation.