When a car accident results in pedestrian injuries, the victim and their loved ones are left dealing with the repercussions. These roadway accidents are incredibly traumatic and can often result in costly medical expenses. Every 24 hours, at least 430 people are treated in emergency rooms across the country for injuries caused by auto pedestrian accidents. Sadly, most accidents between pedestrians and drivers could be avoided.
While walking on an Odessa, Texas sidewalk, one woman was left injured after a car accident caused her to suffer life-threatening injuries. A minivan driving eastbound hit a pickup truck turning from the westbound lane. The pickup truck did not yield to the oncoming minivan, which caused the car accident to occur. The collision forced the pickup truck to hit a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk at the time. The wounded female was sent to a local hospital where she was then airlifted to Lubbock with critical, life-threatening injuries.
Motor Vehicle Accidents and Pedestrian Injuries
There are many different risks and dangers associated with pedestrian accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person is injured in a pedestrian accident nearly every two hours. As one can imagine, with nothing to protect them from the impact of such an accident, pedestrians who are hit by motor vehicles often suffer very serious injuries, many of which can be life-threatening. Annually, nearly 150,000 people are killed as a result of these collisions.
When a person is hit by a motor vehicle, they can suffer many different pedestrian injuries, including damage to the abdomen, chest, extremities, and head. Factors including the driver’s speed, the type of vehicle, and the pedestrian’s age and health all affect the severity of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. Auto pedestrian accident injuries can include:
- Head or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal injuries
- Pelvic injuries
- Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
- Bone fractures
- Wrongful death
Pedestrian accidents occur for a multitude of different reasons. Driver negligence is often a top cause, as drivers distracted by their cell phones tend to look away from the road and miss seeing people walking or riding their bikes nearby.
The most common causes of pedestrian accidents are:
Failing to yield to pedestrians: Pedestrians often have the right-of-way when interacting with vehicles at an intersection. When negligent drivers fail to yield to pedestrians, an accident can occur resulting in pedestrian injuries or even death.
Distracted driving: Distracted driving occurs anytime the driver of a vehicle is not paying attention to the road ahead. Common distracted driving behaviors include texting, talking with other passengers in the car, eating and drinking, adjusting the radio or climate controls, and more.
Ignoring traffic signals and rules: In addition to distracted driving behaviors, blatantly ignoring traffic lights, signs, and general rules of the road can be incredibly dangerous to other drivers and pedestrians. It is extremely important that drivers obey all traffic laws to prevent a crash from occurring.
Driving under the influence: There is no excuse for drunk driving or driving under the influence. This puts other drivers and pedestrians in harm’s way, as alcohol and other substances make it difficult to operate a vehicle due to slow reaction time, inability to reason properly, and an increase in dangerous behaviors like speeding and swerving in traffic.
Walking while under the influence: It’s not just drivers who drink. Even pedestrians walking while under the influence of alcohol or other substances can endanger themselves by not being able to move out of the way fast enough or walking into oncoming traffic.
How to Avoid Auto Pedestrian Accidents
Legally speaking, these cases can be among the most difficult auto accident cases, since vehicle drivers and pedestrians are required to follow the rules of the road and are expected to exercise reasonable care. While some instances may seem to indicate the driver as negligent, the courts and the driver’s insurance company will look at a number of factors when determining liability.
Among the most tragic victims of pedestrian accidents are children, and drivers actually have a special duty of care under the law when it comes to kids. The mere presence of children in an area is supposed to serve as a warning to drivers to exercise extra caution and greater care, especially when driving near schools, parks, and residential areas. Drivers in those areas are expected to drive as if they know kids are present, whether they see some or not.
When you get behind the wheel of car, follow these safety tips to avoid auto-pedestrian accidents:
- Put your cell phone down – This might seem obvious, but we mean it! You may think glancing at your cell phone to read a text is okay to do while driving, but in the few seconds your eyes are off the road, you could endanger the lives of nearby pedestrians.
- Always stop at stop signs – Drivers need to come to a complete stop when approaching a stop sign, and rolling stops don’t count. If you don’t take the time to stop and observe your surroundings, you may miss a pedestrian crossing the street and cause a collision.
- Check for pedestrians before turning – Because you likely can’t see pedestrian traffic signals, don’t assume it’s safe to turn without looking for pedestrians first.
- Be aware of your surroundings – Check your mirrors and windows frequently to ensure you are aware of your surroundings while driving. Being aware of your surroundings can help protect children who are particularly at risk for auto pedestrian accidents because they cannot always be seen in mirrors.
- Always yield to pedestrians – In most instances, drivers must legally yield to pedestrians. Even if you feel like you have the right-of-way, you should allow pedestrians to cross the street before you.
- Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol – This might also seem like an obvious tip, but 34% of all auto pedestrian fatalities are caused by drunk drivers.
Protecting Lubbock Pedestrians
Many pedestrian accidents are preventable and due to the fault of careless or negligent drivers. Victims of these car crashes and their loved ones can suffer greatly due to critical pedestrian injuries and even the death of the victim. If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Liggett Law Group are here to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation and to discuss your claims.