Auto pedestrian injuries are rarely minor, because even a car traveling at 10 mph can permanently disable someone. It’s not hard to see why, as the difference in mass and velocity, along with the lack of safety equipment, makes people on foot extremely vulnerable. That being said, the popular myth that people on foot always have the right of way is not true, and most states observe the rule of comparative negligence when determining who is at fault for this type of accident. Of course, when a driver strikes someone on foot, they will likely be rattled and may instinctively deny responsibility for a crash. For this reason, it’s best to have an attorney on your side that can help present the case’s facts.
What Are Some Common Pedestrian Injuries Resulting Car Accidents?
In general, the faster the driver is going, the worse the impact will be. Even at low speeds, a car’s mass is capable of crushing bones and causing massive internal damage on impact. If the vehicle is especially large, like a bus, it may throw a person several feet or sweep them under the wheels, resulting in horrific harm. At high speeds, an impact with a motor vehicle often results in death, and even those that survive will likely be unable to recover fully.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are some of the worst complications arising from a crash, and can leave the victim in a reduced cognitive state indefinitely. TBIs occur when the brain is either directly damaged, such as when the skull is punctured by shrapnel, or when the head is whipped back and forth, causing the brain to slide inside the skull and contact its interior surface. In either case, lesions, contusions and lacerations can be present on the microscopic level, and they cause long lasting harm to the victim’s ability to think and act. Moderate and severe TBIs are particularly common following a crash, given the forces involved, and most people will not recover from them completely. Some TBI complications include speech disorders, an inability to focus or apply cognitive processes, loss of balance or motor control, chronic pain or nausea, behavioral changes, and even coma or death.
WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN AN AUTO ACCIDENT CAUSES PEDESTRIAN INJURIES?
It depends on where the accident occurs, but most states observe the concept of comparative negligence. What this means is that both the driver and pedestrian are responsible for observing traffic laws and acting with common sense. In general, the driver will be at fault if they have enough time to see and react to someone in the street. However, if someone jumps in front of a vehicle, or suddenly appears from behind an object, the person on foot may be responsible for their own medical expenses.
Determining fault, though, relies on a number of factors, some of them poorly defined. It’s not always clear how much time a driver had to react, and poor road construction or layout may also be partly responsible. It is not usually a good idea to rely on police or insurance companies to control the entire process, as their judgments can be harsh. An accident attorney, though, can even out the scales and ensure a victim’s side of the story is told.