Auto-pedestrian injuries are rarely minor. Even a car traveling at 10 mph can permanently disable someone. It’s not hard to see why people on foot are so vulnerable. With the average car weighing in at around 4,000 pounds, a 160-pound pedestrian is almost certain to sustain some kind of injury when the two meet.
That being said, the popular myth that people on foot always have the right of way is not true, and most states, including Texas, 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, the driver 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 who can help present the case’s facts.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON AUTO PEDESTRIAN INJURIES RESULTING FROM CAR ACCIDENTS?
Injuries from auto-pedestrian crashes range from minor to debilitating. In general, the faster the car is going and the larger the vehicle, the worse the impact will be and the more serious the injuries. Even at low speeds, the average car is capable of crushing bones and causing massive internal damage on impact. If the vehicle is especially large, like a bus or semi-truck, it may throw a person several feet or sweep them under the wheels, resulting in horrific harm.
Injury severity also varies by age. While young people are more likely to be involved in auto-pedestrian crashes, studies by the AAA Foundation show that elderly people have a higher risk of sustaining more severe injuries. The average risk of severe injury or death for a 70-year-old struck by a car traveling 25 mph is similar to the risk for a 30-year-old pedestrian struck at 35 mph, for example.
At any speed, an impact with a motor vehicle can cause injuries. If a car is traveling at a high speed, death is likely to occur and even those who survive may be unable to recover fully.
Here are some common injuries:
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.
Internal injuries are particularly serious because they are not always easily detected, so they may go untreated. Blunt force trauma from car accidents can result in damage to the spleen, kidneys, lungs, and other organs, leading to organ failure. Ruptures to intestines and the bowel can cause infections and lead to a life-threatening illness called sepsis. What are symptoms of internal injuries? Nausea, feeling faint, and deep bruising and swelling near an organ are some symptoms.
Spinal cord and neck injuries frequently occur in crashes between cars and pedestrians. A traumatic blow can fracture, dislocate, compress, or crush vertebrae in the neck and spine or even sever the spinal cord. These injuries can lead to paralysis and lifelong debilitation. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Hip fractures and other broken bones suffered in car accidents can cause lifelong pain and even arthritis later in life, depending upon the severity of the injury. For the elderly, a hip fracture is especially serious and can be life-threatening. Even less severe fractures can lead to expensive surgery, a long recovery period that may include physical therapy, and lost time at work.
WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN AN AUTO ACCIDENT CAUSES PEDESTRIAN INJURIES?
Texas, like most states, observes 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 held to be responsible.
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 experienced accident attorney, though, can even out the scales and ensure a victim’s side of the story is told. Call us toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out our online form to speak with us today.