As many continue to adjust to life amid COVID-19, auto accidents involving pedestrians are likely to continue increasing in a deadly trend. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in 2019 Texas was among five states that accounted for nearly half of auto pedestrian accident fatalities. While many factors are involved when these accidents occur, it’s important to understand who is most susceptible to auto pedestrian crashes, the common injuries pedestrians can face as a result, as well as how fatalities occur.
Auto Pedestrian Accident Risk Factors
Auto accidents that involve pedestrians can be incredibly deadly. Even when a pedestrian survives the accident, it is unlikely they will be able to walk away completely unscathed. Pedestrian accidents have the potential to cause severe injuries due to the vulnerability of the human body when being struck by the full weight of a car or truck. With crosswalks and sidewalks in place to protect pedestrians, one may wonder what factors do contribute to a pedestrian accident?
Certain conditions have the potential to put pedestrians in danger. Common risk factors include instances that occur at night when drivers are much less likely to see a pedestrian. In addition, the use of alcohol or drugs by drivers causes poor judgment, impaired motor skills, and decreased perception, making an accident involving a pedestrian much more likely. Incidents of distracted driving – such as texting while behind the wheel or chatting with passengers in the car –also contribute to the likelihood of an auto pedestrian accident.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
No matter if pedestrians are walking, running, biking, or simply sitting on a nearby bench, they can be vulnerable to a collision with a negligent driver. When an auto pedestrian accident occurs, the injuries are likely to be severe in nature. Some of the most common pedestrian accident injuries include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries are typically caused when an outside force damages the brain. In most instances, a violent blow to the head or body – such as a vehicle impacting a pedestrian – can result in a TBI, which can have a lifelong impact on the victim.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Much like a TBI, a spinal cord injury can also result from a sudden, traumatic blow, causing the spine to fracture or dislocate vertebrae. Because the spinal cord is the mechanism for transmitting signals between the brain and the body, even a small amount of damage can have life-altering results.
When the physical force exerted on a bone is stronger than the bone itself, it can cause the bone to break or fracture. While treatable, these injuries can result in lifelong pain and medical problems that can impact a victim’s overall well-being and quality of life.
Lacerations and Soft Tissue Injuries
Everything from bruises and lacerations to tears, dislocations, and sprains are considered soft tissue injuries. While many of these injuries are self-resolving with little medical intervention, they can cause significant pain and may keep victims from engaging in everyday activities for weeks or even months on end. In addition, these injuries can leave victims with unsightly scarring or other permanent issues that can have an impact on their mental well-being.
In certain cases, the forces involved can cause the accidental amputation of limbs and extremities, as well as the potential dragging of the victim by the vehicle.
Not all major injuries are physical. Even if an auto pedestrian accident victim does not suffer permanent physical injuries, they may suffer lasting emotional and mental trauma. Because being struck by a vehicle is a traumatic experience, pedestrians may be unable to cope with the psychological trauma it causes.
Pedestrians struck by vehicles are at high risk of wrongful death. These fatalities are caused not only by the sheer size of vehicles but also because of the lack of protection for the pedestrian. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 6,000 pedestrians were killed on our nation’s roadways in 2018 alone.
Who is Most Susceptible to a Pedestrian Accident Injury or Fatality?
Pedestrians are one of the few groups with increasing traffic-related deaths. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), since 2009, pedestrian fatalities have risen 46%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older pedestrians aged 65 and up accounted for 20% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 10% of all pedestrian injuries in 2017. This is because the aging process makes elderly pedestrians more susceptible to being involved in a traffic accident than younger pedestrians. The elderly are typically slower walkers with slower reflexes to react to oncoming vehicles. Additionally, the use of a cane, walker, or wheelchair can make quick movements nearly impossible.
It’s not just the elderly that are particularly at risk of injury or fatality due to an auto pedestrian accident; young children are also incredibly vulnerable. According to the CDC, in 2017, one in every five children under the age of 15 killed in traffic crashes was a pedestrian. Children and young teens walk to and from school regularly, as well as to friends’ houses, and they routinely go outside to play. Children are particularly vulnerable because their smaller frames make them more difficult for drivers to see. Unfortunately, auto pedestrian accidents that involve children as well as the elderly are often fatal due to the victims’ frailness and small stature.
Houston, Texas Auto Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Auto pedestrian accidents are incredibly dangerous. Though not all result in pedestrian fatalities, the injuries sustained can be devastating and have lifelong effects on the victim. Because of this, it’s important to have an experienced auto pedestrian accident attorney by your side to hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and the resulting damages. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto pedestrian accident, contact the attorneys at Ramsey Law Group today for a free consultation.