Accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles are way too common in the Tampa Bay area. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,183 pedestrians died in the state of Florida in traffic related accidents in 2019. The Tampa Bay region is one of the urban areas most affected.
If you’re attempting to cross the street at a marked pedestrian crossing or are walking on a sidewalk, you should have a reasonable expectation that the cars on the road will respect your space. If they don’t and you get hurt as a result, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent motorist. At Future Firm Law, we understand that when you are a pedestrian who has been hurt by a motor vehicle, you have most likely sustained serious injuries, and you shouldn’t have to pay for them. If you are the victim of a pedestrian accident, we can help you hold the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries and the expenses you have incurred.
The Reasons that Pedestrian Accidents Occur
Motorists are always required to obey traffic laws and pay attention to people who are attempting to cross the street or walking near their car. If a motorist fails to yield the right of way or gets distracted, a pedestrian could suffer severe injuries or death. It’s a fact that most pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence.
Some of the most common offenses by drivers that lead to pedestrian accidents are:
- Failing to obey signals and crosswalk signs.
- Failing to stop or yield.
- Driving too fast for the weather or in hazardous conditions.
- Backing up out of a parking space or driveway without checking for pedestrians.
- Distracted driving, such as texting.
- Driving while impaired.
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Risk factors Associated with Pedestrian Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects data about pedestrian accidents and injuries each year. Their most recent report was released with the 2020 numbers, and some are quite surprising:
- There is one pedestrian killed in a traffic crash every 85 minutes.
- 17% of children 14 and younger who were killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
- 23% of pedestrian accident fatalities occurred to victims aged 50-59.
- 76% of pedestrian fatalities happened at night, while 24% occurred during the day.
- Males are more likely than females to sustain injuries in a traffic-related pedestrian crash, 70% to 30%.
- 18% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at intersections.
- More people died in pedestrian-related accidents in urban areas (82%) than in rural areas (18%.)
- Alcohol use was a factor in 46% of traffic accidents that resulted in pedestrian death.
- One out of every five people who died in a pedestrian accident was the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
- Of the 5,580 pedestrian fatalities involving a single-vehicle crash, 2,149 involved a passenger car, 1,071 involved an SUV, and 51 involved a bus.
- Most pedestrians who were killed by a motor vehicle were in California, and the least were in North Dakota. Florida was the 2nd highest state in the country for pedestrian fatalities.
Types of Injuries That Occur with Pedestrian Accidents
When a car crashes into a pedestrian, the injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal. A pedestrian has nothing to protect their body from a two (or more) ton vehicle. Unlike the driver of the vehicle, they have no seatbelt, airbag or protective metal structure around them, so injuries they sustain when a vehicle hits them are often severe.
Traumatic brain injuries – Head and brain injuries are potentially life-altering injuries that can happen as a result of a pedestrian accident. No matter the circumstance, when you sustain a forceful blow to the head, it can inflict serious damage. A TBI (or traumatic brain injury) may present symptoms immediately, but they can also be delayed. Symptoms could include some or all of the following: sensitivity to light or sound, confusion, loss of coordination, sleep problems, vision problems, depression, anxiety, difficulty with concentration, concussions, dizziness, mood swings and more.
Spinal Cord injuries – The Mayo Clinic reported last year that car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in this country, so if you are a pedestrian who gets hit by a motor vehicle, you have the possibility of sustaining a spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury is defined as damage to the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal (cauda equina). If your spinal cord is injured, it could cause permanent changes in sensation, strength and bodily functions below the site of the injury. An injury to the spinal cord can also cause paralysis and even death, in the absolute worst cases. This type of injury typically requires long-term care.
Soft tissue damage – The term “soft tissue damage” includes tears, strains, sprains, contusions, lacerations and dislocations. Though these injuries typically heal quicker than other injuries, they are still very painful. Soft tissue damage could result in scars, severe pain and other long-term issues.
Bone breaks and fractures – Due to the violent nature of a pedestrian vs motor vehicle collision, pedestrians will many times fracture their arms, legs, back, wrists, hands, shoulders and arms. In more serious cases, a bone break could occur. These breaks may include compound fractures, which is one where the broken bone punctures through the skin. When that happens, it is a very painful injury and may cause long-term problems—and in the worst cases, amputation.