According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in car accidents in 2017. That does not include the 137,000 people who required emergency care for non-fatal injuries.
Based on these statistics, a pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes in a traffic accident and injured every eight minutes. Accidents typically occur in urban areas away from an intersection after 6 p.m. Alcohol plays a role in 40 percent of all incidents, whether the driver or pedestrian was intoxicated.
Beyond the numbers, injuries sustained from a pedestrian accident can be life-changing, require a lengthy recovery and alter the course of the victim’s future.
Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the impact can cause serious injury or death. Pedestrian accidents may result in:
- Soft Tissue Damage: Based on severity, pedestrian accidents can lead to lacerations, abrasions, bruises, internal bleeding, muscle tears, strains and sprains. Internal injuries may not be immediately obvious, especially if you were hit at a slower speed. Due to this risk, you’re encouraged to seek medical attention after an accident.
- Fractures and Broken Bones: Impact from the vehicle and where you fall can result in fractured or broken bones, particularly in the hands, wrists, legs and arms.
- Head Injuries: The force from being hit by a car can be enough to cause a concussion or traumatic brain injury. Similar to soft tissue injuries, TBIs may show external signs like bruising or bleeding or may be entirely internal, making them less detectable. Symptoms of a TBI range from sleep issues, drowsiness, fatigue and nausea to decreased coordination, issues with concentration and sharp changes in personality.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Especially if you’re hit at a faster speed or fly over a car’s hood, you may be at higher risk for experiencing a spinal cord injury, which can result in full or partial paralysis.
- Amputation: Limbs damaged beyond surgical repair may result in a doctor recommending an amputation.
Where Do Injuries Occur?
Research has shown that type of injury and severity can vary when a car hits a pedestrian:
- For adults, the car’s bumper is more likely to hit the legs while the head, arms and shoulders will hit the windshield or top of the car.
- Children are more likely to be hit toward the middle or upper half of their body and have a greater chance of experiencing a head, neck or musculoskeletal injury.
- Speed plays a role in where the pedestrian travels after being hit. At lower speeds, the victim may stay on the hood but if the driver is traveling faster, the victim may flip or fly over the top of the car. This can result in another risk: Falling into the road.
- Common pedestrian accident injuries for adults involve the pelvis and legs, followed by the shoulders, head, face, spine and chest. Head injuries are twice as likely to occur as a chest injury.
- Injury severity depends on multiple factors, including how fast the car is traveling, the angle at which they hit the pedestrian and the victim’s center of gravity.
A new pedestrian safety law took effect in Connecticut on October 1st, 2021. Pedestrians are now able to signal their intent to cross using their hands. They can also signal safely from the sidewalk, rather than needing to step into the crosswalk.
Drivers further must yield to pedestrians who move into the crosswalk entrance at all, including part of a walking stick, wheelchair or a leashed dog. “Dooring”, the act of opening a car door as a pedestrian or cyclist approaches, is also prohibited.
Were you or a loved one the victim of a pedestrian accident? To hold the driver and insurance carrier responsible, work with Trantolo & Trantolo’s team of lawyers. To learn more, contact us today.