The danger faced by pedestrians because of inattentive drivers or drivers who refuse to obey laws regarding pedestrian crosswalks is one that most people have experienced at one time or another. Unfortunately for some, this danger often leads to an incident that can and does have tragic and fatal consequences.
Because of the damage a pedestrian accident can cause for you and your family, you need highly qualified legal representation as soon as possible after your accident. While your first priority should always be getting treatment for your injuries, your next step should be to call a law firm that will stand up for your rights as a pedestrian accident victim. The Law Offices of George Salinas helps clients in and around San Antonio who have suffered a wide range of injuries in pedestrian accidents. To discuss a possible case for free, please contact our San Antonio pedestrian accident lawyers today.
Collisions between vehicles and pedestrians are some of the most serious traffic accidents that occur in the San Antonio area. Pedestrians are completely vulnerable and generally have no protection from the impact of the crash. For this reason, pedestrian accidents can often be completely life-changing or even fatal.
The Prevalence of Pedestrian Accidents in San Antonio
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 129,000 people visited emergency departments in a single year in the United States due to injuries caused by pedestrian accidents. An additional 5,376 pedestrians died from their injuries and pedestrians have a 1.5 greater chance of being killed in a traffic accident than motorists. Even if a pedestrian survives a collision, they often have a long recovery period ahead of them.
It is important to know what can increase the risk of a pedestrian accident so that you can work to keep yourself and your family safe whenever possible. Some risk factors include:
- Adults over age 65
- Urban areas
- Non-intersection areas
- Nighttime or dark conditions
While many pedestrians accidents do happen in crosswalks, it is important to realize that most crashes happen away from intersections. This may involve a pedestrian crossing a street where no crosswalk was available or even a driver hitting someone walking along a sidewalk or shoulder. Pedestrian accidents can happen at any time and you should always know what to do to protect your rights.
Crashes and Injuries In San Antonio
Seeking Medical Attention for Pedestrian Injuries
Pedestrians can suffer a wide variety of traumatic injuries from the impact of the car or from hitting the ground or other objects. In some cases, a pedestrian may roll over the car that hit them before they land on the pavement, providing many opportunities for multiple injuries to occur. Some of the more common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Sprains, strains, and tears
- Serious contusions
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Even a relatively routine injury – such as a sprain or broken bone – requires immediate medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Such injuries may require physical therapy for weeks or months and some fractures may need to be repaired surgically. Even if you cannot immediately identify an injury, you should always undergo a medical evaluation if you feel any pain, discomfort, or anything else out of the ordinary.
Many pedestrians sustain significantly more serious injuries, which can even be catastrophic. For example, if emergency medical personnel suspect that you have suffered a spinal cord injury, they must take proper stabilization measures when transporting you to the hospital. Once there, you will likely be kept for days or weeks while your condition is monitored and treated to prevent any unnecessary effects or complications. Doctors will repeatedly check the severity of your injury and determine whether any paralysis or impairments are temporary or permanent.
In addition, pedestrians who sustain serious brain injuries may be left unconscious. Severe TBIs can leave a patient in a coma for weeks or months, during which they will need to be in the hospital and maybe even the intensive care unit. Injuries to the spine and brain often have permanent effects and patients must learn to live with permanent disabilities and receive ongoing medical care for the rest of their lives.
No matter what type of injury you may have sustained, it is critical to seek the necessary medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. This is important not only to stabilize your condition as much as possible but also to have a record of all of the different injuries you suffered in the accident.
Pedestrian Accident Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Recent research by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that Texas ranked third-highest in pedestrian fatalities. Walking is a popular way to exercise, help improve the quality of the environment, and save money. Dangerous drivers, and the increased popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs), make a pedestrian accident a real possibility every day throughout the United States.
Here’s what you need to know about pedestrian accidents and your rights:
Why are San Antonio pedestrian accidents increasing in frequency?
Two of the top reasons for pedestrian accidents are distracted driving and large SUVs.
Distracted driving – According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are three main types of distraction:
- Visual: takes your eyes off the road
- Manual: takes your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: takes your mind off driving
One of the most dangerous types of distracted driving is texting behind the wheel. The CDC reports that reading and sending a text involves all three types of distraction. Other types of distractions include reaching for items, programing a navigational system, and eating.
A study by theAAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 78 percent of respondents believe texting is a serious problem, yet 35 percent admitted to engaging in the behavior behind the wheel.
SUV and pedestrian accidents – SUVs have far surpassed passenger cars and trucks in vehicle sales. The higher profile of these large vehicles makes them a deadly force when a driver strikes a pedestrian. Twelve independent studies of accident data showed that pedestrians are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury when struck by a large SUV or pick-up truck.
No one should experience serious harm by any type of vehicle or due to any type of dangerous driver. If you experienced serious injuries while walking, due to a distracted, drunk, drowsy, or speeding driver in an SUV or passenger car, you should contact an attorney.
What types of injuries are possible from a San Antonio pedestrian accident?
Walking leaves you exposed to the blunt force of a vehicle collision. Striking the hard service of the vehicle or road, or being thrown into the path of another vehicle, can result in catastrophic injuries, if not death.
Examples of life-changing injuries possible from a pedestrian accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – The CDC defines a traumatic brain injury as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function. A patient with a severe TBI may require 24-hour care in a skilled nursing facility. The average cost of such a facility in Texas ranges between $4,700 and $6,500 per month.
- Spinal cord injury – A spinal cord injury disrupts important communication with the brain. This communication is important for movement and sensation, and when damaged, the result is often some form of paralysis. Power chairs, home modifications, and other expenses can easily reach into the millions of dollars each year, throughout the patient’s lifetime.
- Broken bones – Depending upon the number of bones that break and the type of break, you may face a long recovery. Future surgeries and extensive physical therapy may result in the need for personal care and significant time away from work.
- Internal injuries – The types of injuries that exhibit no outward signs or symptoms are the most concerning. You may feel fine after your accident when, in fact, internal bleeding may develop, leaving you at risk for organ damage and possible death. Internal injuries are another reason why you must accept medical transport to the hospital if the EMTs recommend it. Only a medical professional can properly diagnose internal injuries, using CT scans and other imaging equipment.
Your transport to an emergency facility may not only save your life, but also serve as valuable documentation for future litigation. Always accept medical attention from first responders and agree to medical transport after any type of accident—especially one that was not your fault.
Can I accept a settlement offer on my own?
You should not accept a settlement offer without securing legal representation. While it’s possible to accept without legal consultation, accepting the offer will disallow any future opportunity to pursue additional compensation should your medical condition worsen.
Speaking with insurance companies representatives while you are recovering from your injuries is never a good idea. Insurance companies know you are most vulnerable immediately following a traumatic accident. Don’t fall for their high-pressure tactics. Instead, retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent your best interests.
A distracted driver killed my loved one. Can I sue?
With the rise in pedestrian deaths due to distracted and otherwise dangerous drivers, losing a loved one is a sad possibility. If you lost a loved one due to a pedestrian accident that was not his or her fault, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. Texas law allows two years for filing such a claim, and the law is specific as to who may file for compensation. Consulting a personal injury attorney is your best option for learning more.
How will a San Antonio pedestrian accident attorney help me?
Personal injury attorneys enter this particular field of law to help accident victims. The traumatic event of a pedestrian accident may leave you with physical, financial, and emotional stress. If the accident was not your fault, paying for your injuries is not fair.
A San Antonio pedestrian accident attorney can help you through this difficult time. Most attorneys offer free case evaluations, leaving you nothing to lose by contacting one without delay. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years, and the clock generally starts the moment you become injured.
While you most likely feel overwhelmed by your accident, injuries, and expenses, you are not alone. The right pedestrian accident attorney won’t stop until he or she secures the best possible outcome for your case. When you work with the Law Offices of George Salinas, if your attorney cannot reach a fair settlement out-of-court, he or she is prepared to take your case to trial.
Seeking Financial Recovery after a Pedestrian-Auto Collision
After getting hit by a car, an attorney can review what happened and advise you whether you have the right to hold the driver accountable for your many losses. Even if you were partially at fault for the crash, you may still seek compensation as long as the other party was more than 50 percent liable for the accident.
To hold a driver liable, you must demonstrate that the collision occurred due to the driver’s negligence. A driver has the duty to operate their vehicle with reasonable care to prevent accidents and injuries to others. A driver is negligent when they fail to use adequate care and injuries result. Some examples of negligence that can lead to a pedestrian crash include:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Ignoring “walk” signals
- Running traffic lights or stop signs
- Drunk driving
- Fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel
Anyone who has a driver’s license should understand the importance of noticing walk signals at intersections. However, too many drivers continue to pass through crosswalks – especially when making turns – without regard to the right-of-way of pedestrians. In addition, when a driver is distracted, it is less likely they will notice a pedestrian crossing or a walk signal.
If a driver was negligent, pedestrians in Texas can file a claim with that driver’s insurance. Insurance policies may not cover the costs of severe injuries, however, and it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. Our legal team can handle every step of the insurance process, as well as the legal process in civil court. If you or a loved has been hit by a car while walking, you should not wait any longer to call and discuss your legal rights.
Experienced Pedestrian-Auto Collision Attorney in San Antonio, Texas
If you have experienced a loss due to a pedestrian-auto accident, the Law Offices of George Salinas, PLLC, has a history of having successfully represented pedestrians, young and old, in very serious pedestrian-auto collision cases. Please contact us to discuss your case so that we can assist you in understanding your options.
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