Understanding the Human Toll of Pedestrian Accidents

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As personal injury attorneys, we meet people during some of the most difficult times in their lives. We encounter people who have experienced tremendous physical injuries and loss. It is our responsibility to try to obtain justice for them. In our role as legal advocates, we are driven to obtain evidence, gather witnesses and expert testimony and do everything in our power to convince a judge and jury to hold an at-fault party accountable for their negligent actions.

Our duty is also to explain the impact of those injuries to the court, and we do our best to convey what victims and their families have suffered. The injuries – and their enduring impact – are best explained by the injured and their families. That is what was so striking about a recent article in the New York Times in which several staffers who were seriously injured in pedestrian accidents recounted their experiences. It is a reminder of the psychological impact that many accident victims experience after being struck by motor vehicles.

Pedestrian Accidents Are On the Rise

Currently, the number of pedestrian fatalities is the highest it’s been in the last five years. National statistics show that pedestrians were one of the only groups to experience an increase in traffic-related fatalities in 2012, the latest year for which data is available. On average, one pedestrian is killed every two hours and another is injured every seven minutes in vehicle accidents.

Pedestrian accidents can produce particularly brutal injuries. It’s not hard to understand why. The human body is entirely unprotected when struck by a vehicle. By contrast, motorists have seat belts, airbags and the structural protection of the vehicle itself to shield them from harm.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is trying to address the problem. It recently awarded $1.6 million in grants to three cities across the U.S. to develop strategies to improve public education and law enforcement efforts to prevent pedestrian accidents.

Those are a few of the facts. Now here’s what accident victims describe of the experience:

Pain and Fear Are the Legacy of Pedestrian Accidents

Jill Abramson, author of the Times article, was hit by a food delivery truck. She described her injuries: a broken femur repaired by a titanium rod, blood transfusions, a crushed foot, a broken pelvis and a filter placed in her abdomen to prevent blood clots. She sat in a fog in a New York hospital for days, all she wanted to do was wash her hair – and she couldn’t even accomplish that mundane task on her own. In fact, she only felt that her recovery began after she had clean hair.

She also described the other legacy of her injuries – the depression and later treatment of symptoms akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. Her colleagues, who also detailed their experience recovering from broken bones, brain injuries and other trauma, all described lasting impacts from their pedestrian accidents: None feel entirely safe walking on the streets anymore. They describe checking each direction far more than necessary, freezing up if they see a car headed in their direction and feeling small stabs of fear before crossing the street.

If you have suffered personal injuries in an accident caused by another driver, find out what your legal options are by talking with an experienced accident lawyer.

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