In a city like Charlotte, pedestrian accidents are far too common. When pedestrians walk on the sidewalks and roadways, they are at significant risk of injury every time they come into contact with vehicles. While pedestrians should obey traffic laws and maintain a healthy respect for vehicles, drivers should also maintain respect for people who walk on the sidewalks and cross the street corners. When vehicle operators fail to exhibit due caution, the result can prove injurious or even deadly for a pedestrian.
More than 4,000 pedestrians die in automobile accidents each year and in North Carolina, more than 11 percent of accident fatalities were pedestrians. Contact a Charlotte personal injury lawyer to speak with an attorney, risk-free, if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Common pedestrian injuries include:
- Injury to hips and legs – This occurs due to the height of most cars. The bumper and hood of the vehicle tends to hit the pedestrian in the area of the hips and legs, resulting in broken bones;
- Head injuries – Pedestrians are often thrown into the air due to the violent impact of the vehicle. The collision of the head onto a hard object or the protrusion of an object into the skull can lead to traumatic brain injuries. These types of injuries can be mild, with temporary concussions or severe, leading to a permanent loss of cognitive functions and even death; and
- Internal injuries – The impact between a vehicle and a pedestrian can also cause internal injuries, such as broken blood vessels and damage to major tissues or organs. These injuries may eventually require amputation.
When walking the streets of North Carolina, there are certain tips you can follow to promote your safety:
- Stay on the sidewalk as much as possible. In the absence of a sidewalk, stay to the far left of the roadway and face the oncoming traffic;
- Even if the pedestrian signal says to walk, look both ways before proceeding onto the street;
- Stay alert. Headphones and telephone conversations can decrease your awareness and reaction time;
- Only cross at intersections if possible;
- Wear bright or reflective clothing after dark to catch the attention of drivers; and
- Check all lanes of traffic before crossing. Just because one driver yields to you, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t oncoming traffic in the adjacent lanes of traffic.
When involved in traffic accidents, pedestrian victims can seek financial compensation by filing a claim against the driver’s insurance company. You may be able to recover damages that compensate you for your costs, which may include:
- Medical bills;
- Surgical costs;
- Pharmaceutical costs;
- Lost wages;
- Future medical expenses; and/or
- Emotional pain and suffering .
In certain situations, you may also recover punitive damages, which are meant to deter the driver from repeating bad behaviors. In North Carolina, injured pedestrians can generally seek punitive damages when struck by drunk drivers or reckless drivers.
If you are a pedestrian victim in a vehicle accident, call 911 and seek medical attention as soon as possible following the incident. If possible gather information about your accident, including contact information for any witnesses. Keep track of your medical expenses and contact an attorney to assist with your claim.
When speaking with law enforcement, refrain from claiming any fault and rely on your Charlotte accident lawyer to communicate with the insurance company.