We Handle Complicated Pedestrian Accident Claims in the St. Louis Area
Whenever you walk outside along a road or in a developed area, you are a pedestrian. For most of us, we are pedestrians at some time during the day, which also means we are at risk of pedestrian accidents and injuries on a daily basis. Pedestrian accidents can occur in many locations, the most common of which are traffic intersections (with or without crosswalks), parking lots and garages, and sidewalks that run along busy streets.
Pedestrians are no match for a large car or truck in size, speed or protection, so when a motor vehicle strikes them, they are likely to sustain serious injuries. Pedestrians also have little protection from an impact, and they are directly exposed to the ground and to the vehicle striking them. Motor vehicle drivers and passengers at least have the protective covering of their motor vehicle’s frame and body surrounding them, along with airbags and seatbelts, to reduce injuries. Pedestrians have none of these protections and often sustain severe or even life-threatening injuries.
In a recent year in Missouri, the following occurred due to pedestrian accidents:
- 1,451 pedestrian accidents reported
- 1,391 injuries to pedestrians
- 98 deaths from pedestrian accidents
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, hire the right legal assistance as soon as possible. The St. Louis pedestrian accident attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm handle personal injury claims and have settled and litigated many pedestrian accident cases. They can assist you in recovering the monetary compensation that you need to move forward after a serious injury.
Injuries in St. Louis Pedestrian Accidents
A car or truck driver who negligently causes a collision and strikes a pedestrian can cause catastrophic and deadly results. Pedestrian accident victims can sustain injuries that may include:
- Lacerations and contusions
- Abrasions, scarring, or disfigurement
- Skull fractures and head trauma
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
If you suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident, immediately seek medical care for your injuries. This usually involves taking an ambulance ride or seeking treatment at a local hospital emergency room. Once your medical treatment is underway, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your rights. A St. Louis pedestrian accident lawyer can evaluate your claim and determine the next step in your case, including submitting a demand package to the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
Catastrophic Pedestrian Injuries
Every pedestrian accident is unique and can produce serious injuries that can require treatment. However, certain injuries can change the rest of an accident victim’s life. These catastrophic injuries can affect the central nervous system and, therefore, can result in debilitating injuries and impairments. The following are two examples of such devastating injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur due to a blow or trauma to the head, which is an exceedingly common occurrence in pedestrian accidents. Because your brain acts as your body’s central command center, even a minor injury can cause highly unpredictable, overarching physical and psychological consequences.
A traumatic brain injury can lead to extreme physical damages, altered mental and emotional functioning, altered language capabilities, and diminished sensory perception that can include your sense of smell and your hearing. All these elements constitute what makes you exactly who you are. In fact, many TBI sufferers contend that their traumatic brain injuries left them with an altered sense of self, which significantly exacerbated the severity of their injuries’ consequences. Furthermore, some TBI victims develop chronic seizures.
It’s difficult to overstate how significantly a TBI can damage your life. Many victims require months of rehabilitative treatments and a lifetime dealing with cognitive or physical impairments. It is critical to get immediate medical help for any head injury in order to maximize better medical results. TBI’s impact the victim physically, mentally and emotionally and is one of the most challenging injuries any one person can have.
Spinal injuries – A spinal injury is caused by damage to your vertebrae, to your ligaments, to the discs in your spinal cord, or to your spinal cord itself. Spinal cord injuries can prove especially difficult to self-diagnose because they aren’t always obvious at the time of the accident. Sometimes, spine injuries worsen with time as the associated bleeding, swelling, and accumulation of fluid in your spinal column continues to collect and muscles continue to spasm. These injuries can be difficult to self-diagnose because they may result in radiating leg pain or arm pain which may be results of injuries to your lumbar or cervical spine. In fact, you should not try to self-diagnose these issues. You should be evaluated by a specialist for a complete diagnosis or injuries and treatment plan.
Coupled together, your spinal cord and your brain make up your body’s central nervous system, which manages all of your physical movements and sensations. If your spine suffers significant injury, it can impede your body’s ability to accurately receive messages from your brain, which can cause your motor system to dysfunction and can lead to partial or complete paralysis. Complete spinal cord injuries can result in permanent and total paralysis below the injury, which often prevents a victim from ever walking again.
These are only two examples of how a pedestrian accident can cause a lifetime of medical care, pain and suffering, and limitations due to disabilities. In these cases, your accident-related expenses can cost you significant sums of money, so there is too much at stake to not have the best possible personal injury lawyer handling your claim.
Distracted Driving and Pedestrian Accidents
Distracted driving can take many forms and is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle-related crashes including pedestrian accidents. Distracted driving may involve:
- Texting while driving
- Using a cellular phone or another wireless electronic device while behind the wheel
- Looking away from the road
- Listening to loud music in the car
- Eating or drinking
- Reading or browsing the internet or social media
- Paying attention to passengers in the car while driving
- Exceeding the posted speed limit (especially in residential areas and near pedestrian intersections)
- Failing to obey a traffic law
- Violating red light laws
- Disregarding traffic signs
Distracted drivers turn their attention away from the roadway. They are often unaware of their surroundings and are far more likely to miss a pedestrian while backing out of a parking space or when approaching a traffic intersection where pedestrians are likely present. Victims and their attorneys should always hold distracted drivers fully liable for the harm and losses they cause when they hit a pedestrian.
Staying Safe as a Pedestrian
You can help yourself stay safe when you head out to walk on the streets of in any town or metropolitan area:
- Stay alert to the traffic all around you and obey all posted pedestrian signs, signals, and warnings
- Always cross at marked crosswalks (or other designated walkways) whenever they’re available.
- Cross with a group whenever possible, as groups of pedestrians are easier for motorists to see
- Wear comfortable, supportive, well-fitting, non-slip footwear that allows you to safely and swiftly make your way across the street
- If you need to walk after dark, ensure that vehicles can see you by wearing a prominent piece of clothing that incorporates reflective material, or carry a flashlight
Because pedestrian accidents are so serious, always make safety your top priority when you head out on foot. Teach your children about pedestrian safety as well. Unfortunately, these pedestrian incidents can happen to you or someone in your family no matter how safe you are, thus you will want to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney if you or family members are involved in a pedestrian accident.
What to Do if a Car Hits You While Crossing the Street
Even if pedestrians take every safety measure by using crosswalks and following signals, they can still get hit by a car in an intersection. If a driver hits you because the driver ignored a stoplight, failed to yield, or made another mistake, take these next steps.
- Move to safety. If you are able to do so safely, move out of the street and to the sidewalk to avoid further injury.
- Assess your injuries. Are your injuries severe? Do you need immediate medical attention? If so, call an ambulance right away or ask someone nearby to make the call for you.
- Call the police. The police are trained to respond to this type of accident. They will arrive on the scene and review the situation. They will also speak with bystanders to build a picture of what exactly happened. The police might perform a sobriety test on the driver if they believe that person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They will write up an official police report detailing the accident, which you might use to support your claim.
- Seek medical attention. See a doctor right away, even if you don’t think your injuries are especially serious. After an accident, when adrenaline is running high, you might easily miss the signs of an injury. This is especially true with traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and muscle strains, which may take time to fully manifest. In addition, the insurance companies will ask to review your medical records once you submit your claim requesting compensation for your damages. If they notice that you waited to seek medical treatment, they can claim that you must not have suffered injuries as serious as you say. They might even go so far as to claim that your injuries were not even related to this accident
What NOT to Do After an Accident
While it’s essential to understand what to do after you’ve been hit by a vehicle at a stoplight, there are also two important things to avoid after an accident.
- Don’t apologize. Of course, it is natural to say the words “I’m sorry” in response to an unfortunate situation, even if you know the driver is at fault. Remember that if a motor vehicle hit you at a stoplight and you apologize, the driver and the driver’s insurer could argue that you admitted fault and took responsibility for the accident. Remain silent and wait for the police to arrive.
- Avoid speaking with the insurance companies. After suffering injuries in a crash, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will probably attempt to contact you and ask for your version of what happened. They may appear concerned about your condition, and you might feel tempted to provide the details for which they are asking. Unfortunately, these attempts to collect your statement can actually work against you. The insurance companies will notoriously look for any way to discredit your version of the accident with the goal of reducing the amount of money they need to pay you. It’s best to avoid all calls from the insurance company and allow your attorney to handle these communications.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you suffered injuries in an accident at a stoplight, the days afterward are likely going to feel a bit surreal and confusing. Between trips in and out of the hospital, follow-up statements from the police, and dealing with your injuries, the whole situation can overwhelm anyone. Once the insurance companies start to call about your claim, things become even more frustrating. You need to be able to focus on your medical treatment and returning attention to all of the other aspects of your life rather than spending energy and time tied up with insurance adjusters you may not have your best interest in the forefront.
An attorney can help handle your claim so that you can focus on resting and recovering from your injuries. Typically, a pedestrian accident lawyer can assist with:
- Communicating with the insurance companies
- Filing all of your paperwork on time and correctly
- Collecting necessary documentation, such as the official police report and medical records, to support your claim
- Speaking with anyone who witnessed the accident
- Helping you understand the legal process and stay informed on the progress of your claim
- Reviewing all settlement offers to determine if they are adequate to cover your losses
- Filing a lawsuit and representing you in court, if necessary
Consult Our St. Louis Pedestrian Accident Attorneys for Free
The Cagle Law Firm handles personal injury claims stemming from pedestrian accidents in the St. Louis area. Our lawyers know how to represent clients with a wide range of injuries, including catastrophic injuries and overwhelming losses. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us online or call (314) 391-5220 today.