Pedestrian Accidents and the Elderly

Pedestrian Accidents and the Elderly

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto personal injury lawyer. Walking is sometimes the primary means of transportation for those over the age of 65. This further implies that there is a high risk of pedestrian injury and mortality among this age group. The reason why the elderly are particularly vulnerable as pedestrians is due in large to physical problems, sensory issues and difficulty in executive functioning they may experience as they age. All of these complications can become a crucial safety concern as the elderly take walks down the road. To better understand the nature of pedestrian accidents and the elderly, continue reading below.

Elderly Pedestrian Accident Statistics

  • Economic costs associated with pedestrian injuries were $4 billion and pedestrian fatalities with $21 billion in 2012, the year for which comprehensive data is available (according to the National Safety Council);
  • Of the 129,000 pedestrian injuries reported in 2015, approximately thirteen percent were caused to pedestrians over the age of 65 (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
  • The age groups with the highest number of pedestrian deaths were fifty to fifty-four with 625 and fifty-five to fifty-nine with 583. In addition,  pedestrians 65 and older accounted for twenty percent of all pedestrian deaths (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration);
  • The rate of death for pedestrians over 70 years of age was found to have declined by seventy-three percent since 1975. However, pedestrians these ages had the highest rate of fatality since the year in question (according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

Accident-Related Injuries in Elderly Pedestrians

Elderly pedestrians can be highly vulnerable to a collision with a negligent motorist for a number of reasons. It is important to be aware of the injuries that can be sustained in these types of accidents. Some injuries may include:

  • Bone fractures can leave elderly pedestrians with excruciating pain and may require extensive rehabilitation to heal;
  • Liver damage is the common site of abdominal trauma. These injuries can cause internal bleeding and even prove fatal if not treated promptly following a pedestrian accident.
  • Spinal cord trauma can range from dislocated discs or spinal fractures to ligament damage. In some cases, it can even lead to loss of sensation and paralysis;
  • Traumatic brain injuries are among the most severe injuries to an elderly pedestrian as its symptoms may cause problems with memory and sensory. Individuals that have suffered brain injuries oftentimes require round-the-clock care and are likely to never be the same again;
  • Death.

Pedestrian Accidents Caused by Drivers

Drivers are obligated to exercise due care to those they share the road with, including pedestrians. When a driver fails to do so, they are considered negligent and can be held accountable for their actions. Some of the most common factors attributing to driver negligence in a pedestrian accident include:

  • Disobeying traffic laws such as failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks;
  • Distracted driving like texting and driving;
  • Driving while intoxicated, which is defined as an individual with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08 percent or higher;
  • Drugged driving, whether caused by nonprescription or prescription drug use;
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians;
  • Lane drifting, overcompensation, etc.;
  • Speeding or driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions.

Pedestrian’s Duty of Care

Pedestrians, like drivers, are also obligated to take evasive action in staying out of harm’s way. Following are some of the ways a pedestrian may share fault in an accident:

  • Walking against a “Do Not Walk” sign;
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Darting into traffic;
  • Walking while distracted like listening to music with earphones, talking on a cell phone or texting;
  • Jaywalking or crossing in the middle of a roadway or street;
  • Walking in pedestrian prohibited areas like bridges or highways.

Comparative Fault

The comparative fault law in California recognizes that fault may be allocated between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle in the case of a traffic accident. This means that a pedestrian may share partial responsibility but still be able to recover damages based on the percentage of fault they are assigned. For instance, if a pedestrian was found forty percent at fault in an accident, they may still be able to collect sixty percent of the compensation they would otherwise have been entitled to. For more information, contact an experienced attorney.

How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help

Pedestrian accidents involving the elderly are not entirely uncommon and quite often result in serious injuries. In the case of an accident caused by a negligent driver, an injured pedestrian has the right to collect fair compensation for damages incurred like medical costs, pain and suffering, and time lost from work. Pedestrians who have been injured in an accident with a motor vehicle should meet with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Modesto to discuss their options in maximizing their chances of a favorable recovery.

Modesto Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto personal injury lawyer. Pedestrians involved in traffic accidents are often left with devastating injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured and require the assistance of an experienced attorney, I am here to provide you with free, friendly advice. Contact me any time at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400.

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