More than 4,000 pedestrians die annually in collisions with motor vehicles, and almost 70,000 pedestrians are hurt, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. Pedestrians can suffer life-changing injuries or fatalities and should consult with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. More serious injuries can result in larger financial losses.
Understanding Pedestrian Injury Risks
An NHTSA report on pedestrian accidents and injuries provides insight into the biggest risks for pedestrians in collisions. The point of impact in the majority of pedestrian-vehicle accidents is the vehicle's front.
- 3 percent of pedestrians interact with the under bumper of a vehicle.
- 6 percent of pedestrians interact with the middle bumper and area of the vehicle's head lights.
- 27 percent connect with the hood of the vehicle.
- 23 percent connect with the vehicle's windshield.
- Six percent connect with the hood of the vehicle.
The types of injuries a pedestrian sustains are going to vary based on where interaction occurred. A pedestrian who interacts with the bumper area will most frequently suffer injuries to the lower extremities. A pedestrian who interacts with the hood will most likely suffer abdominal injuries or damage to the hip. A pedestrian who makes contact with the windshield or vehicle hood will most likely sustain injuries to the head, thorax, and neck.
NHTSA figures list seniors as one of two demographic groups most likely to be involved in deadly or serious pedestrian accidents (young people under 14 is the other). A senior who sustains a broken hip in an accident may be forced into a rehabilitation facility and face lengthy recovery. AARP reports 20 to 30 percent of seniors who fracture a hip die within a year; 90 percent cannot climb five stairs a year after the fracture even if they required no assistance with stair climbing before injury; and 66 percent won't be able to go to the bathroom without help.
Hip fractures present a special risk to seniors after collisions. For all pedestrian crash victims, however, the most severe and life-threatening injuries are head injuries. Thorax injuries are the second most common severe and life-threatening injuries, followed by injuries to the abdomen and spine. In contrast, 37 percent of less severe injuries involve the lower extremities and pelvis. Injuries to the head account for 35 percent of less severe injuries and injuries to the torso and upper extremities account for 28 percent of less severe injuries.
Speed plays a role in what injuries are likely to occur and in injury severity, especially when children are involved. A reduction of impact speed from 40 to 30 miles per hour has been demonstrated to have a great influence on injury severity.
Victims must demonstrate their injuries are crash related and must show the extent of damage to fully recover compensation for all accident losses. Medical attention should be sought immediately after a pedestrian crash and careful documentation of health issues is necessary to pursue compensation.