Common Injuries When Pedestrians Are Hit by a Car

scan showing head injuries

What Are the Most Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?

Pedestrian accidents are an increasingly significant issue in Los Angeles County. According to a study, L.A. County is considered one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians nationwide. Pedestrians don’t have any protection comparable to a motor vehicle that has airbags, seat belts, and a metal frame. Therefore, these kinds of collisions are extremely dangerous and often result in devastating pedestrian accident injuries. Read on to learn about the most common injuries pedestrians sustain in accidents with motor vehicles.

Broken Bones and Fractures

When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the force of impact can cause bone fractures. Fractures caused by pedestrian accidents commonly occur in the limbs, pelvis, ribs, and skull. The severity of the fracture can depend on factors such as the vehicle’s traveling speed, the angle of impact, and the pedestrian’s position at the time of the collision. Common types of fractures include:

  • Compound fractures: These kinds of fractures occur when the broken bone punctures the skin and can lead to infection if not treated properly.
  • Comminuted fractures: These fractures occur when the bone shatters into three or more pieces and often require surgery.
  • Hairline fractures: Small cracks in the bone that may be difficult to detect but still cause pain and impairment.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most severe consequences of pedestrian accidents, often resulting from direct blows to the head or rapid acceleration-deceleration forces.

TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe injuries with lasting cognitive impairments. Common types of TBIs include:

  • Concussion: A mild TBI characterized by temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, headache, and dizziness.
  • Contusion: Bruising of the brain tissue due to impact, which can cause swelling, bleeding, and neurological deficits.
  • Diffuse axonal injury (DAI): Widespread damage to nerve fibers throughout the brain, often resulting in coma, vegetative state, or long-term disabilities.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to spinal cord injuries in accidents involving motor vehicles. Spinal cord injuries can be classified as complete or incomplete, depending on the extent of damage to the spinal cord.

People with a complete spinal cord injury can’t move or feel anything at or below the site where the trauma occurred. Those with an incomplete spinal cord injury may experience some movement or sensation below the injury site.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are common in pedestrian accidents due to the sudden and forceful impact of the collision, which can strain, tear, or bruise muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Emotional Trauma

Beyond physical injuries, pedestrian accidents can also have profound psychological effects on victims, leading to emotional trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression, especially if the accident results in the loss of a loved one or permanent disability. If you lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident, you may be able to pursue compensation for funeral and burial costs in a wrongful death claim.

Road Rash

Pedestrians who are struck by a vehicle may be thrown or dragged along the road surface, resulting in abrasions, lacerations, and friction burns known as road rash, which can cause pain, scarring, and infection if not properly treated.


What Are Common Places Pedestrian Accidents Occur?

oncoming traffic at a crosswalk. car approaching a crosswalk

In 2021, there were 1,108 pedestrian fatalities in California, which is a 9.3% increase from 2020. On average, 20 deaths occur each day due to fatal pedestrian accidents. Most pedestrian deaths happen in urban areas at night. About 84% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas versus 16% in rural areas. Approximately 76% of pedestrian deaths occured at night in 2021.

Certain areas pose a higher risk of pedestrian accidents due to factors including traffic volume, pedestrian activity, and infrastructure design. Common places where pedestrian accidents occur include:

  • Crosswalk accidents: Crosswalks are often sites of accidents due to drivers failing to yield the right of way or engaging in reckless behavior like speeding or distracted driving.
  • Parking lots: The congestion and frequent movement of vehicles in parking lots increase the likelihood of pedestrian accidents, especially when drivers are backing out of parking spaces or maneuvering through crowded areas.
  • Intersections: Pedestrian accidents are common at intersections and can occur when drivers fail to obey traffic signals or yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Roadsides or shoulders: Pedestrians walking along roadsides or shoulders are vulnerable to accidents, especially in areas lacking sidewalks or proper safeguards for pedestrians.
  • Shared-use paths or trails: Accidents can occur in areas designated for both pedestrian and non-motorized vehicle use, such as bike paths or trails if the road users do not follow proper signage, markings, or restrictions.


Who Is Liable in a California Pedestrian Accident?

the broken windshield in motor vehicle accident

While each pedestrian accident case is unique, several parties may be held liable for pedestrian accidents, including:

Drivers: Motorists have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care and obey traffic laws to prevent harm to pedestrians. If a driver’s negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, or failing to yield the right of way, directly contributes to a pedestrian accident, they may be held liable for resulting injuries and damages.

Pedestrians: In some cases, pedestrians may contribute to the accident. For example, pedestrians may be partially liable if they cross against a red light or recklessly dart into the street. However, California follows a comparative negligence system, allowing injured pedestrians to recover damages even if partially at fault, though their compensation may be reduced proportionally to their degree of fault.

Government entities: Liability may extend to government entities responsible for road maintenance, signage, or traffic control devices if hazardous road conditions or inadequate pedestrian infrastructure contribute to the accident.

Determining liability in a pedestrian accident case requires a thorough investigation, gathering of compelling evidence, and legal expertise to establish fault and pursue fair compensation for the injured pedestrian. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can protect pedestrian accident victims’ rights and help them navigate the complexities of the claims process.


Right of Way Laws in California

In California, right-of-way laws govern the interaction between pedestrians and vehicles on the road, outlining the responsibilities of both parties to ensure safe passage. Understanding these laws is essential for promoting pedestrian safety and preventing accidents. 

  • Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing at intersections with marked or unmarked crosswalks. 
  • Pedestrians must exercise caution when crossing and not suddenly leave the curb into the path of a vehicle.
  • Drivers must exercise heightened caution in school zones and yield to pedestrians, including children, crossing the street within marked crosswalks or at designated school crossings. Drivers must follow reduced speed limits and additional signage in school zones.

Failure to observe these laws can result in citations and serious injuries or fatalities.


Compensation Available in Pedestrian Accidents

Victims of pedestrian accidents in California may be entitled to various forms of compensation to cover their losses and expenses resulting from the collision. Compensation available in pedestrian accident cases may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Ongoing medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death

Seeking full and fair compensation in a pedestrian accident case often involves negotiating with insurance companies or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help injured pedestrians recover maximum compensation for their injuries and losses.


How Do I Prove Negligence In A Pedestrian Accident?

Proving negligence in a pedestrian accident case requires establishing that the responsible party breached their duty of care, directly causing the accident. To successfully prove negligence, the following elements must be demonstrated:

Duty of care: It must be shown that the defendant owed a duty of care to exercise reasonable caution and abide by traffic laws to prevent harm to pedestrians on the road. In California, both drivers and pedestrians must exercise care and avoid actions that could endanger others.

Breach of duty: Evidence must be presented to establish that the defendant breached their duty of care through negligent actions or failure to act, such as speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, or disregarding traffic signals. This may involve witness testimony, CCTV surveillance footage, accident reconstruction, or dash camera footage.

Causation: It must be demonstrated that the defendant’s breach of duty was a direct cause of the pedestrian accident and resulting injuries. This requires establishing a clear link between the defendant’s actions or negligence and the harm suffered by the pedestrian.

Damages: Documentation of the injuries, damages, and losses sustained by the pedestrian as a direct result of the accident is required to prove negligence. Medical records, expert testimony, and other evidence may be used to quantify the extent of the harm caused and the resulting financial and non-economic losses.


Contact an Experienced Pasadena Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Pasadena, don’t hesitate to reach out to our award-winning personal injury law firm. At Rose Accident Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping injured victims recover fair compensation for their losses. Our pedestrian accident lawyers maintain a 99% success rate and can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their reckless or negligent actions. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.