According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, there were 5,977 pedestrians killed in 2017 after being struck by a vehicle. As a personal injury attorney in Nashville can explain, this number has been steadily increasing over the past decade; in 2003, pedestrians and bicyclists represented 12.6 percent of total traffic fatalities, but by 2017, pedestrians and bicyclists represented 18.2 percent of traffic fatalities. At national levels, the majority of pedestrian fatalities (73 percent) occur at non-intersections. Lighting conditions are a major factor in pedestrian accidents and pedestrian fatalities, with as many as 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurring after dark.
A story reported in the Tennessean found an increased number of pedestrians killed in the streets of Tennessee’s largest cities over the past few years, including in Nashville. Physician and pedestrian safety activist in Nashville, Stacy Dorris, note that Nashville simply does not have a “pedestrian culture,” and is not “designed very well as a walking community.” Studies in Nashville and Memphis pointed out problems for pedestrians, including missing sidewalks, crumbling concrete, and long blocks with no crosswalks. About 80 percent of the pedestrian deaths in Nashville occurred on state roadways, with Old Hickory Boulevard being dubbed a “hot spot” for pedestrian accidents.
If you were struck by a vehicle or suffered an injury while traveling by foot, you may benefit from contacting a Nashville pedestrian accident lawyer. Our team could guide you through the litigation process and help you seek financial recovery.
Factors Involved in Pedestrian Collisions
Drivers have a special duty of care regarding pedestrians and bicyclists, as this population is extremely vulnerable to injury and death when hit by a vehicle. Drivers also have a special duty of care to children who are smaller, less visible, and often unpredictable. The law imposes a higher duty of care to drivers where children are concerned, particularly in areas where the driver knows—or should know—that small children could be playing in the area—around schools, in residential areas, and surrounding parks. Some factors that contribute to driver negligence include:
- Failure to use a signal when turning;
- Exceeding the speed limit;
- Driving while distracted;
- Failure to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians;
- Failure to obey traffic signals or signs;
- Failure to take weather into account when driving; or
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A local attorney could help hold a negligent motorist accountable for striking a pedestrian in Nashville.
Holding a Driver Liable for Hitting Someone Walking
To establish negligence after a pedestrian accident, the plaintiff must clearly show that the defendant was at fault. To do this, the following must be shown:
- The driver of the vehicle owed a legal duty to the injured pedestrian, considering the circumstances;
- The driver of the vehicle failed to properly fulfill the legal duty through either action or inaction;
- The driver of the vehicle caused the accident which involved the pedestrian; and
- The accident resulted in harm or injury to the plaintiff.
An experienced attorney in the area could help an injured pedestrian gather and preserve evidence of defendant liability.
Common Injuries Sustained in a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians who are hit by a vehicle often suffer severe injury or even death. Injuries to the abdomen, head, extremities, and chest are common. Of course, the speed of the driver, the type of vehicle, and the pedestrian’s health and age will all determine how severe the injuries to the pedestrian will be. The most common injuries sustained by pedestrians who are struck by vehicles include:
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Internal injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Pelvic injuries;
- Bone fractures; and
- Wrongful death.
The injuries that someone experiences in a pedestrian accident are similar to the injuries a bicyclist might experience if they are hit by a vehicle. They could suffer severe disabilities, requiring a lifetime of rehabilitative therapies, surgical procedures, pain management, and assistance from others. It is highly important for people traveling by foot who are struck by a negligent driver to seek legal assistance from a well-practiced lawyer in Nashville.
Statutes of Limitations in Nashville
Every state has its own statute of limitations regarding how long you have to file a personal injury claim. If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations, you may be barred from ever filing the claim. In the state of Tennessee, the statute of limitations is one year from the date the accident occurred. The Tennessee statute of limitations is on the short end, compared to other states; because of this, it is essential that you speak to an experienced local pedestrian accident attorney who can pursue compensation on your behalf within the statutes of limitations.
What You Should Know if You are the Victim of a Pedestrian Crash
As a pedestrian who has been hit by a vehicle, your primary legal claim is likely to be against the driver of the car. Following your accident, the first thing you should do is to get medical attention for your injuries. Either go to the nearest emergency room or see your primary care physician to determine the severity of your injuries. It is extremely important that you not wait to seek medical attention. Insurance adjusters—as well as judges and juries—tend to assume that if you did not seek immediate medical attention, you were not hurt badly. It is also a fact that when you are involved in an accident, you may experience a rush of adrenaline, which can mask very serious injuries. If you wait to seek medical attention, you may significantly weaken your claim.
Seek Help from a Nashville Pedestrian Accident Attorney
After being hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, you may find yourself severely injured, unable to work, and unable to pay your medical expenses and regular monthly expenses. Our team could help. Nashville pedestrian accident lawyers understand the position you find yourself in and will take the necessary time to understand exactly what happened, and how your life has been impacted by your injuries.
I am proud to be the personal injury attorney located in Nashville who can find solutions for cases other attorneys might deem not worth their time or effort. I always go the extra mile for my clients to ensure you get the full justice you deserve. Contact The Law Offices of Kyle Peiter today for the help you need.