Austin’s population has exploded over the past decade, and this massive influx of new residents means more cars on the road than ever. If you’ve ever spent an hour in Austin traffic, you know this all too well.
Although there have been improvements over the last decade, including the addition of bike lanes and pedestrian walkways, Austin remains a dangerous place for walkers. Too many Austin pedestrians are involved in fatal accidents each year. Cars must yield to pedestrians, and when they don’t, the consequences can be deadly.
In 2018, which was the deadliest year for pedestrians in Austin, pedestrians made up a whopping 42% of all traffic-related accidents. Seventy-four pedestrians were killed that year. Unsurprisingly, many of them were killed in accidents on I-35 and the access roads adjacent to it.
Knowing some of the common causes of these types of accidents might help you avoid them. If you’ve suffered an injury due to a pedestrian traffic-related accident, our experienced Austin personal injury lawyers at Loewy Law Firm can help you pursue fair compensation from those responsible for it.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian injuries can be brutal. They occur for a variety of reasons, and each incident is unique, but these are some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Austin:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is the most common cause of crashes in the United States. When a driver focuses on a task other than driving, they endanger other drivers and especially pedestrians. Activities that contribute to distracted driving include:
- Talking on the phone
- Talking to other passengers
- Eating and drinking
- Using a GPS while driving
- Adjusting the radio
- Holding a pet
- Speeding. Speeding is always illegal, but it’s also dangerous, especially when driving in areas with heavy foot traffic like school zones. A speeding driver has less time to react if another vehicle suddenly changes lanes or traffic comes to a stop. Speeding is a type of reckless driving. Driving recklessly puts pedestrians and cyclists in great danger.
- Failure to stop or yield right-of-way. Speeding through yellow lights, rolling through stop signs, and ignoring right-of-way laws can lead to pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Impatient drivers sometimes attempt to turn through an intersection before pedestrians fully traverse a crosswalk, which can cause devastating collisions.
- Backing-up accidents. Drivers backing out of a parking space or driveway may not notice pedestrians because they are focused on other vehicles and potential obstacles in the street. Pedestrians walking on sidewalks often pass directly behind vehicles, sometimes in the driver’s blind spot. If the driver fails to pay sufficient attention, they can cause serious injuries.
- Hazardous weather conditions. Rain, sleet, snow, and fog are all hazardous weather conditions that can lead to pedestrian accidents. Drivers may not see pedestrians in dense fog or heavy rain. Sometimes, Austinites drive recklessly in inclement weather by speeding on ice, for example, which can lead to terrible accidents.
- Drunk driving. An impaired driver’s ability to focus on the task of driving is lower and their reaction time slower. If a drunk driver approaches a hazard or traffic stops suddenly, the driver might not have time to stop before a collision occurs. They may drive recklessly around pedestrians, which can lead to accidents. Driving while intoxicated is a crime, and punishment can be severe.
Injuries Suffered in Pedestrian Accidents
While every collision is different, it’s almost always the case that pedestrian accidents are more dangerous for walkers than for drivers. Unlike drivers, who have safety apparatuses such as seat belts, airbags, and the vehicle itself protecting them in the event of a collision, vehicles impact pedestrians themselves.
Because pedestrians bear the brunt of these crashes, their injuries can be life-altering and even fatal. Here are some of the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians:
- Traumatic brain injury. Injuries to the brain can be life-altering. Traumatic brain injuries are usually caused by a sudden, violent blow to the head. Brain injuries can require extensive surgery and care. The effects of a brain injury aren’t limited to physical injuries such as bruising, skull fractures, and concussions. The brain is the body’s supercomputer, so emotion, memory, personality, and reasoning can also be affected. Pedestrians who sustain traumatic brain injuries in traffic-related accidents often require long-term rehabilitation.
- Spinal damage. While the brain is the body’s supercomputer, the spine is the body’s main information conduit, delivering messages from the brain to different areas of the human body. Spinal damage can lead to permanent injuries. If the spine is transected, it can lead to paralysis below the site of the injury.
- Broken/fractured bones. Because pedestrians are often struck by vehicles directly, broken and fractured bones are extremely common injuries. These types of injuries can take months to heal and may require extensive and costly surgeries followed by physical therapy throughout the recovery process.
- Burns. Pedestrians who sustain burns and scrapes might suffer permanent disfigurement as a result of their injuries. Specific compensation may be available to these victims for the permanent changes to their appearance.
- Paralysis. Paralysis occurs when the spine is severed because of an injury. If a pedestrian sustains a spinal injury of this nature, it can result in paralysis below the site of the injury. Paralysis is a life-altering and often permanent disability that changes a person’s life in every way.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accidents
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident and someone else caused it, you deserve to be compensated for the harm you’ve suffered. You could be eligible to recover payment for:
Current and future medical bills
Treatment, therapy, and rehabilitation costs
Medical devices and prescription medications
Lost wages and loss of future earnings
Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
How Loewy Law Firm Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Austin, working with an attorney is your best bet to get the compensation that you need and deserve. The experienced Austin injury attorneys at Loewy Law Firm can investigate the incident, speak to any witnesses, review documents such as police reports and medical records, identify all of the at-fault parties, and build a strong legal argument for compensation. Contact us today to speak with one of our Austin pedestrian injury attorneys in a free, no-obligation consultation.