Pedestrian Accidents in STL
The St. Louis pedestrian accident lawyers of Dixon Law provide the greatest level of care and legal guidance for St. Louis and Missouri residents. When you or someone you love has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, and you’ve suffered severe injuries and have lost work and wages because of those injuries, you need a pedestrian accident lawyer to protect your interests. The Pedestrian accident lawyers at Dixon Law can guide you through your pedestrian accident claim and see to it that you and your family are provided for during this trying time. Whether you need financial assistance because of loss of work, medical bills, or to pay for the costs of recovery associated with any injuries sustained because of the accident, Christopher R. Dixon and the Dixon Injury Firm can and will provide you with expert pedestrian accident legal guidance.
When you or someone you love has been in pedestrian accident and needs a pedestrian accident attorney, you need the best in the industry. Christopher R. Dixon and the St. Louis personal injury accident attorneys of Dixon Law strive to provide the best results possible. Christopher R. Dixon is recognized as a Top 100 Trial lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and a Life-Time Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and when you choose Chris for your legal guidance and counseling for a pedestrian accident case you will be taken care of.
Accidents involving pedestrians are much more common than most people realize. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), every year close to 80,000 pedestrians are injured as a result of being struck by a car or truck. Approximately 5,000 of these injuries are fatal. Pedestrians encompass everyone from children walking to school, to members of the workforce walking to lunch. In essence, we are all pedestrians.
Due to the staggering number of pedestrian accidents and deaths, the NHTSA and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are launching a new set of tools aimed a reducing this epidemic. These tools include their everyone is a pedestrian website with safety tips and resources for local leaders, city planners, parents and all other interested parties, as well as grants to cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths.
The unprotected nature of pedestrian accidents results in horrific injuries and deaths. Today’s growing distracted drivers are fueling these unnecessary losses. Those injured are entitled to reimbursement for all of their harms and losses.
Factors Commonly Contributing to Pedestrian Fatalities and Injuries in St. Louis
According to the CDC, nearly 6,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents each year. Emergency rooms treat another 100,000 pedestrians for serious traffic injuries annually, and pedestrians are 50 percent more likely to suffer from fatal injuries than vehicle occupants. Studies indicate that the majority of serious pedestrian injuries occur in urban areas, such as St. Louis, and at night.
One in every five fatal pedestrian accidents involves drunk driving.
Intoxication results in delayed physical reaction times, blurry vision, and reduced critical thinking skills—meaning many drunk drivers cannot stop in time for pedestrians crossing roadways.
In addition to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, these factors frequently contribute to St. Louis and Metro East pedestrian accidents:
- Poor lighting
- Vehicle speed
- Lack of designated crosswalks
- Population density
- Distracted driving
Seniors and children account for a disproportionate number of pedestrian injuries and deaths, especially when drivers cannot see young children crossing the street. The seriousness of pedestrian injuries is generally proportional to vehicle speed and impact angle. Studies indicate that the risk of serious pedestrian injuries and deaths increases by two to three percent for every additional one mile per hour of vehicle speed.
Further, pedestrians have less than a five percent chance of suffering from fatal injuries when struck by vehicles traveling under 25 miles per hour. The rate of pedestrian accident fatalities increases to 45 percent for vehicles traveling at 35 miles per hour and over 90 percent for vehicles traveling at 60 miles per hour. For this reason, St. Louis sets city speed limits at 25 miles per hour.
Vehicle & Traffic Violations Leading to Pedestrian Accidents
Most serious pedestrian injury cases involve negligent drivers, often in combination with unsafe roadway designs. Proving that Illinois or Missouri traffic violations caused the accident might entitle injured pedestrians to accelerated liability determinations. It’s essential to quickly contact experienced pedestrian accident lawyers following striking accidents, as this may preserve essential evidence.
Attorneys could immediately ask local businesses to copy security footage capturing the accident, send investigators to photograph the scene, and demand insurers provide experts with access to damaged vehicles. Acting quickly may help preserve DNA evidence of the pedestrian impact, especially when drivers refuse to provide testimony. In addition to speeding and drunk driving, the following traffic violations often contribute to pedestrian injuries.
Drivers must generally—although not always—yield the right of way to pedestrians. This includes yielding to walkers and joggers in crosswalks and intersections. Surprisingly, most serious pedestrian accidents do not occur when cities establish designated crosswalks with functional traffic control devices. Instead, they often happen when drivers are confused about the pedestrian right of way in business districts and residential areas. They also frequently occur when rushed drivers refuse to wait for pedestrians to cross through parking lots.
Failure to See
Traffic laws require St. Louis drivers to keep a safe lookout for pedestrians. Unfortunately, many fatal pedestrian injuries occur when one vehicle blocks the other driver’s view of the walker. These accidents may happen when pedestrians suddenly exit bus stops or cross through parked vehicles; however, the most frequently occur when drivers swerve around vehicles stopped for pedestrians.
In such cases, the front vehicle blocks the rear driver’s view of the crossing pedestrian, and the frustrated rear driver attempts to pass the stopped vehicle, directly striking the crossing walker. Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/11-10029(d)) specifically prohibits drivers from passing other vehicles stopped at crosswalks. Failure to see pedestrians also accounts for the increased incidents of pedestrian impacts at night, especially in areas with broken streetlights.
Driver distraction is among the leading causes of serious motor vehicle crashes. City drivers, especially tourists, are frequently searching for parking spots and destinations while driving. They often consult their phones or text while in traffic, and this behavior leads to serious pedestrian injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) reports show texting/emailing while driving to be especially dangerous because it involves visual, physical, and cognitive distractions. Drivers must typically look at their phones when reading incoming texts, think about what they’re writing, and take their hands off the wheel to send the message. It only takes a moment of distraction to strike pedestrians in Downtown St. Louis or Lafayette Square.
Recovering from Disabling Injuries Following Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Crashes in St. Louis
Numerous factors—including the victim’s overall health and impact angle—contribute to the type of injuries sustained during pedestrian accidents. However, impact force remains the primary factor dictating the overall severity of the claimant’s injuries.
The impacting vehicle’s speed and weight, including the second impact surface (pavement or grass), generally determines whether pedestrians suffer from one of the following life-altering injuries:
- Comminuted or Compound Leg & Arm Fractures – These severe fractures often occur when the vehicle smashes into or runs over a claimant’s leg or arm. They involve broken bones that protrude through the skin or fractures with multiple breaks. These injuries may happen when the car hits the claimant’s humerus with substantial force or when the impact force knocks the claimant over, but oncoming vehicles cannot stop. Sometimes drivers panic after striking pedestrians and accelerate rather than break. Severely broken bones often require multiple surgeries and could result in amputations.
- Broken and Dislocated Hips – Crosswalk collisions often result in waist-high impacts that immediately break or dislocate the claimant’s hip. However, the impact force may also push pedestrians onto hard pavement resulting in hip fractures. These fractures often require surgery, and many older Americans struggle to recover from hip injuries.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) – Unlike cyclists, pedestrians do not wear helmets to mitigate sudden head trauma. Many pedestrian impacts result in concussions or severe traumatic brain injuries if the force propels the claimant backward into the pavement. This may result in skull fractures and brain bleeding necessitating immediate medical intervention. Unfortunately, young children may suffer from primary and secondary head trauma due to their heights.
- Paralysis – Spinal cord damage often results in paralysis. High-speed impacts are more likely to sever the spinal cord at the area of impact or result in broken necks when pedestrians hit the pavement. Paralysis often results in millions of dollars in lifetime medical costs and lost wages. Many claimants with severe brain injuries also suffer from neck and spine damage.
- Herniated Discs – Neck and back pain are the world’s leading cause of workplace disabilities. Most pedestrian impacts dislodge the delicate spinal discs between the vertebrae, causing extreme pain and nerve damage. Claimants may require multiple surgeries and months of physical therapy to treat disc herniations, and pain may persist.
- Facial and Dental Injuries – Road rash, broken teeth, and facial fractures may accompany pedestrian injuries when the crash force propels claimants onto the pavement. These friction burns and facial fractures may result in disfigurement and may require expensive and often uncovered cosmetic procedures.
- Chest-Crushing Trauma – Parking accidents are another common type of pedestrian collision. They often occur when walkers are moving between vehicles and drivers back into the claimant, crushing him between two vehicles. These accidents may result in fractured ribs, lung damage, and even heart attacks.
Even after being rushed to St. Louis University Hospital, many of these catastrophic injuries result in fatalities. Families may pursue personal injury claims on behalf of fatally injured loved ones by working with experienced wrongful death litigators. Even injuries that don’t result in fatalities often cause life-altering disabilities.
Many claimants struggle to walk, much less work, following disabling pedestrian accidents. The dedicated St. Louis injury lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm might help pedestrians struck by negligent drivers recover essential financial damages following the trauma.
Options for Recovering Lost Wages and Medical Expenses After Metro East Pedestrian Accidents
Injured pedestrians often struggle with immediate medical expenses and lost wages following traffic accidents. Claimants with personal auto insurance policies may use their medical payment coverage if any, as pedestrian impacts qualify as motor vehicle accidents. However, many injured pedestrians don’t maintain personal vehicles. St. Louis claimants have a few options for recovering damages following pedestrian accidents.
Filing Claims with Liable Auto Insurers
Attorneys generally recommend filing immediate insurance claims with the liable driver’s auto insurance policy. Claimants may file multiple claims if more than one driver negligently caused their injuries. Most cases settle with liable insurers following the initial insurance investigation.
However, insurance companies often train adjusters to shift blame onto innocent pedestrians. They may hide essential evidence and cite inapplicable laws to deny victims their rightful benefits. Our experienced pedestrian injury settlement lawyers might file and negotiate accident payouts on your behalf without any upfront cost.
Demanding Compensation from Liable Corporations
Many accidents, especially late-night collisions, involve rideshare (Uber and Lyft) and taxi drivers. They may also involve working sales and delivery persons. When negligent drivers cause accidents while working, their employers generally share liability for the accident.
Injured claimants may demand all available damages directly from the liable employer or file claims with an umbrella insurance policy. This allows pedestrians suffering from disabling injuries to seek compensation beyond the value of small auto insurance policies.
Suing Negligent Parties for Personal Injuries
If the negligent driver didn’t carry insurance or adjusters refuse to offer fair settlements, pedestrian injury lawyers recommend filing personal injury litigation. Experienced attorneys may file claims against all potentially negligent parties, including drivers, vehicle owners, and their employers. Most pedestrian accident litigation falls under the personal injury umbrella.
As such, St. Louis injury litigators typically file general negligence, negligence per se (traffic violation liability), or recklessness claims. Serious pedestrian accidents involving drunk drivers, drag racing, or road rage incidents may support punitive damage awards.
Filing Public Tort Claims
Because poor lighting and negligently designed crosswalks may contribute to catastrophic pedestrian accidents, claimants might demand damages from liable public entities. Pursuing these cases requires strict adherence to either the Missouri or Illinois tort claims acts. Specific statutes limit public liability in most cases, but it is possible to obtain damages in some circumstances. Contact our experienced traffic accident litigations immediately if the accident involved potential municipal liability.
Using Victim’s Compensation Funds
Missouri maintains a Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund for victims of serious pedestrian accidents when the negligent party cannot provide adequate reimbursement. This often occurs if the driver did not carry insurance, fled the scene, or filed for bankruptcy during personal injury proceedings. The state will investigate the facts of the case and, if viable, award damages as appropriate.
Damages Available in Traffic Accident Cases
The experienced pedestrian traffic accident lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm might help prospective clients understand their financial recovery options and maximize their damages.
Wrongfully injured or killed pedestrians might demand compensation for the following:
- Hospital, ambulance, and ER expenses
- Doctor and nursing costs
- Caretaker costs
- Medical transportation fees
- Rehabilitation and therapy bills
- Lost income
- Lost employment benefits
- Increased insurance premiums
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost career advancement opportunities
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Frustration and inconvenience
- Loss of consortium (spousal damages)
Financial demands may include both past and future losses, which medical and economic experts might calculate based on your prognosis. Our dedicated St. Louis, MO-IL personal injury attorneys, might help injured claimants and their families recover these needed damages without any upfront or out-of-pocket costs. With our contingency fee agreements, we only get paid if we recover needed damages for our clients.
Premises Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
Not all pedestrian accidents involve motor vehicles. Property owners have a duty to neighbors, postal works, guests and others lawfully on their property, to keep their property free from defects and hazards which are likely to cause injury. The following are common types of non-auto pedestrian accidents which are responsible for thousands of injuries each year:
- Poorly maintained sidewalks
- Uneven surfaces
- Broken escalators
- Security defects
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Wet floor accidents
- Hidden snares and traps
- Dog bites
- Construction sites that are not properly roped off
Common Missouri Crosswalk Accident Injury Claims
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the problem is so common that in 2017, every 88 minutes, approximately one pedestrian was killed in the U.S. due to a driver or pedestrian’s negligence. Most pedestrian accidents involve speeding or distracted driving which can result in critical injuries or even death for a pedestrian. Typically, the most common types of injuries involved in a crosswalk accident include:
- Head trauma such as concussions, brain damage, hemorrhaging
- Neck or spinal injuries that can cause paralyzation, decreased mobilization, and a decline in life satisfaction
- Amputations and fractured or broken bones
- Severe mental and emotional distress, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD
- Death. In 2006 roughly 600 pedestrians were killed while using crosswalks in the U.S.
The most common demographic for crosswalk accidents in St. Louis is adults over the age of 65, who might have decreased mobility, and children under the age of 15 who are likely to be distracted while crossing the street, or less likely to use a crosswalk at all. The best way to prevent a crosswalk accident in the first place is by knowing the most common causes of crosswalk accidents and how they can be prevented.
Proving Fault in St. Louis Pedestrian Accident Claims
If you have suffered injuries because of a pedestrian’s negligence, it’s essential to gather evidence of the pedestrian’s carelessness (witness accounts, footage from traffic cameras, police report), seek medical attention (obtain a copy of your medical report that details your injuries from the accident), and hire a Missouri Pedestrian Crash Lawyer to represent your case. After the accident, the other party’s insurance company might try to deny your claim, and attempt to pin the blame on you for the accident by citing acts of negligence, but an experienced lawyer can protect you from the other party, prove the other party’s negligence, and demand compensation for your harm and losses.
Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Sadly, even when pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence or recklessness, insurance companies will try to thwart victims’ efforts to receive reimbursement for their harms and losses. Reducing or refusing to pay claims is how insurance companies turn a profit; therefore, if they can, they will try to prove that the victim was at fault for the accident. In order to deny your claim, they may accuse you of any of the following:
- Crossing the street outside of marked cross walks
- Walking into traffic and causing a disruption in the flow
- Darting into traffic
- Ignoring the “walk” signal at an intersection
St. Louis accident lawyer Chris Dixon is familiar with these tactics and has successfully proven the innocence of his clients – the victims – in disputes with large insurance companies.
If you have sustained an injury as a pedestrian, contact accident attorney Christopher Dixon for a FREE case consultation. Chris is recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association as a Top 100 Trial lawyer and a Life-Time Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132