What Happens When a Vehicle Hits a Pedestrian?
Denver Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

What Happens When a Vehicle Hits a Pedestrian?

Being a pedestrian comes with risks, we'll go over what happens when a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle and some pedestrian safety tips.

No matter where we live, all of us have been or will be a pedestrian at some point. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, there were 6,283 pedestrian fatalities from auto accidents. That means pedestrian deaths account for 17% of all traffic-related casualties. 2018’s pedestrian fatalities are the highest it’s been since 1990. In 2019, 6,205 pedestrians were killed, and an additional 76,000 were injured. For 2019, that rate would equate to a pedestrian dying in a car accident every 85 minutes. That is a disturbing and tragic rate for pedestrian fatalities to occur.

We’ll go over what happens when a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle and some pedestrian safety tips.

What Happens When a Car Hits a Pedestrian?

Witnessing, or worse, being a victim of a pedestrian accident can be a horrifying sight. There are usually three phases of a vehicle and pedestrian accident. First, the initial impact, then the trajectory, and lastly, the ground contact. The distance the pedestrian ends up from where they were when they got hit is known as the “throw distance.” The faster the vehicle is traveling, the larger the throw distance. Here’s what would happen if a pedestrian were standing while a car hit them:

  1. The car bumper’s initial impact will strike the person’s leg or even knee. Then, the thigh might make contact with the edge of the hood. Finally, the pedestrian’s body would contour the car’s front and get stuck or thrown.
  2. Next, the trajectory – the pedestrian’s lower body is forced forward from the impact of the car. The upper body usually falls onto the car. The person’s head would then hit the hood or the windshield of the vehicle. Then the pedestrian would be launched from the vehicle.
  3. Ground contact – the pedestrian will fall to the ground after being struck by the vehicle. The point of contact (what part of the person hits the ground) will depend on the height of the pedestrian and the size of the car. In the most terrifying and tragic instances, the pedestrian could be knocked down and then run over by the vehicle. This is seen more commonly with buses or larger-sized vehicles.

Types of Injuries Sustained in a Pedestrian Accident

The most common way for a car to hit a pedestrian is on their side, usually as they are crossing the road. While most happen at 25 mph, there are rare occasions when it happens at faster speeds. Some of the most commonly sustained injuries from being hit by a car include:

Head injuries – Head injuries are the leading cause of pedestrian fatalities. Head injuries can include

  • Skull fractures
  • Concussions
  • Hemorrhages
  • Brain swelling
  • Brain bleeding
  • Other brain damage

Head injuries occur when the pedestrian’s head hits the car’s hood, the windshield, or the ground. The results can be life-changing or even life-threatening.

  • Lower body injuries
  • Hip fractures
  • Pelvis fractures
  • Abrasions
  • Bruises, cuts, scrapes
  • Torn knee ligaments
  • Bone fractures

Above are all common lower-body injuries after being hit by a car. In addition, the pedestrian’s body could sustain damage from the impact of the vehicle or the ground.

  • Midsection and torso injuries are more commonly seen with larger vehicles. Torso injuries can include:
  • Fractured or broken rib cage
  • Ruptured organs (liver, lungs, etc.) from the impact. Ruptured organs are deadly if they do not receive emergency medical care.

The worst pedestrian injuries result from direct impact with the car rather than from falling. A few other factors that can impact the nature and severity of the injuries include:

  • Location of the pedestrian relative to the vehicle at the time of the accident
  • The speed at which the car was driving
  • Type, size, and shape of the car
  • The type of bumper, hood, and windshield
  • Size and height of the pedestrian
  • Age and any pre-existing injuries or conditions might affect the victim’s injuries as well

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Unfortunately, there’s no full-proof strategy to avoid an injury if a car hits you, although we wish there were. Unless a person is aware in advance that they are about to be hit, it’s impossible to prepare for it. Unfortunately, people are often caught off guard and only see the vehicle for a fraction of a second before it strikes them. If, however, you can see the car coming and act accordingly, here are a few tips that could help you avoid or lessen the injury during a crash. Try to remember and implore the following:

  • Always protect your head first. A broken arm is more manageable to heal than a head injury. Head injuries can have life-altering consequences like brain damage or even death. If you see that you’re about to be hit by a car, use your arms to cover your head. Position yourself so that the vehicle does not come close to your head.
  • Get on the hood of the car. While this might sound crazy, it’s far less dangerous than ending up under the tires. If you get hit by a car, try as hard as you can to roll on top or jump on it. Do not try this if you are about to hit a truck.
  • Aim for the glass. Aim for the windshield if you can think fast enough to roll or jump onto the car. Modern cars’ windshields are made of shatter-proof glass. Hitting the windshield will absorb the impact and lessen the injury potential.

Even with these techniques, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to walk away unscathed after being hit by a moving vehicle.

If you were the victim of such a traumatic event, contact a skilled Denver pedestrian accident attorney now. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you probably also are in pain and have medical bills piling up. Therefore, it would be best if you had an excellent attorney to represent you to get the fair compensation you’re owed.

Are Pedestrians Ever at Fault?

Like most other personal injury claims, the negligence law will determine fault. For example, in accidents between a vehicle and pedestrian, if the pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care in some way, they could be the one liable.

Contact a Denver Pedestrian Accident Attorney for a Consultation

While you could try to file a claim against the driver’s insurance alone, most people who go about it that way end up frustrated and disappointed. You will save yourself time and energy by doing it the right way from the beginning. Contact an experienced Denver pedestrian accident attorney.

It would be best if you did not have to fight the battle alone after such a distressing accident. Our legal team will fight for your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable. We will also work aggressively to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Call today for a free consultation.

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