Pedestrian Accident Injury: Spinal Cord Injury
Other than death, spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious results that cane come from pedestrian accidents. Spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries are often linked, one contributing adversely to the effects of the other. It is estimated that in cases where the victim does not die at the scene of the injury, over 12,000 spinal cord injuries are sustained in the US each year.
The number one cause of spinal cord injuries each year is motor vehicle crashes. Nearly 40% of all spinal injuries result from these types of accidents, many involving pedestrians. Here are a few staggering facts regarding the prevalence of spinal injuries in America:
- A vast majority of spinal cord wounds occur in males, over 80%.
- The average age of a spinal cord injury sufferer is 41.1 years old.
- The average lifetime cost of managing a severe spinal cord injury was over $69,000 in 2012.
- 270,000 people in the United States are currently living with a spinal cord injury.
- In 2011 the average overnight hospital stay after a spinal cord injury was 11 days.
Pedestrians are at higher risk of spinal cord injury than motor vehicle drivers, specifically because they're under-protected when struck. Over half of all pedestrians hit by a motor vehicle are hit from behind meaning they take the brunt of the vehicle's force on their back, legs, and spine.
There are a number of new technologies helping spinal cord injury patients live long, full lives, but many of these treatments are still experimental or are prohibitively expensive. Regardless of whether a pedestrian is left with a limp, a prosthetic, or even paralyzed, most face months and even years of painful physical therapy and rehabilitation. Over 6% of all spinal cord injury patients live out their lives in nursing home care.
What to do if you're in an accident and suspect a spinal injury:
If you are a pedestrian or driver involved in an accident, call emergency personnel immediately. Stabilize the victim's neck and back but never attempt to move the victim from the position they landed in - you may risk fracturing the spine and complete paralysis. Be sure the victim can breathe clearly and do what you can to keep them still while waiting on EMTs.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in a pedestrian accident:
After your medical condition has been stabilized but before speaking to an insurance representative, you or a family member should consult with an attorney. An experienced, licensed spinal cord injury firm like The Law Firm of BD&J can help you determine your next moves and keep you from making statements that may impact your case. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most expensive accident injuries, so insurance companies are quick to find ways to avoid paying full settlements or damages owed.
Your rights as the victim of a pedestrian accident:
California in particular is a comprehensive liability state which means each party involved in a pedestrian accident may be held partly responsible. Pedestrians and drivers are both expected to obey all traffic and road laws but the pedestrian always has the right of way in a traffic situation. As soon as you're able, write down everything you can about the accident and try and procure witness statements, too.
If possible, have someone take photos at the scene. Never admit blame at the scene of an accident and be sure to speak clearly and completely to law enforcement officials. Even if a police officer sited you, the pedestrian, at fault for the accident there may be steps you can take to recover damages from your insurance provider.
Spinal cord injuries are serious, traumatic to their victims and the families who must care for them. Sufferers face mountains of medical bills and lifelong mobility struggles - many find themselves unable to work after suffering such an injury.
If you've been involved in a pedestrian accident resulting in a spinal cord injury in California, let the BD&J Law Firm take a look at your case. One free consultation could mean the difference between walking away with a reduced settlement and facing insurmountable hurdles for the rest of your life. You have rights as a pedestrian and a competent attorney will work with you to make sure you're treated justly.