Anyone who walks in or near traffic must understand that they run a risk, no matter how small, of being struck by a passenger car, clipped by city bus, or hit by a commercial delivery truck. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 4,000 pedestrians were killed across the county in 2009 in traffic incidents involving car-, truck- and motorcycle-related collisions. And while several thousand persons on foot are typically killed each year, almost 20 times that number are injured, either severely or with only minor bodily injuries.
From the perspective of a Maryland personal injury law firm like ours, our experience tells us that lion’s share of pedestrian accidents result from driver distraction. This can be caused by a number of activities, including talking or texting on a cellphone or smartphone, changing the radio station or adjusting a navigation system; even eating or putting on makeup have been known to be direct causes of pedestrian traffic collisions.
Because most everyone assumes the role of pedestrian at least once a week, if not once a day, it’s important to remind anyone who walks near traffic to be especially careful when crossing at intersections. Dangerous intersections, something that is quite common here in Baltimore as well as in other busy metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., can include the following attributes that make them more dangerous for pedestrians than other roadway crossings:
— Improperly design, which presents a danger to both cars and pedestrians
— Lack of necessary traffic signals/signs
— Poorly timed traffic lights
— No vehicle merging lane
It doesn’t take an advanced degree in physics to understand the rudimentary points surrounding pedestrian-car accidents or the causes of these potentially life-altering encounters, not to mention sometimes heartbreaking results that such an accident can have on an individual who has been hit. With the size and weight disparity between car and human being, we all know that a person will be out-matched every time by the motor vehicle regardless of what kind of car or truck it is.
The injuries sustained by individuals who are hit by a passenger car, city bus or commercial vehicle can range from simple bumps and bruises to serious closed-head trauma. Just being knocked down, especially if the victim is an elderly individual with less-than-optimal balance to begin with, can result in the victim striking his or head on the hard pavement or the vehicle itself. Traumatic brain injury is one of the more dangerous conditions that can result from a pedestrian injury, and the long-term prognosis for a person with such closed-head injuries can be very poor.
A news report a while back described a Maryland woman who was left in critical condition after being struck by a car as she and a friend were crossing a Baltimore City street. The accident happened late at night as the two people were on their way across Freemont Ave., in the vicinity of the 1100 block. According to police, the 56-year-old Maryland woman and 66-year-old man were both hit by the vehicle a little bit before 1am in the morning. They were each thrown, based on police statements, about 70 feet from the point of impact, after which the silver four-door sedan simply drove away. Emergency responders transported both of the victims to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Although the man came away with only minor cuts, his friend was not as lucky. According to news articles, she sustained massive head trauma and a fractured pelvis, as well as leg fracture. At the time of the news report, police had not yet located the hit-and-run driver, whose car was last seen in or around Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Ave. corridor.
Baltimore Police Seek Driver In Hit-&-Run That Critically Injured 56-Year-Old Woman, CBSLocal.com, September 19, 2012