Pedestrian accidents in New York City are getting out of hand. According to NYC Open Data, over 11,000 pedestrians were injured in 2018 due to traffic accidents and an additional 114 pedestrians were killed. Despite NYC seeing the lowest number of traffic fatalities last year since records began in 1910, seven more pedestrians died in 2018 than in the previous year and accidents continue to be on the rise.
When a pedestrian goes head-to-head with a vehicle on a busy New York City street, the results are catastrophic. Pedestrian accident injuries can lead to permanent disabilities, long-term health conditions, and pricey medical bills, all which place additional stress on an individual and their family.
It’s critical for New Yorkers to understand the dangers of being a pedestrian and the severe injuries they could face if they are not staying alert on the road. These are the top five pedestrian accident injuries all New Yorkers should know about and how to avoid accidents to reduce their risk of harm.
A brain injury is one of the most life-changing and devastating injuries a pedestrian can face. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, victims of pedestrian accidents can suffer multiple different types of injuries to the brain, including:
- Diffuse axonal (tearing of brain structure);
- Anoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain);
- Hypoxia (minimal amount of oxygen to the brain); and
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (mild, moderate, or severe).
Depending on the location of the brain injury and the force of impact to the head, a pedestrian can sustain damage to one or more parts of the brain. These injuries can affect an individual’s cognitive, emotional, psychological, physical, and social abilities, often requiring a lifetime of care and recovery to cope with.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Pedestrians who are struck by vehicles may sustain significant injuries to the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can result in loss of physical functioning, mobility, or even feeling in the upper and/or lower extremities. According to the Shepherd Center, there are two types of spinal cord injuries:
- Complete: These types of spinal cord injuries result in permanent damage to the area of the spine where the injury occurred. Examples of permeant injuries include paraplegia or tetraplegia.
- Incomplete: These types of injuries cause partial damage to the spine and may affect an individual’s ability to move or feel depending on the injury. These effects can be long-term or temporary.
Spinal cord injuries often require extensive and long-term rehabilitation. Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers, or canes may also be necessary for an individual to move around after a spinal injury. These devices are expensive and place additional financial hardships on individuals and families on top of the medical bills for the injury.
Even vehicles traveling at moderately slow speeds can cause life-threatening internal damage to pedestrians in an accident. The most common internal injury according to WebMD is internal bleeding. The most serious sources of internal bleeding include:
- Brain bleeds;
- Bleeding in the lungs;
- Bleeding around the heart;
- Damage to the abdominal organs such as the liver, or spleen; and
- Tears in blood vessels near the center of the body.
Internal bleeding put organs and tissues at significant risk. Pedestrians with internal injuries often have to undergo emergency surgery minutes after arriving at the hospital and require a long, slow recovery to ensure proper healing.
Broken bones and fractures occur often in pedestrian accidents and can be incredibly painful. The extensive force placed on a person’s bones in the case of a collision can cause bones to shift, chip, break, split, or even shatter depending on how fast the far is going. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the most common areas affected by bone fractures are the lower extremities (hip, thigh, leg, ankle, knee) and the upper extremities (shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hand). Depending on the extent of the broken bone or fracture, pedestrians can require extensive surgeries to correct the damage and experience chronic pain if nerve damage accompanies the injury.
When most individuals stand in front of a car, their pelvis is perfectly aligned with the hood. This puts pedestrians at serious risk for pelvic injuries which can have several negative health consequences:
- Fractures: According to OrthoInfo, there are two types of pelvic fractures pedestrians can experience in an accident- stable and unstable. Stable fractures involve only one break in the pelvic ring and are generally easier to recover from. Unstable fractures involve two or more breaks and can cause alignment issues. Pelvic fractures can also be “open”, where the broken bones penetrate the skin and increase the risk of dangerous infections for the victim.
- Organ Damage: The pelvic cavity contains reproductive organs, the bladder, pelvic colon, and various major arteries, and veins. Severe trauma in these areas could pose a risk of internal bleeding, difficulty going to the bathroom, and lead to devastating reproductive damage, particularly for women.
- Chronic Pain: Serious pelvic injuries can make it difficult for pedestrians to walk and move around. Because the muscles in the pelvic area are so often used, nerve damage could cause chronic pain requiring years of recovery and treatment to correct.
Unfortunately, all of these injuries can lead to the wrongful death of a pedestrian, either immediately after an accident or from injury complications down the line. Motorists are responsible for using caution on the road and staying alert to pedestrians, but this doesn’t always happen. It is up to pedestrians to use safety measures every time they share the streets to reduce their risks of being injured.
How To Reduce Your Risk of Injuries
The AAA offers several safety tips and defensive walking suggestions pedestrians can use to avoid becoming a victim in an accident. Pedestrians should take these steps every time they are walking in the city, especially during rush hour and at night when most accidents occur:
- Stay visible by wearing reflective clothing at night and bright colors during the day.
- Walk in well-lit areas so drivers see you approaching before you cross.
- Make eye contact with the driver to assess if they are going to stop.
- Avoid distractions such as smartphones, headphones, and other electronic devices that take your attention away from the road.
- Follow the traffic rules to avoid catching a driver off guard.
- Only cross at marked crosswalks, never in the middle of a street.
- Never cross a highway or try to beat the cars.
- Stay on the sidewalks, grass, and side streets whenever possible.
- Walk sober to decrease impairments that could put you in harm’s way when crossing the street.
New York City Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
New York City pedestrians have the right to safe streets. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of someone else, our winning team is here for support.
The attorneys of Siler & Ingber are committed to working with our clients to help them get the compensation they deserve. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343, or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.