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What You Should Know About Pedestrian Traumatic Brain Injuries

Approximately one million people in the United States are treated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, and an estimated 5.3 million people live with a TBI-related disability. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of TBI, particularly when cars strike pedestrians. Unlike broken bones or cuts, head damage may be permanent so speak with a brain injury attorney today to discuss the details of your case.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is most often caused by a blow or jolt to the head. An object that penetrates the brain tissue can also cause a TBI.

In a violent accident, such as a car striking a pedestrian, the primary brain injury typically happens at the moment of impact, when the brain is pushed against the skull, sometimes crashing back and forth. The injury may involve part of the brain or the entire brain, and can include bleeding, bruising, or tearing of nerve fibers.

The secondary brain injury occurs after the initial impact of the brain against the inside of the skull. The brain swells, which increases pressure within the head. The swelling may injure parts of the brain that were not injured by the primary trauma. This injury can happen gradually and can happen up to 5 days after the injury. In some cases, the secondary injury may become more serious than the primary injury.

The physical damage to the brain resulting from the primary or secondary injury may include:

  • A contusion (or bruising) of the brain.
  • A diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which happens when the brain bounces around inside the skull, damaging the nerve axons.
  • A Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, when bleeding occurs in the space surrounding the brain, which is normally filled with cerebrospinal fluid and which acts as a cushion.
  • A hematoma, when a blood vessel ruptures and blog clots within the brain.

Traumatic brain injuries are also typically classified by severity:

  • Mild: the injured person is awake, but may have a brief loss of consciousness, disorientation, or a headache.
  • Moderate: the injured person may lose consciousness for approximately 20 minutes to 6 hours and be lethargic when awake.
  • Severe: the person is unconscious for more than 6 hours.

Signs and Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be obvious, or they may be difficult to detect, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Here are some signs of a traumatic brain injury to watch for. Note that many of these symptoms may occur even if the brain injury is mild to moderate.

If the injury is primarily on the left side of the brain:

  • Problems with remembering words
  • Problems understanding words or speaking, slowed speech
  • Impaired control over movements on the right side of the body
  • Faulty logic
  • Anxiety and depression

If the injury is primarily on the right side of the brain:

  • Impaired control over movements on the left side of the body
  • Loss of “big picture” problem solving
  • Spatial and visual problems
  • Visual memory disturbance

Diffuse injuries, or injuries to both sides of the brain:

  • Fatigue
  • Problems thinking or concentrating
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Unable to handle changes in normal routines
  • Cognitive impairment, such as trouble making decisions, or learning new things

Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you are a pedestrian and have been struck by a motor vehicle, the force of the blow to your head may have resulted in bleeding in the brain, a skull fracture, or other dangerous types of brain damage leading to a TBI. Each case is unique; however, people who survive a brain injury often have long-term physical and mental disabilities, as well as changes in their emotions and personality, that require specialized, long-term treatment. The treatments for TBI after a pedestrian accident can include rest, medication, intensive care, surgery, and physical, cognitive and occupational therapy.

Causes of Pedestrian Motor Vehicle Accidents

Common causes of pedestrian accidents caused by motor vehicles include:

  • Drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or other substances
  • Distracted drivers
  • Driver’s failure to stop completely at traffic lights or stop signs
  • Driver’s failure to make sure the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians

What Should You Do If You Have Suffered a Pedestrian Traumatic Brain Injury?

If you have been injured as a pedestrian, you should seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not believe your injuries are serious, you may develop symptoms later. In some cases, a brain injury may not be immediately apparent. Without proper medical attention, diagnosis, and treatment, it is hard to predict future medical complications and costs.

Record as much information about the accident as possible, as soon as possible. And, soon after your accident, speak to an attorney with experience representing pedestrian accident victims with TBI. Survivors of traumatic brain injuries may be entitled to recover medical expenses, rehabilitation and therapy costs, pain and suffering damages, and more. A victim of a pedestrian traumatic brain injury may have a cause of action against the person or persons who are at fault in the accident. They typically need the assistance and resources of an attorney to gather the necessary evidence and determine their rights to compensation.

A pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every eight minutes. Studies show that children, the elderly, and those of lower socioeconomic status are especially vulnerable. Brain injuries are complicated, devastating and can change your life in many ways. A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury may not look any different but may be living with long-term or permanent disabilities such as difficulty processing information, communicating, or completing assignments. Some people are left with severe psychological problems, such as emotional distress, dependent behavior, depression, anxiety, anger or aggression. He or she may need temporary or permanent help to perform the tasks of everyday living.

If you or someone you love has been suffered a TBI as a pedestrian, seek out an experienced, compassionate attorney to assess your case and protect your rights, both now and in the future. For more information, call Abels & Annes, P.C. at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

Liability in Pedestrian Accidents

America’s streets are not particularly safe for pedestrians. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 5,300 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2015. Another 130,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents that same year. States like California and Illinois allow pedestrians who are injured in traffic accidents to file civil lawsuits to recover compensation from at-fault parties.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Personal injury laws vary from state to state. It is important to speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in the state where you were injured.

Negligence Following a Pedestrian Accident

In most states, personal injury claims are based on the argument that one person’s negligence caused another person to suffer an injury. Personal injury claims filed by injured pedestrians are no different. When a pedestrian is injured in an accident he or she will have to prove that another person was negligent. This other person could be a fellow pedestrian, a bicyclist, car driver, truck driver, or even the local government in charge of maintaining the sidewalks. In both Illinois and California, a person will be considered to be negligent when:

  • They have a duty or responsibility to act in a way that would prevent foreseeable harm;
  • They fail to fulfill this duty; and
  • Another person suffers an injury or harm as a result of this behavior.

For example, imagine that a pedestrian was crossing the street at a marked crosswalk. A driver speeds through the intersection and hits the pedestrian, causing them to suffer serious injuries. The driver did not see the pedestrian because he was texting on his phone while driving. The injured pedestrian could file a lawsuit based on the fact that the driver of the car was negligent. The pedestrian would prove negligence by arguing:

  • The driver assumed a duty of care when he began to operate a car on a public road;
  • The driver breached his duty of care by texting while driving;
  • The pedestrian was struck by the car and suffered injuries because the driver was distracted.

Comparative and Contributory Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents

While many state laws are generally based on the theory of negligence, those states may impose liability in different ways. California, for example, follows the theory of comparative fault. This means that you can recover compensation for an injury even if you contribute to the accident. A California victim can recover compensation so long as they are not 100 percent at-fault for an accident. The amount of compensation an accident victim can recover will, however, be reduced by the percentage of fault they are assigned.

For example, let’s say that the pedestrian in the above example was not crossing at a marked crosswalk. In California, pedestrians must generally cross a street at an intersection. The pedestrian is then determined to be 50% at fault for the accident. If the pedestrian suffered $100,000 in damages, he would only be able to recover $50,000 in a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.

In Illinois, prior to 1981, the state followed the rule of pure contributory negligence. This meant that you were prohibited from recovering anything if you were partly to blame for an accident. In 1981, however, the Illinois Supreme Court replaced contributory negligence with a type of modified comparative negligence. Today, a personal injury accident victim’s ability to recover compensation will depend on the degree to which they contributed to an accident. A victim who is determined to be 51% or more at fault for an accident is barred from recovering anything at all in a personal injury lawsuit. A victim who is determined to be 50% or less at fault for an accident may recover compensation. However, the amount they are entitled to recover will be reduced by their determined percent of fault for the accident.

Here’s an example. Imagine that a Chicago pedestrian was walking down the right-hand side of a road that was paved with sidewalks. However, he was not on the sidewalk. The pedestrian then decides to cross the street and takes a diagonal path to the opposite side of the road. A car traveling down the road hits him when he starts to cross. Pedestrians in Illinois have a duty to act with reasonable care when walking on the road. Specifically, they must use sidewalks when available and must cross at a right angle. This means that walking on the wrong side of the road, failing to use a sidewalk, and taking a diagonal path to cross the road are all behaviors that violate this duty. The pedestrian decides to file a lawsuit against the driver. However, although similar cases could result in recovery by a plaintiff, in this particular case, the jury determines that the pedestrian was 60 percent at fault for the accident. As a result, he is barred from recovering compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. This is because he has exceeded the 51% fault threshold, as permitted by law.

If this same accident happened in California, the pedestrian would be entitled to compensation. The amount would simply be reduced by 60%. So, if he suffered $100,000 in damages, he would only be entitled to recover $40,000. In Illinois, however, he is entitled to recover nothing.

Recovering Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident

Most state laws allow pedestrians to file a civil claim for damages after an accident. However, these same state laws may vary when a pedestrian’s own contribution to an accident is considered. In Illinois, a pedestrian may not recover compensation if they are 51% or more at fault for an accident. In California, a pedestrian may recover compensation even if they are 99% at fault for an accident. It is important to understand the specific state and local laws that will apply to your specific personal injury case. Hiring an experienced pedestrian accident injury attorney to handle your case is the best way to maximize damages.

Pedestrian Crashes Caused by Drivers Who Fail to Yield

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 129,000 people in the United States visited the emergency department in a single year because of injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents happen on a regular basis, especially in cities like Chicago that have high numbers of people who walk as part of their daily transportation.

If you have either walked or driven in Chicago at any point, you know that intersections can be confusing and even chaotic. Many drivers and pedestrians are trying to get where they need to go as fast as possible. Yet many drivers in Chicago fail to properly abide by Illinois traffic laws that require them to yield to pedestrians in certain situations.

When a pedestrian has a “walk” signal, she has the right to enter the crosswalk and cross the street. Any drivers who wish to cross over the crosswalk must yield to pedestrians. Unfortunately, many drivers see an opening to make a turn and fail to notice the “walk” signal or pedestrians in the crosswalk. This can lead to a serious collision. Furthermore, some drivers purposely disregard yield laws in attempts to beat pedestrians or even bully pedestrians into stopping while they proceed first.

Pedestrian Accident Injuries Can Be Severe

The injuries that pedestrians commonly sustain in traffic accidents can be serious and often life-changing. Some common injuries include the following:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Shattered or broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Amputations

Pedestrians typically sustain multiple traumatic injuries as they often have multiple points of impact, such as with the car that hit them and then with the ground. Many pedestrians live with the effects of their accident for months or even years, and their financial losses can be substantial.

Call a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Assistance Today

The law firm of Abels & Annes is dedicated to holding negligent drivers responsible for the losses incurred by the pedestrians they injure. If you have sustained injuries in a collision, please call our Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys at 312-924-7575 for more information today.

Pedestrian Crashes Caused by Drivers Who Fail to Yield

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 129,000 people in the United States visited the emergency department in a single year because of injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents happen on a regular basis, especially in cities like Chicago that have high numbers of people who walk as part of their daily transportation.

If you have either walked or driven in Chicago at any point, you know that intersections can be confusing and even chaotic. Many drivers and pedestrians are trying to get where they need to go as fast as possible. Yet many drivers in Chicago fail to properly abide by Illinois traffic laws that require them to yield to pedestrians in certain situations.

When a pedestrian has a “walk” signal, she has the right to enter the crosswalk and cross the street. Any drivers who wish to cross over the crosswalk must yield to pedestrians. Unfortunately, many drivers see an opening to make a turn and fail to notice the “walk” signal or pedestrians in the crosswalk. This can lead to a serious collision. Furthermore, some drivers purposely disregard yield laws in attempts to beat pedestrians or even bully pedestrians into stopping while they proceed first.

Pedestrian Accident Injuries Can Be Severe

The injuries that pedestrians commonly sustain in traffic accidents can be serious and often life-changing. Some common injuries include the following:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Shattered or broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Amputations

Pedestrians typically sustain multiple traumatic injuries as they often have multiple points of impact, such as with the car that hit them and then with the ground. Many pedestrians live with the effects of their accident for months or even years, and their financial losses can be substantial.

Call a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Assistance Today

The law firm of Abels & Annes is dedicated to holding negligent drivers responsible for the losses incurred by the pedestrians they injure. If you have sustained injuries in a collision, please call our Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys at 312-924-7575 for more information today.