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Temecula Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

San Diego car accident lawyers

Temecula’s famous wine-growing region attracts tourists from around the world, which leads to a large number of pedestrians strolling through the city’s historic Old Town, as well as other areas throughout the city. Given the high number of pedestrians in Temecula on any given day, it’s not surprising that pedestrian accidents are, unfortunately, common in the city. If you or a loved one has been struck by a car, truck, or another vehicle while walking in Temecula, contact the experienced legal team at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to discuss your eligibility to seek compensation for your injuries.

Too Many Temecula Pedestrians Get Hit by Cars

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, pedestrian accidents, while unfortunate, are not uncommon. California’s rate of deaths in pedestrian accidents increased by 26 percent over a matter of just four years. Nearly 900 people a year die in pedestrian accidents in the state—as many as 27 in Temecula—and another 14,000 are injured.

In one decade in California, around 7,500 people died after being hit by a motor vehicle while walking or jogging on state roadways. Vehicles have struck as many as five children younger than age 15 and as many as four elders in recent single years in Temecula.

Our area of the country is not the only place with a sharp increase in this type of accident in recent years, however. National experts have also seen increases.

A Surge and Its Surprising Cause

According to an investigation by Detroit Free Press and the USA Today Network, national pedestrian accident data suggests a surprising reason for the 46 percent increase in pedestrian accident deaths in the past decade: the growing popularity of SUVs. This study uncovered information that revealed that federal regulators have known for at least the past five years that SUVs pose a significant danger to pedestrians due to the high profile front end that is found on these vehicles.

The higher profile means that the point of impact between the vehicle and the human body occurs in the head, neck, chest, and torso area—all of which are more likely to cause a catastrophic injury. With smaller sedans, the impact point would be lower on the body, in the area of the legs and hips. While this area can also result in serious injury, injuries to the legs and hips are less likely to result in death.

Other information revealed through the investigation includes:

  • The federal government proposed regulations that would require pedestrian accident rates to factor into vehicle safety ratings. However, that proposal stalled due to strong opposition from automakers. A federal report issued recently noted that pedestrians are two to three times more likely to die when being struck by an SUV or pickup truck than if they were struck by a passenger car. SUVs and trucks account for 30 percent of all pedestrian accidents, but they account for 40 percent of all pedestrian accident deaths.
  • Other dangers posed by SUVs include the fact that they are more powerful vehicles than passenger cars, and are capable of traveling at high speeds. Speed increases the severity of any accident, but particularly accidents that involve pedestrians.
  • Instead of formal regulations, these federal safety regulators released a list of suggested safety measures for the makers of SUVs. These measures, if implemented, would dramatically reduce the danger to pedestrians that this type of vehicle poses. However, the measures have largely been ignored by the auto industry.
  • The growing popularity of large, blunt-nosed vehicles has resulted in an 81 percent increase in pedestrian deaths involving the SUV class of vehicles in the past decade.
  • Pedestrians who are struck by SUVs are twice as likely to die from their injuries as those who are struck by lower profile passenger cars.
  • Pedestrian accidents are far more likely to occur in urban areas. This type of accident disproportionately affects minorities, particularly Native American and Black pedestrians. The highest rate of death among pedestrians across the country involves males who are jaywalking or are alcohol-impaired and walking on multilane urban roads during the nighttime hours when they are less visible to motorists.
  • Detroit, Newark, and St. Louis—all industrial centers—have the highest rate of pedestrian accident deaths. However, the list of large cities with the most deaths is also littered with warm-weather cities where tourists and residents alike frequently spend time exercising outdoors through walking or jogging.
  • For the past several years, the popularity of SUVs in the U.S. has grown as families and individuals are drawn to the roominess and the feeling of safety that a larger SUV can provide. SUVs now account for around 60 percent of all new auto sales.

Other Causes for the Increase In Pedestrian Deaths

While SUVs are now a major culprit in pedestrian accidents, other factors contribute to the growing number of pedestrian accident deaths, including:

  • Distractions. Both drivers and pedestrians are susceptible to distractions such as texting and other cell phone use. Distractions when driving or walking are dangerous as they draw a person’s eyes and attention away from the task of scanning the roadway for potential hazards. Drivers who fail to pay attention run the risk of hitting a pedestrian who is crossing the roadway either inside or outside of the crosswalk. Other common distractions for drivers include adjusting stereo or vehicle controls, visiting with other occupants of the vehicle, eating or drinking, or external distractions such as billboards, construction zones, and other people or cars. Pedestrians must safeguard their own lives by paying attention to the traffic around them and avoiding stepping into or crossing the street when there is oncoming traffic. A pedestrian who is looking at his or her phone or is otherwise distracted by music or activity is at risk of being struck by a car.
  • Alcohol impairment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of the crashes that resulted in a pedestrian’s death involved either an alcohol-impaired driver or walker. A third of all pedestrians who have been fatally struck by a car had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. 17 percent of the motorists involved in pedestrian accidents were legally drunk at the time of the crash.

The Injuries Caused in Pedestrian Accidents

As previously stated, SUVs pose a higher risk of injuries to a pedestrian’s head or neck, which are two parts of the body that, when injured, have a limited ability to heal.

Head injuries can result in permanent brain damage and cause deficits to functions such as:

  • Memory, concentration, emotions, and impulse control
  • Balance and coordinated movement
  • The ability to speak or to understand spoken language
  • Consciousness, arousal, heart rate, and alertness

Spinal cord injuries are of particular concern as they can result in the loss of sensation and function below the area that was injured. The spinal cord extends from the base of the skull to the lower back. If a person has a spinal cord injury in the cervical (neck) area, the injury often results in paralysis in all of the body below the neck. Because the spine and the brain make up the central nervous system and control all of the body’s voluntary and involuntary responses, injuries to these areas are often catastrophic.

In addition to spinal cord and brain injuries, pedestrians frequently suffer broken bones. Which bones are broken is determined by the point of impact on the body. Larger vehicles will often cause fractures to the ribs or hips. Smaller vehicles will impact the hips or legs. It is not uncommon to experience severely shattered bones in this type of accident, which can result in amputation in some cases. Another common body part to become injured in a pedestrian accident is the bones in the arms, wrists, and hands. This is due to the body’s natural instinct to “catch” itself when falling by extending the arms.

Severe and even disfiguring lacerations are also common in pedestrians who have been hit by a car. These lacerations are often caused by contact with the vehicle’s hood or windshield, or from being thrown forcefully onto the roadway or into other objects.

The Impacts Pedestrian Accident Victims Face

There are few things in life more impactful than a spinal cord or brain injury. Because of the high likelihood of permanent disability, those who suffer injuries to these areas of the body often can no longer perform the job-related tasks that they previously performed. In fact, many brain or spinal cord-injured individuals cannot work at all.

While unemployment is high among those who have suffered serious injuries, the costs of medical treatment for those injuries is also extraordinarily high. Brain and spinal cord injuries often produce expenses in the millions of dollars to treat the initial injury as well as complications that may arise as a result of the injury.

The home life of the injured person changes dramatically as well, with family members often losing the relationship they had with the injured person and assuming the role of caretaker. Spouses of the severely injured often suffer a loss of consortium, which is physical intimacy and companionship that the couple previously shared. Those with this type of injury, and their family members, find that their relationships with friends are also permanently altered by the injury, as friends suddenly find themselves having few common interests with the injured person.

Those with serious injuries often require professional assistance at work, school, or home, and may need modifications made to their home, including widened doors, ramps, lowered countertops, roll-in showers, lifts to transport the person into and out of bed, and automatic door openers.

Safety Tips for Drivers

With proper attention and care, drivers can prevent nearly all Temecula pedestrian accidents. They can:

  • Follow the speed limit. Speed not only increases the severity of the accident, but also provides the dangerous combination of less time to perceive and respond to hazards on the roadway and more distance required to come to a safe stop after the brakes have been depressed.
  • Avoid distractions. This means putting down the phone, saving the conversation with your friend or child until after you are done driving, and being alert to your surroundings.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs as they can impair your sense of judgment, ability to concentrate, steer, and brake effectively.
  • Always be on the lookout for pedestrians when driving, particularly at night or in bad weather.
  • Remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way at California intersections. Be prepared to stop.
  • Stop at the crosswalk line so that other drivers can see pedestrians crossing as well. Never attempt to overtake another vehicle while approaching or traveling through a crosswalk.
  • Be cautious when backing up. Use your mirrors and also look over your shoulder to check for pedestrians in your blind spot.

Let Us Help You With Your Temecula Pedestrian Accident Case

John Gomez, Temecula Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Temecula, the experienced accident attorneys at Gomez Trial Attorneys are ready to help you understand your legal options for pursuing compensation to pay for the injuries and expenses you face. Contact us online or by calling (619) 237-3490 for a free case evaluation.

 

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