Each year across the state of Missouri, over 3,000 pedestrians are injured, and nearly 300 are killed in collisions with motor vehicles. Most of these injuries and fatalities occur in urban areas, and Kansas City is one of the deadliest cities for pedestrians in the state. Except in a few very rare situations, the driver who hits a pedestrian is almost always at fault.
If you were hit and injured or a loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident in Kansas City or elsewhere in Missouri, you need the skilled accident injury attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C., to fight for the compensation you will need to recover from the crash. In a free consultation, we will listen to your story and tell you whether you have a personal injury claim to pursue. Learn more about how these crashes happen and how we can help you recover here.
Top 7 Causes of Pedestrian Car Crashes in Kansas City
As a pedestrian crossing the street, walking in a pedestrian zone, or strolling down the sidewalk, you have an expectation that drivers are aware of your presence and are upholding their duty to keep you safe. In these kinds of accidents, cars come out of nowhere, and pedestrians often have no idea what hit them.
Most pedestrian crashes in Missouri are caused by driver carelessness or error. When drivers engage in the following types of dangerous and negligent behaviors, they put pedestrians at extreme risk. The most common causes of pedestrian crashes include:
- Distracted driving. Drivers distracted by cell phones, texting, or other activities are the leading cause of pedestrian car accidents. Not paying attention to the road reduces reaction time and increases the risk of hitting people who are crossing streets or walking along roadways.
- Failure to yield. Failure to yield the right-of-way is a common cause of pedestrian injuries. Drivers who disregard crosswalks, walk signals, or fail to stop for people at intersections are more likely to hit a pedestrian than drivers who understand when to yield.
- Speeding. Excessive speed reduces a driver's ability to stop or react to pedestrians in time. High-speed collisions with pedestrians often result in severe injuries or fatalities.
- Impaired driving. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and slower reaction times. Intoxicated drivers who lose control of their cars are more likely to hit pedestrians, even when they are in what should be safe zones.
- Poor visibility. Lack of proper lighting, particularly at night or during adverse weather conditions, can make pedestrians less visible to drivers. Reduced visibility increases the likelihood of accidents, especially when drivers fail to adjust their speed or look out for pedestrians.
- Driver negligence. Failing to obey traffic signals, speeding, driving in pedestrian zones—intentionally or accidentally—failing to use turn signals, having missing mirrors, and failing to check blind spots are all examples of driver negligence that could endanger a pedestrian.
- Jaywalking and pedestrian errors. Pedestrians who jaywalk or cross streets outside designated areas contribute to accidents. These actions make it difficult for drivers to anticipate their movements and react appropriately, leading to collisions. If the situation is a clear-cut case of pedestrian negligence, the driver would not be liable.
Whatever the situation was that led to you being struck and injured—or a loved one being killed—by a negligent driver, you will have to prove your claim to the insurance company—and possibly to a judge—in order to get the compensation you deserve. But you do not have to go through this process alone.
Types of Injuries Sustained by Pedestrians in Crashes With Vehicles
In a vehicle vs. person showdown, the vehicle always wins. The injuries that result from being hit by a car can be devastating and life-altering. Some of the kinds of injuries our pedestrian accident clients have sustained include:
- Fractures. Pedestrians struck by cars often suffer from fractures or broken bones. These injuries can range from minor fractures to more severe ones, such as compound fractures that require surgery to repair and may have long recovery periods.
- Head injuries. The impact of a collision can cause concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), or skull fractures. These injuries can have long-term effects on cognitive function, motor skills, and overall quality of life.
- Back injuries. The force of a car striking a pedestrian can result in back injuries, ranging from herniated discs to severe spinal cord damage. Such injuries may lead to partial or complete paralysis, requiring extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and lifelong adjustments to daily living.
- Internal organ damage. The force of the impact of a car against a body can cause injuries to organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or lungs. These injuries may require immediate medical intervention, surgery, and ongoing monitoring.
- Soft tissue injuries. While they might not seem serious at first, soft tissue injuries can result in painful, chronic conditions. The impact of the crash can cause damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons, resulting in pain, swelling, and limited mobility. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are often necessary for recovery.
- Cuts and lacerations. These injuries can range from minor cuts that require stitches to deep lacerations that damage nerves, blood vessels, or other tissues, potentially leading to long-term complications.
- Road rash. When pedestrians are struck by cars, they may be thrown onto the road surface, causing road rash and abrasions. These injuries occur when the skin rubs against the rough surface of the road, resulting in painful scrapes, cuts, and friction burns.
- Amputations. In severe cases, pedestrian-car accidents can lead to traumatic amputations. The impact of the collision can sever limbs or crush them to the extent that surgical amputation is necessary. The loss of a limb will obviously have a major impact on a person's physical and emotional well-being, requiring extensive rehabilitation and adjustment to a new way of life.
- Psychological trauma. A person who has been hit by a car may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues due to the emotional impact of the accident and the injuries sustained.
Tragically, pedestrian-car accidents can—and frequently do—result in death. The force and impact of a collision with a vehicle can cause severe injuries that prove to be fatal. If a family member was killed in a pedestrian crash, survivors may be able to file a claim against the driver for wrongful death.
Recovering from your injuries—or from the loss of a loved one—will take time, medical treatment, and money. If the crash was not your fault, you should not have to pay these costs.
What You Could Get Out of a Personal Injury Claim
Unfortunately, many pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run crashes, and the driver might not ever be identified. Even if the driver is located and charged, it’s likely that they don’t have the required car insurance anyway—which could be one of the reasons they fled the scene.
In other situations, the driver does stay at the scene and feels terrible about what they did. However, feeling bad is no excuse for negligence. The reality is that their car insurance liability coverage will pay the damages if their insurer accepts that their client is liable. That’s where an experienced pedestrian accident attorney comes in.
At Peterson & Associates, P.C., we believe that pedestrians have a right to safety when they are on Kansas City sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian malls, or even walking along a country road. When a distracted, impaired, or speeding driver violates their rights by plowing into them, we make sure they are held accountable. Through a personal injury claim on their car insurance or a lawsuit in court, we will make sure they pay all of the damages you are owed, including your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and any other economic losses you suffered.