Pedestrian traffic-related injuries can be incredibly dangerous for walkers. In 2020, according to Oregon Department of Transportation data, of the 317 traffic-related fatalities in Oregon, 51 were pedestrians.
Drivers have a number of safeguards that protect them from harm in case of a collision, such as seat belts and airbags. By contrast, pedestrians are usually impacted directly when collisions occur. These impacts can result in life-altering and even fatal injuries. In 2007, Oregon drafted “vulnerable user laws,” which are designed to protect people who lack the safety apparatus that cars offer.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Portland, you might be entitled to claim compensation for your past, present, and future medical expenses, lost wages due to missed work, and other expenses. At Siefman Law, our goal is to help injured pedestrians get the compensation they deserve if they’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian collisions are some of the most severe. Every pedestrian traffic-related incident is unique, but some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted Driving - Distracted driving has become the most common cause of traffic-related injuries in the United States. Distracted driving occurs when someone fails to focus on the task of driving. This list is by no means exhaustive, but all of the following are forms of distracted driving:
- Talking on the phone
- Using a GPS while driving
- Holding a pet
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the radio
- Talking to other passengers
- Speeding - When drivers speed in pedestrian zones or areas with heavy foot traffic, such as city streets and school zones, they endanger themselves and others. Speeding is never okay, but it’s especially reckless around pedestrians.
- Failure to Stop or Yield Right-of-Way - Drivers who speed through yellow lights, fail to stop completely at stop signs, or fail to abide by applicable right-of-way laws put walkers in danger. Impatient drivers sometimes turn through an intersection before pedestrians fully cross the street, which can cause a collision.
- Backing-Up Accidents - When drivers back out of driveways or parking lots, they often focus on other vehicles and fail to notice pedestrians passing behind them. Drivers who fail to check for both other vehicles and pedestrians can cause serious injuries through their negligence.
- Hazardous Weather Conditions - Inclement weather such as rain, snow, and fog can lead to pedestrian injuries because it lowers visibility and makes it harder for drivers to see pedestrians. This is especially dangerous when drivers are speed or otherwise operate their vehicle recklessly in bad weather conditions.
- Drunk Driving - Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs is a frequent cause of traffic-related pedestrian injuries. Drunk driving impairs a driver’s judgment and ability to concentrate on their task. It also tends to slow a driver’s reaction time. Even if the drunk driver notices a pedestrian crossing the road, they may not react as quickly as they would if they were sober. The delay can have deadly consequences.
Common Injuries Suffered
Pedestrians bear the brunt of pedestrian-vehicle collisions, and the injuries can be life-altering or even fatal. Some of the common pedestrian injuries that reckless and negligent drivers cause include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries - Traumatic brain injuries occur when a person sustains a violent blow to the head, which can cause concussions and hematomas in more serious cases. Skull fractures, brain bleeding, and other injuries can require extensive surgery and long recovery periods.
- Spinal Damage - The spine is one of the most important parts of the human body because it delivers messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Spinal damage can lead to permanent disability.
- Paralysis - Paralysis can occur if the spine is transected during an accident. It can render the pedestrian immobile and affect every area of an individual’s life.
- Broken Bones - Broken and fractured bones commonly occur in pedestrian crashes because pedestrians bear the brunt of the vehicle’s impact. These types of injuries can take months to fully recover from and require physical therapy.
- Burns, Lacerations, and “Road Rash” - Exposure to toxic chemicals or intense heat in a collision can cause burns. They can require extensive treatment and may cause permanent disfigurement.
- Internal Bleeding - Internal bleeding may not show itself immediately after an accident, which is why it’s so important to be evaluated by a medical professional. Internal bleeding requires immediate medical attention and can be fatal if left untreated.
Right-of-Way Laws in Portland
Drivers in Portland must keep pedestrians safe by following all applicable laws and regulations. Oregon drivers are required to follow the following right-of-way rules:
- Drivers turning at a traffic light must wait to proceed until a crossing pedestrian is at least six feet into the lane next to them.
- Drivers must stop for crossing pedestrians, whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked.
- If a driver notices a person with a white cane or guide dog, they must yield to that person until they have crossed the road entirely.
While the punishment for failing to abide by right-of-way laws is serious, the injuries these negligent drivers cause to pedestrians are far more severe. They might be held liable for their irresponsible driving.
Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian by a reckless or negligent driver, you deserve to be compensated for the damages you’ve suffered. Compensation covers costs such as:
- Medical expenses, including emergency services, physical therapy, and surgeries
- Lost wages, if the injured pedestrian misses work or can no longer do their job after an accident
- Pain and suffering, such as emotional trauma, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life that an injured pedestrian may experience after an accident
Navigating an insurance claim for compensation can be stressful if you try it alone. Take the time you need to recover from your injuries and get an attorney to help. At Siefman Law, we never leave our clients to deal with insurers alone.
How Siefman Law Can Help
If you’re the victim of a Portland pedestrian accident, working with a knowledgeable attorney can help you build a strong case for compensation. We want to maximize the compensation you’re entitled to.
The Portland pedestrian accident attorneys at Siefman Law could help you by investigating the accident, interviewing witnesses, collecting police reports and medical records, identifying the at-fault parties, and negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company. If the other side refuses to offer fair compensation, we’ll be prepared to file a personal injury lawsuit and pursue your case in court.
For a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, call us at (503) 395-2135 or reach out to us online now.