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Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in the United States

Pedestrians on American roads face unique dangers.


  • Drivers cause most pedestrian accidents through distracted driving, impairment, failing to yield, speeding, and poor visibility.
  • Pedestrian injuries range from soft tissue injuries to life-altering spinal cord damage.
  • Compensation may cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even wrongful death.
  • Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia can help victims navigate the legal process and fight for fair compensation.

Many Americans walk every day, from taking a stroll in the sun to running errands and commuting to work. When these pedestrians share the road with the millions of cars driven in America, accidents can happen.

Unlike the occupants of cars, pedestrians have no protection against collisions. Victims often suffer significant injuries and are left with emotional trauma and financial burdens. Many common causes of pedestrian accidents are avoidable.

You deserve the fair settlement you need to recover, and the experienced team of pedestrian accident lawyers at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia can help. We understand what you’re going through and we have the skills and experience to defend your rights.

Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation at (800) 320-HELP or contact us online.

Pedestrian Accidents Injuries

When automobiles collide with pedestrians, the consequences can be devastating. Due to their lack of protection compared to the occupants of cars, pedestrians are more likely to suffer serious injuries, long-term disabilities, and even death.

Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents

The force of a collision between a pedestrian and a vehicle can cause a wide range of injuries. Some of the most common include:

  • Soft tissue injuries: This category includes sprains, strains, contusions (bruises), and lacerations (cuts). While often painful and requiring time to heal, these are generally less severe injuries. However, some soft tissue injuries can have long-term effects if not treated properly, such as chronic pain or limited mobility.
  • Bone fractures: Pedestrians are vulnerable to fractures in collisions, particularly in the legs, arms, ribs, and hips. Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, recovery times can range from weeks to months, and some fractures may cause permanent limitations.
  • Head injuries: Pedestrians are more vulnerable to head injuries due to a lack of protection. Concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and skull fractures can all occur. Head injuries can have life-altering consequences and require extensive medical care, including physical therapy, speech therapy, and cognitive rehabilitation.
  • Spinal cord injuries: The force of a collision can damage the spinal cord, leading to partial or complete paralysis. Spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic, requiring lifelong medical care and support. The emotional and financial impact of a spinal cord injury can be immense.
  • Internal injuries: Internal bleeding, organ damage, and broken ribs are potential internal injuries from pedestrian accidents. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can be life-threatening. Internal injuries often require immediate surgery and can lead to complications if not diagnosed promptly.

Even if you don’t feel injured, it’s essential to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident. You may have injuries you aren’t aware of, and catching them right away can make a big difference in your recovery. The medical records created will also be an important paper trail later on.

Driver Actions in Pedestrian Accidents: Common Causes

Unfortunately, driver behavior is a major contributing factor in many pedestrian accidents.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, which includes cell phone use, eating or drinking, adjusting in-car controls, and drowsiness, is a major threat to pedestrian safety. Studies have shown that distracted drivers are more likely to miss pedestrians in their path and have slower reaction times in an emergency.

Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications significantly increases the risk of causing a pedestrian accident. Intoxication affects vision, judgment, and coordination, making it difficult for drivers to react safely to pedestrians.

Failure to Yield Right of Way

Disregarding crosswalks, ignoring traffic signals, and not yielding are all behaviors that can leave pedestrians at risk. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks and marked intersections. Drivers must be aware of their surroundings and stop or yield to allow pedestrians to cross safely.


Speeding is a major factor in the severity of pedestrian accidents. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the distance it takes to stop and the more forceful the impact will be in a collision. Obeying posted speed limits is crucial, especially in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Poor Visibility Conditions

Driving at night without proper headlights or driving in bad weather (rain, fog, snow) reduces visibility significantly. Headlights should be turned on at dusk and during bad weather conditions to improve pedestrian visibility. Drivers should also adjust their speed and driving behavior according to the weather conditions.

How much Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Victims

Pedestrian accidents can result in a significant financial burden for victims.  Medical bills, lost wages, and other damages can quickly add up.  The good news is that in many cases, pedestrian accident victims may be eligible for compensation to help offset these losses.  Here’s a breakdown of some potential recoverable damages:

  • Medical bills: This includes all past, present, and future medical expenses related to your injuries. This can cover ambulance services, emergency room visits, doctor appointments, surgeries, rehabilitation and physical therapy, medication, and medical equipment.
  • Lost wages: If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This can also include lost future earning potential if your injuries have a long-term impact on your ability to work.
  • Property damage: If your personal belongings were damaged in the pedestrian accident, such as clothing, glasses, or a cellphone, you may be able to recover compensation for repairs or replacements.
  • Pain and suffering: This category covers the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experience due to your injuries. It can also include mental anguish, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
  • Wrongful death: If a pedestrian accident tragically results in death, surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for funeral expenses, lost financial support, and emotional suffering.

The specific damages you are entitled to will depend on the unique circumstances of your case.  An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand what damages you may be eligible for and calculate the full scope of your losses.

How Our Experience Can Benefit Your Pedestrian Accident Claim

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, the team of experienced personal injury lawyers at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is ready to defend your rights. As your personal injury lawyers, our role is to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Here’s how:

  • Investigate the accident: Our pedestrian accident lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, and traffic camera footage. This can help determine who is at fault for causing the pedestrian accident and strengthen your claim.
  • Deal with the insurance company: Lawyers have experience negotiating with insurance companies to ensure you receive a fair settlement offer. We can handle the complexities of insurance law and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
  • Evaluate your case: An accident injury attorney can assess the severity of your injuries and calculate the full scope of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Handle the legal process: Personal injury lawsuits can be complex. Our pedestrian accident lawyers can navigate the legal system, file paperwork, and represent you in court if necessary.
  • Provide support: Pedestrian accidents can be a traumatic experience. Our personal injury lawyers can offer guidance and support throughout the legal process, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Contact WHG today for a free consultation to discuss your pedestrian accident case. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-HELP to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I am involved in a pedestrian accident?

Seek immediate medical attention, report the accident to the police, and avoid discussing fault with anyone. Then, contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in pedestrian accident cases to represent you.

What happens if the driver has no insurance?

If the at-fault driver has no insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation through your own uninsured motorist coverage (required in some states, including Florida) or by suing the driver directly. A personal injury attorney can advise you of your options in this situation.

How long do I have to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit?

Each state has a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, for filing a personal injury lawsuit. For instance, in Florida, you have two years after the date of your injury to pursue legal action.

It’s important to consult with a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to understand the specific deadline in your state and ensure you don’t miss the filing window.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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