One of the most injuries to sustain from a pedestrian accident is a spinal cord injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number one cause of spinal cord injuries is motor vehicle accidents. In fact, 46 percent of spinal injuries occur from crashes. They also report that in 25 percent of the cases, alcohol is a major factor.
Risk Factors for a Spinal Cord Injury in a Pedestrian Accident
Compared to drivers and other occupants in a motor vehicle, pedestrians have a higher risk of suffering injury to the spinal cord. That’s because they lack protection. Many pedestrians never see it coming, with the force of the collision causing damage to their legs, back and spine.
The size of the vehicle and pedestrian may determine the level of the injury and its impact. Damage to the lower back or chest can lead to bladder/bowel dysfunction and affect movement of the torso and legs. If injury occurs to the neck, it may impact movement of all four limbs or even the ability to breathe without assistance.
Consequences of a Spinal Cord Injury
Although technology has allowed many patients with spinal cord injuries to enjoy fuller and longer lives, the cost for treatment may be excessive. And it doesn’t diminish the months (sometimes years), of grueling and painful rehabilitation. Nor does it take away from the life-altering consequences such as living in a nursing home, requiring in-home care, and no longer being able to provide for the family financially.
What to Do If a Pedestrian Accident Leads to a Spinal Cord Injury
It’s important to receive medical attention after any pedestrian accident. But when there’s suspicion of a spinal cord injury, it’s critical. Receiving immediate care could lessen the effects of the injury in some cases.
Make sure you report the accident to the liable driver’s insurance company as well as your own. Also contact a lawyer for help dealing with a liability insurance company. Because of the tremendous expense involved in a spinal cord injury, victims need to make sure the insurance company handles the case in a fair manner. They are oftentimes eager to do what they can to avoid paying compensation for your damages. A lawyer can help you avoid accepting a low settlement offer.
Accounting for the Full Extent of Your Damages
Your attorney can review the full extent of your damages, which may be difficult to quantify when you suffered a long-term spinal cord injury. This includes both financial and non-financial losses. For instance, there may be substantial medical costs incurred right after the accident.
There could also be more expenses later on, such as for:
- physical therapy;
- a wheelchair; or
- modifications to the home.
A spinal cord injury may put the person out of work for a long time or permanently. He/she may have the right to recover lost wages and damages related to reduced earning capacity.
Non-financial losses are another important consideration when evaluating your damages. The long-term (or sometimes lifelong) physical and emotional challenges have value for which your settlement should account.