Pedestrians are uniquely at risk of injury in a collision. Without the protection of a steel cage or airbags enjoyed by drivers—or even helmets used by bikers—people on foot can suffer injuries to every part of their bodies. While people on foot can suffer broken bones, internal injuries, and other trauma in a crash, some of the most catastrophic injuries involve traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Pedestrians Are at High Risk of Brain Injury from a Car Accident
When a vehicle strikes an unprotected pedestrian, he or she can suffer a brain injury in a variety of ways. The pedestrian’s head may be impacted by:
- Striking the vehicle’s hood. If the pedestrian turned to face an oncoming driver, he or she might have bent forward in the impact, banging his or her head against the vehicle’s hood.
- Hitting the ground. A pedestrian can be thrown several feet by the force of an oncoming vehicle, increasing the likelihood of a skull fracture when he or she finally makes contact with the pavement, grass, or nearby object.
- Secondary brain injury. Even if a pedestrian appears uninjured in the crash, he or she may have a bruising or bleeding in the brain that takes hours to show symptoms—and which must be treated immediately to prevent death or brain damage.
- Psychological distress. The pain and trauma of being struck by a car can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), causing insomnia, flashbacks, and other psychological effects.
Potential Complications of a Pedestrian Accident Head Injury
A severe blow to the head can have many short-term consequences, including headaches, memory problems, and disorientation. For mild traumatic brain injuries, these symptoms may last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. However, some victims may suffer long-term or permanent complications from a head injury that prevent them from earning a living or returning to their normal lives.
Some common complications of a brain injury include:
- Sensory disturbances. The brain may not be able to understand information taken in by the eyes and ears, making it difficult for the victim to see clearly, understand what he or she is seeing, or recognize faces. This may also result in light and sound sensitivity or persistent ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
- Seizures. The brain may experience problems during healing, causing seizures during recovery or even seizure disorders (such as post-traumatic epilepsy) that last for the rest of the victim’s life.
- Mobility problems. Motor dysfunction is common in severe brain injuries, such as a painful tightening of muscles (spasticity) or coordination problems that make it difficult for victims to walk or stand unaided.
- Impaired cognitive skills. Victims may have difficulty reading or understanding language, experience concentration problems, become easily confused, or have difficulty learning new material. They may also be unable to recall information or experiences that took place before the accident.
- Altered speech. Some victims may have difficulty speaking, develop a stutter or speech impediment, or be unable to recall words or communicate effectively.
- Behavioral changes. A brain injury can have unforeseen effects on a person’s personality, including depression, anxiety, irritability, or impulsive and even dangerous risk-taking.
- Coma. As the brain attempts to repair the damage, it may “shut down” all other activities, resulting in a coma. There is often no way to tell how long a coma may last, placing an extreme emotional and financial burden on family members.
- Early death. A brain injury may be one of multiple injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, and these collisions are overwhelmingly likely to be fatal. If someone you love was killed after being struck by a car, we can listen to your story and advise you on the best way to get justice and compensation.
If someone in your family has suffered a severe head injury, our attorneys can listen to the details of your case and discover who may be liable—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.