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Why a Pedestrian Hit by a Car Can Be Deadly

Pedestrian accidents are incredibly common in Texas. The human body, while supported by a strong skeleton and musculature, can only take so much force before breaking. Pedestrians are constantly at risk of being hit by a vehicle that can seriously injure or kill them. Just this year, a young girl lost her life in Weslaco, TX while walking down the street. A Ford Mustang struck 16-year-old Zitlali Diaz who was pronounced dead on the scene. The scene of the accident was dark with little to no visibility and a lack of improved shoulders for pedestrians along that road. Being a pedestrian is not easy, as your body has no protection against the large vehicles that can hit you. If you or a loved one were hit by a car while walking through your town, please contact our office today for a free consultation.

What Happens When a Pedestrian is Hit by a Car?

There are typically three phases that occur when a pedestrian is hit by a car – the initial impact, the pedestrian’s trajectory, and the ground contact. The distance from the initial place the pedestrian was hit to the resting place of the pedestrian is known as the “throw distance.” If a car hits a pedestrian at a lower speed, the throw distance will be short. If the car is traveling at high speeds, the throw distance may be quite large. When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the following usually happens:

  • Initial impact: The bumper of the vehicle will hit the knee joint or middle of the pedestrian’s leg if they were standing up straight. The thigh will then impact the edge of the hood and the body will subsequently be carried on the hood of the car. This can be head-on or from the side.
  • The pedestrian’s trajectory: The pedestrian may be thrown forward, to the side, or may be thrust inward into the windshield.
  • Ground contact: The pedestrian will then make impact with the ground away from the vehicle, can fall to the ground after rolling off the vehicle, or be stuck on the car.

That initial contact will depend on the height of the car, the height of the pedestrian, and if they are hit head-on or on the side. If a pedestrian is hit by a much larger vehicle like a truck or bus, the individual may be immediately and forcefully knocked down to the ground and be run over by the vehicle. The force of the impact depends on the driver’s speed and whether the driver tries to brake or swerve away from the pedestrian. The worst injuries and highest potential for pedestrian fatalities happens when a driver does not slow down at all and hits a pedestrian at full speed.

The Types of Injuries Sustained when a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Car

The majority of pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles on their side as they are crossing the road, either at a crosswalk or in the middle of the street. Many of these auto pedestrian accidents happen at lower speeds when cars are driving at 25 mph or less. Even at these lower speeds that would usually cause minor injuries in a car accident, pedestrian injuries can still be incredibly serious or deadly because pedestrians are completely unprotected. Because the pedestrian often goes through two separate impacts when hit by a car, the initial impact and then the ground contact, they have the potential for multiple significant injuries.

The most common injuries faced by pedestrians hit by a car include:

  • Brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries are the most common cause of pedestrian fatalities. These may include concussions, skull fractures, intracranial swelling, hemorrhages, and puncture wounds. When a pedestrian’s head makes impact with the vehicle’s hood or other parts of the car, they are hitting a solid metal panel or glass window / windshield. These hard surfaces can cause serious, permanent damage to a person’s brain.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: A pedestrian who is hit in the back, side, or who hits their spine upon ground contact can sustain serious spinal cord injuries, including herniated discs, nerve damage, and paralysis. If the spinal column is severed at any point, the damage may be irreversible, causes paralysis, or be deadly.
  • Broken Bones: Broken bones are incredibly common injuries seen when pedestrians are hit by cars. These can range from minor fractures to major breaks that puncture through the skin. All broken bones must be treated by a medical professional for proper healing which can take weeks to months.
  • Internal Organ Damage: When a pedestrian is hit by a car, their internal organs can easily be damaged from the impact. Internal bleeding is incredibly dangerous, as well as organ rupture, and can be deadly if not treated immediately. 
  • Loss of Limbs: When a pedestrian is pinned against a wall or other surface by a car, they may end up losing limbs if the blood circulation to the limb has been completely lost or the limb has been completely crushed and/or severed by the impact.
  • Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises: From the initial impact to ground contact, there are many ways a pedestrian who has been hit by a car can be cut, scraped, or bruised in an accident. Road rash, when the body has been forced to slide along a rough surface like the road, can cause severe pain and scarring as the body scrapes against the road’s surface and skin is torn off.
  • Death: From the injuries listed above, it is easy to see just how deadly a pedestrian accident can be. If the impact is at high speeds, the pedestrian may die on initial impact. They may also be flung by the vehicle and die when they make contact with the ground.

Pedestrian accidents are some of the most serious motor vehicle collisions in Texas. Without the protection of airbags or metal frames, pedestrians take on the full force of the impact. It is essential to be aware of your surroundings at all times while driving your car or while walking down the road to avoid being in a terrible accident.

South Texas Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

Car accidents involving a pedestrian can be complex and stressful situations. By choosing experienced legal representation, you won’t have to worry about what steps to take to receive fair compensation for your damages. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an auto pedestrian accident, contact the Weslaco car accident lawyers at Ezequiel Reyna, Jr. Law Office today to discuss your case. There is limited time to act following a Texas pedestrian accident, so don’t delay.

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