There are nearly 3 million people injured in the U.S. every year in personal injury accidents, and the types of injuries can differ substantially. A personal injury accident can cause damage to virtually any part of the body, depending on the impact and severity of the incident. Some injuries can be treated and recovered from while others may cause permanent damage or disability. The severity of the injuries can depend on many circumstances, such as the use of seatbelts, the location of the impact, the speed of the vehicles, and the presence of airbags.
Car accidents, one of the most common types of personal injury accident, typically occur when someone involved has been negligent to follow traffic and security standards. Personal Injury law is designed to help those who have been negatively impacted by a collision.
What are the most common types of injuries sustained in car accidents?
Soft tissue injuries
These can be injuries such as bruising, sprains, strains, or damages to muscles. Depending on the severity, these types of injuries can become long-term and significantly inhibiting.
When soft tissue comes into contact with a hot surface, for example, if a vehicle catches fire, a person can suffer from burns, which in severe cases might need surgery or skin grafting.
Fractures and broken bones
The impact of a vehicle collision may cause broken legs, ribs, arms, ankles, or wrists, these can sometimes be healed with a cast, however, oftentimes surgery is necessary.
Internal injuries can occur when blood vessels in the body are damaged by the force of an impact. The rupture of a blood vessel may lead to internal bleeding and clotting that stops blood from circulating.
Internal Bleeding is a life-threatening experience and requires immediate medical attention.
Concussions can happen when a person’s head is impacted during a collision. Concussions occur as a result of soft brain tissue colliding with the interior of the cranial cavity. Some of the consequences of this can be experiencing problems with memory or feeling like the mind isn’t working as quickly as usual. Concussions are classified as traumatic brain injuries but are oftentimes considered “mild” traumatic brain injuries as they are typically not life-threatening.
Traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries (or TBIs) can affect the way the brain functions and handles information. These effects can be temporary or long-term, and depending on the severity, it can become a lifelong disability.
Spinal Cord and Nervous System injuries
The impact of a car crash can cause damage to the spinal cord, which in cases may lead to partial or total paralysis in the body depending on the severity of the injury. Injuries to the spinal cord or central nervous system are serious, likely permanent, and oftentimes life-threatening.
Limb loss and amputation
During a collision, a part of the body can be severely damaged and might need surgical amputation, or even can be forcibly removed from the body during the collision, which can leave a person with a permanent disabling effect. Non-Medical amputations are oftentimes life-threatening injuries requiring immediate medical attention.
Pedestrians in a Personal Injury Accident
Pedestrians have the right to be safe from injury on roadways and walkways, and injuries sustained from the negligence of another can be cause for action.
Pedestrian-car accidents can happen very easily. People are constantly outside walking to their jobs, running errands, or exercising outdoors. The total number of deaths and the rate of death based on miles driven soared in 2020. Drivers hit and killed an estimated 6,721 people on foot last year, and “a shocking and unprecedented” 21% spike in the pedestrian fatality rate from 2019 to 2020 was the largest ever annual growth since the government’s tracking system was established in 1975.
These incidents take place when a car has hit a person while walking, and they can take form in different scenarios such as:
- A car hits a person while crossing the street.
- A car hits a person while he/she is walking on the sidewalk.
- A car hits a person while parking.
Generally speaking, the driver of a vehicle has a duty of care to follow traffic protocols and avoid hazards. If a driver participates in negligence that results in a pedestrian’s injury, they could be held liable for damages.
On the other hand, there are some cases where the pedestrian could have been placing themselves in danger, for example, on a highway where car speeds are high. It must also be proven that pedestrians were not jaywalking, or crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk since that is in fact illegal in most states.
What to do if you have been in a personal injury accident
- Call the police: It is important to alert the authorities about the incident immediately, this way they can evaluate the scene. In this process, they will take your statement to file a report and seek any witnesses available.
- Seek medical help: It is important to evaluate the injury and see if the damages were only external or also internal, sometimes, an emergency hospital visit or an ambulance is necessary.
- Set a visual record: If you can, you can take a picture or video of the incident or injury to have physical evidence from the incident. This can be used in the trial.
What is an example of a pedestrian-car accident?
A pedestrian-car accident can take form in many different ways and make for different cases. This is the theoretical case of Ken:
Ken was driving late to his job, there was traffic, and he had a really important presentation at the office. He was also looking at his phone to see that his boss had texted him. He wanted to get to the office as soon as possible so he decided to skip some stop signs.
Jenna, a university student from the area was walking with her dog to the city park. As she was going to use the crosswalk she was surprised by Ken’s car which did not stop in time. She was injured from the left side of her body including her arm and hip.
It is Ken’s legal obligation to stop at the scene, and call his insurance to help with the problem. Jenna was critically injured due to his negligence and makes a claim for damages by filing a lawsuit against him.
Jenna, being a track star at her university, now couldn’t participate in athletics for six months. She was devastated and her attorney helped her to claim restitution for her physical injuries and emotional “pain and suffering” damages.
Pedestrian Safety is Crucial to Avoid Accidents
Most pedestrians can have deadly accidents on local roads, there is a higher risk of pedestrians being involved in an accident at night than there is in daylight. In many of these cases, either the driver or the pedestrian has been under the influence of alcohol.
It is extremely important to take action for both drivers and pedestrians to avoid any possible incident. As it is hard to control a driver’s actions or state, there are some precautions that people walking on the streets can take in order to avoid as much as possible any possible injury.
Steps to avoid being injured as a pedestrian
- Follow all road rules and obey signals and signs.
It is extremely important to check for traffic lights to make sure that there are no cars coming, even if the light is red, it is important to double-check for any cars coming since there can be some reckless drivers. In intersections with higher traffic that have pedestrian signals, it is essential to always use them. This also applies to Stop signs, it is very important to double-check and use the walking lanes when available.
- Be alert at all times
When walking, do not use electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, or computers that could possibly distract you from your surroundings. Many drivers and pedestrians incidents are caused by distractions from electronic devices. It is also recommended not to be listening to music or any other sound distraction since it can avoid a person from listening to any car horn or another person trying to warn about the surroundings. It is a pedestrian’s responsibility and self-duty to be as careful as possible.
- Do not assume a driver can see you
When there are no intersections or crosswalks available, it is important to always have a clear view of the traffic, if it is at night, make sure it is well-lit. It is important to be patient when crossing the streets and allow for enough time where there are no cars coming to be able to cross safely. Even if you made sure that there are no cars coming, always keep being attentive to any car.
- Make yourself as visible as possible
Try to use bright clothing during the day in order to be visible to drivers. During the night, reflective gear can work to be more visible, or even consider having a flashlight that could help you in the dark streets and help you be seen by others.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
Alcohol and drugs can affect judgment and impair abilities when walking. This is why it is important to avoid being in this state since it could make it more difficult to pay attention to circumstances that could be endangering.
Will health insurance pay for car accident injuries?
It is often hard to understand how medical bills will get paid after a car accident, however, there are different alternatives depending on the situation.
Being involved in a car accident can become a complicated process. In the cases where there are two cars and drivers involved, you will usually have to deal with different insurance companies. There are two different types of insurers, auto insurers, and health insurers.
Car insurance is basic personal auto insurance required by most states and provides you with some financial protection in case of an accident. This includes help in damage of the car, liability to the other party in the case one is at fault, and medical costs of injuries. Auto insurance coverages are priced differently depending on the person, the coverage amounts are customized to suit their exact needs and budget.
To answer the primary question, car insurance will pay for car accident injuries. This may include your own car insurance or the insurance of the other person that is involved depending on who is the at-fault driver. However, in the case where medical expenses turn out to be more than what the car insurance cover, health insurance will step in.
What to do if your car insurance can’t cover everything or can’t cover it immediately?
You can typically have your health and car insurance companies in contact with one another, to solve remaining payments. It is important to gather all of the information and bills from hospitals or other medical attention that was required for the injuries to present to the health insurer and the information of the car insurance. The health insurance will take care of any remaining payments.
In the case where the at-fault driver still hasn’t been identified due to any types of complications or delay, health insurance can step in. When the at-fault driver is finally identified they will usually ask for the driver’s car insurance for reimbursement for the medical bills.
Exceptions with PIP or MedPay
PIP stands for personal injury protection and it is a type of automobile insurance providing reimbursement for costs and expenses after a car accident. With PIP, it is not relevant who the driver at fault was. This insurance is required in certain states, even though it is not required in Illinois, it is recommended since it is a valuable coverage of expenses.
Medpay are medical payments coverage add-on to an auto insurance policy of health insurance that covers expenses related to vehicular accidents. As PIP, it is also not required in Illinois.
The drawback with PIP and MedPay, is that there is a coverage limit and this could lead to a person deciding to file a claim for personal injury when it is not sufficient money for coverage. However, filing a lawsuit can become the best decision to cover pain and suffering damages that are not easily translated by insurance companies.
If the other person, is at fault, how will they pay me?
Illinois is an “at fault” insurance state. This means that the party responsible for the accident has the responsibility to cover the damages. However, there are three different ways to get paid in a car accident in Illinois:
- First-party claim: this makes reference to filing a claim with your own insurance company. Some of the coverages might include Medpay or collision coverages. When the other person is at fault, your insurance company will try to look for reimbursement from them to make the payments.
- A third party claim: this refers to filing a claim to the other driver’s insurance for all of the expenses.
- A lawsuit against the driver in civil court: when the problems can’t be completely solved through the insurance companies, a lawsuit can settle for the required compensation.
Receive fair compensation for your injury
There are nearly 10 million licensed drivers in Illinois, and thousands of them have been seriously or fatally injured in car accidents.
Contact the offices of Trent Law Firm, P.C., today to discuss your case and how our experienced personal injury attorneys may be able to help. Call (866) 599-8601 for a confidential consultation.