Study finds big jump in SUV-pedestrian fatalities in last 8 years

SUV's are extremely popular. Between 2009 and 2016, the number of passenger vehicles registered, excluding SUVs, decreased by a little less than 1 percent. Over the same period, the number of SUVs registered grew by 37 percent. SUVs and light trucks now account for 67 percent of the American auto market.

Unfortunately, SUVs are responsible for a growing number of pedestrian fatalities. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found a huge spike in fatal SUV-pedestrian collisions between 2009 and 2016.

During those eight years, fatal pedestrian crashes involving SUVs grew by 81 percent. That's 3.1-percent higher than the increase in such crashes involving all other vehicle types combined. This confirms a previously recognized trend.

"Although larger, heavier vehicles provide more protection to their occupants and thus have lower driver death rates per registered vehicle than smaller cars," according to the Institute, "previous research has found that SUVs and other light trucks and vans were associated with increased risks of severely injuring or killing pedestrians in an impact when compared with cars."

SUVs can be especially deadly to pedestrians

The basic shape of an SUV makes it more dangerous to pedestrians. Since they are taller and their front-ends are squarer, SUVs are more likely than other vehicles to strike pedestrians in the head or chest, as opposed to the legs.

One approach to reducing the risk is to "soften up" the front end of the vehicle. This could be done by adding a "pedestrian airbag" that would inflate when the vehicle hits a pedestrian, potentially preventing the pedestrian from striking the vehicle's roof pillars, which can be especially dangerous. Adding rearview cameras and brighter headlights could also help.

Other factors contributing to fatal pedestrian accidents

The study's authors don't know exactly what has caused the jump in SUV-pedestrian fatalities, but it's worth noting that fatal pedestrian crashes have themselves risen in recent years. In 2016, pedestrian deaths were at their highest rate since 1990. Per capita, the greatest increase in fatalities was among pedestrians between 20 and 69.

That could be the result of more walking among people in that age group. Between 2005 and 2015, the estimated number of Americans reporting walking as their primary mode of transportation rose from 3.3 million to 4.2 million.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, New York City had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in 2016.

In order to prevent these tragedies, every driver needs to be vigilant about watching for pedestrians. If you or a loved one has been hit by a car, truck or SUV, contacting a personal injury attorney can help ensure that you receive full, fair compensation for your injuries and losses.


The basics of damages in a personal injury claim

personal injury claim for damages is an important tool, as this blog recently discussed, to help victims in Brooklyn pursue compensation for the damages they have suffered because of another party's negligence. Broadly speaking, personal injury damages fall into three categories including compensation for physical, financial and emotional injuries suffered due to another party's negligence.

A personal injury claim for damages allows victims to seek help with their medical expenses, lost wages and emotional trauma. Damages for medical expenses can include ambulance fees; consultations with doctors and other health care professionals; physical or cognitive therapies; medical accessories; in-home care and treatment; and compensation for disfigurement or permanent disability. Future medical expenses may also be available in some circumstances.

Damages for financial losses can include compensation for lost wages but also for diminished earning capacity that victims may also suffer as a result of a traumatic accident. Additionally, with regards to emotional damages, victims may be able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering associated with the emotional trauma of an accident and damages for loss of affection and companionship, among other types of damages.

Damages available to victims of a traumatic accident are specific to each situation. Therefore, it is important for victims to be familiar with all the different types of damages available and how a personal injury claim applies to their unique situation and circumstances. Victims of an accident caused by another person can be left with physical, financial and emotional challenges they never expected to face. Therefore, they may be in need of the important legal protections that may be available to them.

Source: FindLaw, "What Kinds of Damages May I Claim for Car Accident Injuries?" Accessed May 15, 2018


What types of car accident injuries are common?

Because no two motor vehicle accidents are exactly the same, drivers never know what could happen to them in accidents with other vehicles.

The most important thing you can do is turn your immediate attention to your personal health and well-being. If you don't take this step, you could make a mistake that causes you more pain and discomfort down the road.

This leads to an important question: what types of car accident injuries are most common?

Again, there is no way of knowing what type of injuries, if any, you will suffer in a car accident. However, here is a breakdown of some of the most common:

  • Back and neck injuries. With the impact of a car accident, you always have to worry about back or neck injuries. For example, whiplash is common result when vehicles get in rear-end collisions.
  • Head and brain injuries. These are among the most serious injuries auto accident victims can suffer, as they can lead to long-term disabilities and complications. For instance, bleeding on the brain could require immediate surgery, which has the potential to cause future medical concerns.
  • Broken bones. Arms, legs, back, hips, feet and hands can all be fractured in an accident with another motor vehicle.
  • Burns and abrasions. These are not always the most serious injuries, but in some cases, they can be devastating. Both of these injuries can cause a lot of pain, not to mention plenty of follow up treatments.

It can be imperative to receive immediate medical attention following any car accident in which you're involved, either as a driver or a passenger. Even if you don't think that you are dealing with an injury, you never know until a medical professional examines you. It could also help establish that your injuries are a direct result of the car wreck and did not arise from a separate, unrelated incident.

Depending on the circumstances, e.g., your injuries and who was at fault, you may be able to take legal action to pursue financial compensation. Doing so often begins with getting a thorough review of the accident, which could give you a clear idea of the next steps to take.


Frequently asked questions: Hiring a lawyer after a crash

Being injured in a crash often means that you face a long journey back toward the life you had before the accident. In some cases, you might not ever get your life to return to how it previously was.

One area of your life that might be impacted when you are injured is your financial status. The cost of getting into an accident can be high. There are bills for doctor visits, medications, therapies and other costs related to your recovery. You might also have to purchase a new vehicle or fix the one involved in the crash.

The good news in all of this is that you may be able to get help with these financial difficulties by filing a personal injury claim. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help you learn more about this process and start the legal ball rolling. Below are a few things to remember when retaining an attorney after a crash.

Why should I hire a personal injury attorney?

The laws governing personal injury cases are complex. When you opt to make a claim for personal injuries, you must ensure that your case meets all the legal requirements. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you can take the guesswork out of the process.

Additionally, you can focus on healing while the attorney addresses the legal aspects of your case. Your lawyer can investigate the incident and work on solidifying the evidence needed to secure compensation. Many personal injury attorneys utilize consultants like accident reconstruction experts, medical personnel and other professionals to find and validate the facts of your accident claim.

How are these attorneys paid?

Most personal injury attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if you win your case. Instead, they keep a portion of the settlement or award. In most cases, a fee of one-third of the recovery is considered standard. Filing fees and similar costs are usually absorbed by the you, however, regardless of the outcome of the case.

What should I look for in a personal injury lawyer?

You should retain an attorney with whom you feel comfortable and confident speaking to and working with. Retaining an attorney who is equally effective in negotiating a settlement or taking your case to trial is important since you don't know how your case will get resolved. Examining the lawyer's track record in cases that are similar to yours can also help you decide if he or she is the right attorney for you.


Top 6 causes of commercial trucking accidents

The more time you spend on the road the more comfortable you will become. While this is a good thing, you never want to take your safety for granted. Just when you let your guard down you could find yourself in a serious situation.

Regardless of where you're driving, it's common to share the road with large commercial trucks. This may not be something you enjoy doing, but it's a way of life as a driver.

Unfortunately, there are times when truckers and trucking companies don't consider the well-being of everyone on the road. Subsequently, a serious accident occurs.

Here are some of the top causes of commercial truck accidents:

  • Distracted driving, such as when a trucker takes his or her eyes off the road to send a text message or take a phone call
  • Lack of training, which often falls back on the trucking company
  • Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications (those that cause drowsiness)
  • Drowsy driving, often related to a driver who does not take the required breaks
  • Reckless driving, which includes but is not limited to speeding, swerving, and failure to signal when changing lanes
  • Unrealistic schedules that force a trucker to drive too fast and/or not take enough breaks

Being part of a commercial truck accident is every bit as serious as it sounds. Due to the difference in vehicle size, you are at a disadvantage. As a result, there's a greater chance that you will suffer a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury or broken back.

If you or a loved one suffers any type of injury in a truck accident, it's important to receive medical attention and work with your doctor toward making a full recovery.

Also, don't hesitate to learn more about your legal rights. You may be able to take action against the driver and/or trucking company, all with the idea of protecting your rights and seeking compensation for injuries and damages.


Injured in an accident? Don't forget to do these things.

Every time you leave home you are at risk of getting into an accident. For example, you could be part of a motor vehicle collision or a slip-and-fall accident.

While you can't live your life in fear, accidents still happen. If you are injured in an accident it's important that you know which steps to take, as well as a timeline for what you can expect in the days and weeks to come.

Before we discuss the steps to take immediately following an accident, it's important to note that your health is more important than anything else. So, even though there are things you need to do, seek medical attention if you need to and take care of your well-being.

Here are a few other steps to immediately take:

  • Collect evidence. You want to collect any evidence that shows who was responsible for the crash. Photos of your injuries, property damages and the accident location only strengthen your case.
  • Write down everything. Even if it doesn't seem important at the time, still include every last detail. That could be anything from what the other person said after the accident to how many days you had to take off of work.
  • Collect witness information. Just as with other evidence, you should collect contact information of any witnesses. A name and phone number is best, as you may need to get in touch with these people as your case moves forward.
  • Learn more about your insurance coverage. If you were involved in a car accident, you need to review your policy, contact your agent and file your claim.

Just because you are part of an accident does not mean you can make a personal injury claim. Some minor accidents only result in property damage, thankfully. However, if you sustained injuries or injuries develop in the days following the accident, you need to protect your legal rights at all times.

As you focus on receiving the right type of treatment, turn your attention to what happened during the accident and where you fit into the equation. This will help you better understand what to do next and how to hold the negligent party responsible for his or her actions.