Roughly five months after a speeding car hit him, a young man has died, according to the local coroner.
The boy was injured in a July 2021 accident. In order to get a better look at a fireworks display, he ran into the street near the intersection of Crestbrook Drive and Buttermilk Springs in the town of Crescent Springs. An oncoming motorist did not see the boy and could not stop in time to avoid a collision. Emergency responders rushed the young man to a nearby hospital. Despite doctors’ best efforts, he did not survive.
Investigators have ruled out substance impairment and driver distraction as possible causes.
Vehicle traffic dropped significantly in 2020, due to coronavirus lockdowns. Yet despite this decrease, the pedestrian death rate increased a staggaring 23 percent over its near-record 2019 levels. The high death rate is not just a safety issue. It’s also a social justice issue. A disproportionate number of these victims are nonwhite.
Furthermore, most pedestrian accidents happen in non-intersections and in non-crosswalks. Therefore, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is often travelling at or near top speed at the moment of the collision. Pedestrians have no protection in these situations. Instead, their bodies bear the entire impact. Some of the serious, and often life-threatening, injuries these victims sustain include:
- Back Injuries: These injuries run the gauntlet from annoying to fatal. Regardless of the severity, these injuries drastically lower the quality of the victim’s life and trigger tens of thousands of dollars, or even much more, in additional medical bills.
- Nerve Injuries: Nerve injuries and other soft tissue injuries, like whiplash, normally do not show up on diagnostic tests. So, many of these victims do not get prompt and proper treatment. As a result, their conditions deteriorate.
- Head Injuries: These injuries also have diagnosis and treatment issues. Doctors often ascribe the initial symptoms to soreness or shock from the accident. Advanced head injuries are much more difficult to treat than low-grade head injuries.
As mentioned, speed affects these injuries. Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that speed multiples the force in a collision between two objects.
Additionally, many pedestrian accident victims are either small children or older adults. Children’s brains, like their bodies, are immature. The risk-reward function is usually the last thing to develop. That’s why many children run into the street. They cannot biologically process the fact that the risk of being hit outweighs the reward of seeing fireworks.
Compensation in an injury claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Wrongful death damages are different. A Lexington personal injury lawyer can normally obtain compensation for pecuniary losses. This category includes items like:
- Decedent’s pain and suffering,
- Medical bills related to the decedent’s final illness or injury,
- Funeral and burial costs,
- Lost future emotional support, and
- Lost future financial support.
Many of these items, especially lost future support, are difficult to calculate. That’s especially true if the victim was a young child. So, attorneys normally partner with psychologists, accountants, and other professionals in these matters.
If the victim was in a permanent or virtual crosswalk, liability is often relatively straightforward. Pedestrians clearly have the right-of-way in these instances.
Virtual crosswalks are on-demand crosswalks which are usually located outside intersections. The pedestrian activates flashing yellow lights which command motorists to stop.
Other victims are normally entitled to compensation as well. Usually, drivers are negligent in these cases, even if the victim was outside a crosswalk. Negligence is not maliciousness. Instead, negligence is basically a lack of care. The duty of care in these cases requires motorists to avoid accidents when possible.
However, liability is not as clear in these situations, mostly because of the sudden emergency defense. This doctrine excuses negligence if the tortfeasor reasonably reacted to a sudden emergency.
Insurance company lawyers often argue that the victim “darted out into traffic” and therefore a collision was unavoidable. That sounds good. However, this analysis usually does not hold up in court. A jaywalking pedestrian is not a “sudden emergency” in this context. Instead, a jaywalking pedestrian is an everyday hazard, like a stopped-short vehicle or a large pothole. The duty of care requires motorists to anticipate such dangers.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters. #goodelawyers