As a pedestrian, you should never have to fear for your safety as you walk down the road. In St. Louis, there are laws in place, designed to allow pedestrians and motor vehicles to share the same space. Yet day after day, accidents between motorists and pedestrians continue to happen. Sadly, these types of accidents have seen a steady increase over the past several years.
At The Bruning Law Firm, pedestrian accidents are some of the worst types of accidents we see. These accidents often result in catastrophic, life-changing injuries. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you have rights. In Missouri, the law may entitle you to financial compensation. Contact a St. Louis pedestrian accident lawyer at The Bruning Law Firm for your free initial consultation and learn more about your rights.
The Bruning Law Firm: Fighting for Accident Victims in St. Louis
At The Bruning Law Firm, we have spent the last 35 years helping victims fight for what they deserve. A serious injury can take a toll on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. That is why we strive to provide our clients with stability and compassion at a time when they need it the most.
While most people do not like to talk about money, after an accident, you have to think about the financial costs. Our lawyers have recovered millions in damages for our clients, so they can focus on what matters the most—their recovery. While no result can be guaranteed, contact The Bruning Law Firm today to see what we can do for you.
5 Causes of St. Louis Pedestrian Accidents
There is no sugarcoating it, pedestrian accidents are scary. A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association cited a 21 percent jump in pedestrian fatalities over just one year. That same year, Missouri reported its highest number of pedestrian deaths ever. Many of these accidents are due to driver negligence. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
Speeding is dangerous. Yet, it is one of the most common reckless behaviors drivers participate in on the road. On average, speeding has contributed to approximately one-third of traffic fatalities across the United States over the past 20 years. Under normal speeds, a collision with a pedestrian can be catastrophic. When a driver is speeding, the results can be deadly.
Not only does speeding increase the risk of injury or death, it also increases the chance of an accident happening at all. A speeding vehicle takes longer to stop. The driver also has less time to react. By the time a pedestrian realizes a speeding driver is approaching, they may have little time to react.
We have all heard the warnings about texting and driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sending or reading a text takes a driver’s attention off the road for approximately 5 seconds. During those 5 seconds, a pedestrian can walk out into the road. The light can turn red. So many things can happen in 5 seconds. Unfortunately, despite these warnings, people continue to text and drive.
Along with texting, other activities can lead to driver distraction. Any time a driver takes their eyes off the road, they put others at risk.
Other causes of distracted driving include:
- Adjusting the radio
- Talking to passengers
- Talking on the phone (even with a hands-free device)
- Navigation systems
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is reckless. Yet it continues to be one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents. The NHTSA estimates approximately 28 people die every day in the United States because of a drunk driver. Driving under the influence impairs a person’s decision-making skills and can affect motor reflexes.
Other dangers of driving under the influence include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurry vision
- Slowed reaction time
- Reduced ability to track moving objects
- Lowered alertness
- Inability to multitask
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
If you are a pedestrian, you depend on drivers to obey right of way laws. Pedestrians rely on these laws to know when it is safe to cross the road, where they can walk without fear of danger, and where they should take extra safety measures. When a driver fails to yield the right of way, a pedestrian has little time to react.
Failure to yield the right of way commonly causes accidents at intersections. Here, pedestrians may rely on cross signals or traffic devices to know when to cross. Accidents can happen when a driver runs through a traffic device or when they fail to look for pedestrians before making a turn.
There are many reasons why a driver may have a hard time seeing a pedestrian. Bad weather, darkness, or structural obstructions can cause poor visibility. During these conditions, drivers need to exercise extreme caution. If a person is driving when conditions are bad, they need to adjust their driving behavior.
Things a driver can do to limit the risk of an accident include:
- Reduce driving speed
- Limit distractions
- Ensure safety devices, including headlights, are in working order
- Pay extra attention to hazards and pedestrians
- Allow extra following distance
- Slow at intersections
Aside from extreme conditions, the driver’s own vehicle can reduce visibility. Large vehicles may have large blind spots that prohibit them from seeing all angles behind the vehicle. In this instance, it is the driver’s responsibility to know where these blind spots exist and take extra care to ensure there are no pedestrians behind the vehicle before they put the car in reverse.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
There is no getting around it, a pedestrian is no match for any sort of motor vehicle. Even a small bump can cause serious injuries. If you have been hit by a car or truck, your safety is the number one priority. At The Bruning Law Firm, our team of pedestrian accident attorneys can help direct you to the care you need and fight for the compensation you deserve. After an accident, it is important to watch for signs of injury. These injuries may or may not be apparent at the time of the accident. If you experience symptoms of a serious condition, seek medical attention right away. Common injuries after a pedestrian accident include:
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur as the result of a hard force to the head or a penetrating wound. This type of injury can happen when the head comes into contact with the vehicle or the ground. People who suffer from a traumatic brain injury may not lose consciousness at the scene or at all. If you have been in an accident where you have hit your head, you need to watch for any symptoms of a TBI as symptoms can escalate quickly and become life-threatening.
Symptoms of a TBI include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood changes
- Changes in sleep patterns
For a more comprehensive list of symptoms to watch for, visit the Mayo Clinic. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit a healthcare provider right away.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Like traumatic brain injuries, these injuries can result from severe trauma. The force of a collision can cause severe swelling that can ultimately result in permanent paralysis.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Extreme neck or back pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Severe neck or back distortion
Victims who suffer from paralysis often face a lifetime of challenges and must adjust to a new way of doing things.
Spinal cord injuries also increase the likelihood of comorbidities including:
- Pressure sores
- Muscle atrophy
- Bowel and bladder issues
- Respiratory and circulatory issues
- Mental health issues
The human body is not designed to sustain the force of a 2,000-pound vehicle. For this reason, broken bones are extremely common in pedestrian accidents. Broken bones can cause extreme pain and mobility issues. Depending on the severity, the injury may never fully heal. Victims who sustain broken bones may face a long road to recovery. This may include reconstructive surgery, pain management, and physical therapy.
Cuts, Bruises, and Skin Abrasions
Cuts and bruises may seem like minor injuries after a pedestrian accident, but they can lead to very serious complications. Aside from pain and permanent scarring, an open wound can easily lead to infection. Infections are never fun, but when a person is suffering from more serious issues related to a pedestrian accident, an infection can limit treatment options or slow healing. In some cases, an infection can become life-threatening.
Mental Health Injuries
There is no way to truly understand how someone feels after a traumatic accident. We all experience feelings and emotions differently. After a pedestrian accident, it is normal to feel rage, sadness, and confusion. Victims of serious accidents may relive the event or experience anxiety or depression. Mental health issues are just as serious and physical injuries and often require medical treatment. If you are having difficulty after a pedestrian accident, do not be afraid to reach out for help.
Your Rights After a St. Louis Pedestrian Accident
If you have been injured in a St. Louis pedestrian accident, you may have a right to recover damages under Missouri law. In Missouri, accident victims have five years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury suit against the at-fault party. After an accident, a pedestrian accident attorney can help you understand your rights and help you fight for what you deserve.
During your St. Louis pedestrian accident case, your attorney will consider your actual costs and how your injuries have affected your day-to-day life.
Damages may include:
- Medical costs: Serious injuries can incur thousands of dollars in medical costs. These are costs you should not have to pay for on your own. Covered costs may vary from case to case but often include doctor visits, surgeries, medication, medical devices, follow-up care, and rehab.
- Lost wages: If you suffer a serious injury, you may not be able to return to work right away. When this happens, your case should include lost wages. In the event you cannot return to work, your attorney may request future wages. If you were unemployed at the time of the accident, you may receive compensation for loss of services to cover the costs to outsource these items.
- Pain and suffering: Pedestrian accidents can cause severe physical and emotional pain. When an injury or accident causes you physical and emotional stress, the law allows you to claim these as damages. Examples of pain and suffering include depression, anxiety, PTSD, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment.
- Wrongful death: Sadly, in some cases, your loved one’s injuries may be too severe to survive. In this case, you or a member of your family may have a wrongful death claim. This can help cover the expenses the victim’s family incurs from their loved one’s death. They may also include costs the victim would have been eligible for had they survived. A wrongful death claim may include pain and suffering, medical costs, lost wages, loss of guidance, loss of companionship, and outstanding medical costs.
St. Louis Pedestrian Accident FAQ
Traffic accidents in St. Louis kill more than 300 pedestrians each year and injure thousands more. A significant racial disparity exists among the city’s pedestrians, with Black residents accounting for more than two-thirds of injured or killed pedestrians.
Pedestrian accident claimants can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of their injuries. If a St. Louis pedestrian accident injured you, you have the right to seek the maximum amount of compensation available.
An experienced pedestrian accident attorney from Bruning Law Firm can assist you in this endeavor. In a free case consultation, we can answer questions about your case and the other legal services we can provide if you retain us.
Read below answers to common questions St. Louis pedestrian accident victims have.
How do I obtain compensation for injuries I sustained in a St. Louis pedestrian accident?
St. Louis pedestrian accident victims can seek compensation for their injuries through a personal injury claim. The process often begins with sending a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance provider that details the accident and the expenses and impacts that you incurred.
The process also may involve:
- Settlement negotiations, in which your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to obtain a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
- Filing of a personal injury lawsuit, if you cannot settle. A lawsuit asks the court to order fair compensation.
How long do I have to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit?
In any pedestrian accident case, a claimant must file a lawsuit by the statute of limitations. In most St. Louis pedestrian accident cases, you have five years from when the injury occurred to file your claim in court. Some exceptions to this rule include cases where the injured person is a minor who can't file a claim on their own. In such cases, the statute of limitations does not begin until the child’s 18th birthday, giving them until their 23rd birthday to file a claim.
What type of compensation can I receive after a St. Louis pedestrian accident?
Individuals who have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident in St. Louis can recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Commonly claimed expenses and impacts in this type of case include:
- Medical expenses, such as the cost of emergency treatment, ambulance transport, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, and the provision of assistive devices such as a wheelchair or crutches.
- The cost of hiring someone to perform household services that you can't complete on your own due to your injury.
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from working or you can't earn what you did before the accident.
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of the enjoyment of life, and other quality-of-life impacts you have incurred because of the injury.
How do I prove who is liable for causing my injuries in a St. Louis pedestrian accident?
To prove that a driver was at fault for causing your St. Louis pedestrian accident injuries, you must establish the following elements:
- The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care to drive their vehicle safely and legally.
- They breached their duty of care when they took an action that violated the duty of care.
- This breach resulted in a pedestrian accident that injured you, and your injury caused economic and non-economic damages.
Why are pedestrian accidents more likely to injure or kill Black St. Louis residents?
According to the City of St. Louis, Black pedestrians account for more than two-thirds of the individuals injured or killed in pedestrian accidents on city roadways. According to the city, this indicates disparities in the access that predominantly Black neighborhoods have to resources and amenities, such as jobs, stores, and schools, compared to other neighborhoods.
The information also suggests that there has been a lack of investment in planning and building a safer pedestrian infrastructure in predominantly Black neighborhoods. Most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas with narrower roads and missing or deficient sidewalks, endangering those walking near busy roadways.
Is the pedestrian ever at fault for causing an accident?
Yes. St. Louis pedestrians must obey all traffic laws to protect safety and property.
These laws include:
- Obeying all traffic signals and yielding the right-of-way to other roadway users at stop signs and red lights.
- Only entering a crosswalk with a traffic signal when the signal indicates pedestrians may cross. Pedestrians automatically have the right-of-way on intersections that are not marked or in crosswalks without traffic signals.
- Walking on the sidewalk, if one is available. Otherwise, pedestrians are required to walk along the left edge of the roadway, facing opposing traffic.
- Not standing on the roadway to solicit a ride or business.
- Not entering the roadway on a coaster, sled, skis, or a toy automobile.
A pedestrian accident injured my child. Can I file a claim for him?
Yes. There are actually two avenues to compensation for St. Louis children.
- The parent filing a claim on the child’s behalf, seeking compensation for expenses related to medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other expenses and impacts. You must file this claim within file years of the accident.
- The child can file a claim for themselves, seeking the same types of compensation. The statute of limitations in this case tolls until the child’s 18th birthday, at which point they have five years to file a claim.
My husband died from injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. Can I seek compensation?
Yes. When a pedestrian dies in an accident in St. Louis, their family members can seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit against an at-fault party’s insurer. In St. Louis, the family members who can seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit include the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. If the deceased’s spouse and children are also deceased, the grandchildren can file a claim.
Through a wrongful death claim, family members can receive compensation for expenses and impacts related to the death that include:
- The cost of the funeral and burial or cremation.
- Medical bills associated with the treatment of the deceased’s final injuries.
- The value of wages and benefits the deceased would have likely earned throughout their career if they had lived.
- Conscious pain and suffering the deceased suffered between the time of their injury and the time of death.
- The value of lost support, services, care, companionship, guidance, nurturing, and consortium that the deceased provided to their loved ones.
A government employee hit me. Does this change the process?
Yes. Claims against the government in St. Louis involve a different set of rules than other types of pedestrian accident cases. For one, instead of filing directly in court, these claims are first filed with the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division. And, instead of having five years from the date of the accident to file your claim, you must submit the claim within 90 days.
If a governmental employee injured you in a pedestrian accident, protect your right to file a claim by speaking with an experienced St. Louis pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible.
How much is the average St. Louis pedestrian accident worth?
Pedestrian accidents vary widely, and so does the potential compensation you can recover in a claim. Like most personal injury cases, the vast majority of St. Louis pedestrian accident claims resolve outside of the courtroom via a settlement agreement.
The compensation you can obtain from a settlement depends on the facts of the accident, the nature of the injuries you suffered, and the impacts you have experienced as a result. Because of all these factors, there is no average value to a pedestrian accident claim.
Several factors that can influence the case’s value, such as:
- How much insurance the at-fault party has. Insurance is one of the most important determinants of the value of any claim, as it pays most personal injury settlements and awards. While Missouri allows individuals to seek compensation from an uninsured person and even use the courts to obtain a judgment against that person, it is generally very difficult to collect the compensation because most defendants simply do not have the funds to pay the claim. Instead, most people have insurance policies that cover accidents, though the limits on these policies vary widely. A policy limit might be less than your total damages.
- The severity of the injury. Accidents involving more severe injuries tend to net greater compensation, as serious injuries generally result in more medical expenses, more time missed from work, and a higher likelihood of permanent deficits with more serious impacts on the sufferer’s quality of life.
- How much the claimant was earning and where they were at in their career when the accident occurred. Lost wages and lost earning capacity are two major compensation categories. Depending on where you were in your career before the accident and the potential for growth you had, you could recover substantial compensation for lost wages and lost earning capacity.
- Your patience in waiting for a resolution. Some pedestrian accident cases involve clear liability. However, in many cases, getting the insurance company to come to a reasonable settlement that will fairly compensate you for all your expenses and impacts takes a lot of work. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and a key way they make money is by finding reasons not to pay out on claims for injuries that their insured caused. It may be some time before they yield to settle for an amount you find is fair. The settlement negotiation process starts early in the claim, but it can continue after you file a lawsuit. Often, defendants don't make the fairest settlement offers until the case is close to trial or even once the trial has already begun.
How can Bruning Law Firm help me with my pedestrian injury claim?
If a pedestrian accident injured you or your child, or a vehicle struck and killed a loved one, the legal team at Bruning Law Firm can:
- Provide a free case evaluation to answer your questions about the personal injury claim process.
- Determine potentially liable parties and insurance resources.
- Estimate the value of your claim.
- Issue a demand package to an at-fault party’s insurance provider.
- Negotiate a settlement with insurance providers.
- Gather evidence to prove how your accident occurred, who was responsible, the severity of your injury, and its impacts on your life.
- File your claim in court within the statute of limitations.
- Litigate your case.
- Collect your award or settlement.
- Charge a contingency fee that allows you to withhold payment for our services unless we achieve a positive outcome for you.
For your free case evaluation, contact us today.
Our St. Louis Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Are By Your Side When You Need it the Most
After a pedestrian accident in St. Louis, the only thing that matters is your recovery. We know this is a difficult time. You do not just need legal help, you need someone who can help you navigate your treatment options and mitigate your financial concerns.
At The Bruning Law Firm, our team of legal professionals will answer your questions and keep you informed throughout your case. If a pedestrian accident injured you or someone you love, you have rights. Do not wait to get the help you deserve. To learn more and to schedule a free initial consultation, contact the St. Louis pedestrian accident lawyers at the Bruning Law Firm at (314) 735-8100.
"AJ and team were so delightful to work with. They were very responsive to all emails and phone calls. I always knew which step we were on in the process of getting my lawsuit settled. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the amount the settlement was for was twice that of the original coverage of the insurance company. I don’t know how they did it but I am very pleased with the service they provided. Hands down easiest process, and people to deal with. 100% recommend if you have a personal injury case to be worked. Hopefully I won’t need their services again, but if I do I won’t hesitate to call." - Amanda W.
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