In 2007, the California Journal of Emergency Medicine published a study called “Pedestrian Injuries: Emergency Care Considerations.” The study describes a car wreck impact with the human body in stark terms. Then it relates the common injuries that result.
Brace Yourself for Impact
The study describes both adult and child pedestrian impacts.
For adults, it concluded the typical adult pedestrian crash actually produced three distinct impacts: the car bumper hits the lower leg, then the thigh hits the upper edge of the hood, causing the upper body to rotate and hit between the head and shoulders and hood or windshield.
As you might expect, speed is a key factor affecting the power of the crash. The study says at low speeds, the pedestrian stays on the hood. But increased speed carries terrible consequences. As speed increases, increased body momentum can cause the legs to rotate above the head before falling back on the hood. At higher speeds, pedestrians can even summersault onto the windshield or roof after head impact. The highest speeds created the most fearsome results—pedestrians can fly over the car, then hit the ground or other road objects as they slide, roll, or bounce.
For children, the impact is lower on the body, closer to the head and neck.
Common Pedestrian Traffic Accident Injuries for Adults
The study describes:
- Traumatic brain injury and head trauma. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can be life-threatening, often requiring sensitive medical testing. The head is unprotected for a pedestrian as he flies up onto or over the car, then back onto the road.
- Broken legs. The force of the collision goes right through the victim’s leg. The bone can’t withstand the force, and shatters.
- Broken pelvis. The massive force and speed of a vehicle can crush the exposed bones in this region.
- Torn knee ligaments. Impact can tear the internal structures of the knee, requiring surgery.
Common Pedestrian Traffic Accident Injuries for Children
As you might expect children’s pedestrian injuries are often tragic. The most common are:
- Traumatic brain injuries. These could range from a concussion—which we now know is a serious injury—to a life-changing brain bleed or physical brain damage from which a child can never fully recover.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. These include bruising, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Chest injuries. This category includes broken ribs, one of the hardest injuries to treat—and the most agonizing.
- Abdominal injuries. These can be especially fearsome, because they often require serious operations to repair torn or dislocated internal organs.
- Neck dislocations. The study cited one database showing these resulted from child pedestrian collisions. This frightening injury threatens damage to the spinal cord, which no child should have to deal with.
Pedestrians Hurt in Wrecks Have Rights
If you or your child got hurt as a pedestrian—a category that isn’t limited to walkers—you have rights to recover from the at-fault driver for your injuries. If a child is involved, the legal system takes special care, which does mean the process can be more complicated.
If you have questions about your rights or how you can get your medical bills paid after a pedestrian traffic accident, start an email or live chat right where you are feel or free to call us at (888) 230-1841 or (864) 582-0416. We would be glad to set up a FREE, no-obligation meeting with a car accident lawyer to answer your questions.
For more on your rights, download our free report on South Carolina car accidents, written by one of our lawyers.