Share of Pedestrian Deaths Attributable to SUVs on the Rise

From Larry Nussbaum, a Pedestrian Accident Attorney with the Nussbaum Law Group, P.C. in Boston.

As the economy has rebounded, consumers have gone back to their SUV-loving ways, leading to an increase in the number of SUVs on the road. Unfortunately, researchers have found that pedestrian deaths in vehicle-involved accidents have increased at the same time, and the evidence shows that SUVs are responsible for nearly 40 percent of all pedestrian deaths in those accidents.

The reason, researchers say, tends to do with how an SUV strikes a pedestrian. If a passenger car hits a pedestrian, the impact tends to be on the lower legs and body.  With SUV strikes, the impact tends to be much higher – in the chest, neck, and head area. Injuries to these areas can be much more life-threatening.

Not only do SUVs cause more fatalities, but the injuries associated with those impacts where the pedestrian does not die are often much more extreme and life-altering. From a long-term standpoint, injuries to the neck and head can result in paralysis or traumatic brain injuries, which can severely limit an individual’s abilities.

With any pedestrian accident, the question becomes how much compensation will be necessary to make the individual as whole as possible. Will they need ongoing medical attention? Physical therapy? Can the person continue working or are they unlikely to be able to return to work? How drastically different will their lifestyle be in the future? Most of these questions are normally resolved as part of any legal settlement.

In Massachusetts, individuals can seek recovery for damages and personal injury from the responsible party when the individual:

1)    Has injuries that require more than $2,000 in medical care;
2)    Has broken bones,
3)    Has an injury to the eyes or ears; and,
4)    Has permanent scarring or disfigurement from the incident.

If any of these criteria are met, the injured individual has the legal standing to file a lawsuit for recovery of those damages. Courts and juries may consider the economic damages (lost wages and medical bills) and noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of mobility) in determining how much compensation to award an individual. However, in order to reach the point of assessing damages, the court or jury must first find that the at-fault individual was actually at fault.

What the above outlines is the importance of a skilled Pedestrian Accident Attorney to help anyone who has either suffered an injury from an SUV-involved accident or has lost a loved one to such an event. An attorney will work to gather evidence showing fault and the basis for any claimed damages. Ensuring that such information is presented at trial will increase the likelihood of a successful claim.

Larry Nussbaum is a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney and founder of the Nussbaum Law Group. He handles cases involving car accidents, bike accidents, wrongful death, and pedestrian accidents. He can be found on Yelp and LinkedIn.

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