Depending on where you live in Tennessee, walking is a great way to get around. It’s free, good exercise, and good for the environment. And most of the time, it’s safe. However, pedestrian injuries in Tennessee are common. In 2021, over a thousand pedestrians were involved in car crashes. And over the past ten years, well over a thousand people have been killed in Tennessee pedestrian accidents. According to information from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, the number of pedestrian deaths has steadily climbed, with 178 pedestrian fatalities in 2021.
At the law firm of Batson Nolan PLC, our dedicated team of Tennessee pedestrian accident lawyers helps accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. Since the firm was founded in 1860, we’ve helped thousands of individuals and families obtain the money they need to begin moving on with their lives after a serious accident.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accidents are unique from other types of motor vehicle collisions because pedestrians are not encased in a steel frame. Thus, when a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the accident victim is often thrown into the air or onto the ground. This often results in serious, life-changing injuries.
Here are some of the most common pedestrian injuries in Tennessee.
Head and Brain Injuries
Unlike other vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians do not wear helmets. This increases the chance of a serious head injury, such as a traumatic brain injury. While some head injuries are immediately apparent, that is not always the case. Especially in situations involving traumatic brain injuries, an accident victim may not realize the extent of the damage. Thus, anyone who has been injured in a Tennessee pedestrian accident should be immediately checked out by a doctor.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissues consist of tendons, muscles, ligaments, and other structures that surround the organs and serve as connection points for the bones. If the body experiences trauma, these soft tissues can become damaged. Common soft tissue injuries after a pedestrian accident include whiplash, strains, and sprains. While some soft tissue injuries heal naturally over time, others require medical intervention.
The forces involved in a pedestrian accident are easily enough to break any bone in the human body. However, due to the way that a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the most frequently broken bones in a pedestrian accident include:
- Leg or ankle,
- Arm or wrist,
- Neck, and
The severity of a broken bone following a car accident can vary significantly. However, if left untreated, broken bones can present a host of long-term complications.
Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is one of the most important structures in the human body. The spinal cord transmits nerve impulses throughout the body, enabling movement. The spine is protected by the spinal cord, which consists of more than 20 small bones called vertebrae. In a pedestrian accident, the vertebrae can fracture or break, resulting in bone fragments lodging in the spinal cord. This can cause permanent nerve damage, which may lead to paralysis. Pedestrian accidents also frequently cause the cushion-like discs that rest between the vertebrae to become damaged. This is referred to as a herniated, bulging, or slipped disc, which is characterized by excruciating pain, weakness, and a limited range of motion.
Sadly, well over 100 pedestrians each year in Tennessee pay the ultimate price for another driver’s negligence. Given the lack of protection pedestrians have in the event of an accident, these collisions are much more likely to result in fatal injuries. When a person dies as the result of a Tennessee pedestrian accident, their family may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Tennessee Revised Statutes § 20-5-107 outlines the procedure for filing a wrongful death claim. For one year after the accident victim’s death, only a surviving spouse can bring a claim. The only exceptions to this are:
- The surviving spouse permits the heirs of the victim to bring the claim or
- The accident victim did not have a surviving spouse.
If the accident victim does not have a surviving spouse, then the victim’s children or designated beneficiary may bring the wrongful death lawsuit.
However, in the second year following the victim’s death, any of the following parties can file a wrongful death claim:
- The surviving spouse,
- Any surviving children,
- The surviving spouse and surviving children, or
- The victim’s designated beneficiary.
Once any of these parties files a claim, the remaining parties have up to 90 days to join the lawsuit.
Recovering Compensation After a Tennessee Pedestrian Accident
Individuals injured in a pedestrian accident can seek monetary compensation for their injuries from the driver who hit them. To successfully bring a personal injury claim after a pedestrian accident, a victim must establish the four basic elements of a negligence claim:
- Duty – Did the driver owe you a duty of care?
- Breach – Did the driver’s actions violate the duty owed to you?
- Causation – Were the driver’s actions the cause of your injuries?
- Damages – Did you suffer economic or non-economic damages as a result of the accident?
If each of these elements is met, the driver may be responsible for your accident-related damages. While every case is unique, courts frequently award the following damages following a pedestrian accident lawsuit:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Decrease in earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering,
- Decrease in quality of life, and
- Emotional distress.
It is essential to identify the full extent of your damages, as you only get one chance to bring an injury lawsuit after a Tennessee pedestrian accident.
Contact Batson Nolan to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries in a Tennessee pedestrian accident, contact Batson Nolan PLC for immediate assistance. At Batson Nolan PLC, we provide the individualized attention of a small law firm but with the experience and resources of a much larger firm. We can handle every aspect of your claim, allowing you to focus on your recovery. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury attorneys, call today. You can also reach our attorneys through our online contact form.