Car accidents involving pedestrians are a cause of serious injuries. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2017. That’s about one death every 88 minutes. An estimated 137,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal crash-related injuries in 2017. Our experienced car accident attorneys have helped many clients who were injured when struck by a car as a pedestrian. Here is one recent example.
On a late fall evening, Cindy Ewing drives to meet a friend at a local restaurant for dinner. It is raining heavy and dark, but she is lucky enough to find a parking spot along the curb across the street from the restaurant. She exits her vehicle and starts to cross as a vehicle to her left starts to pull to the curb to park behind her vehicle. When she gets to the middle of the road, she is struck by a third vehicle coming from her left that drove around the vehicle that was pulling in behind her. The vehicle that hit Ms. Ewing is operated by Tony Prescott, who lives out of state. He claims that he never saw Ms. Ewing prior to his vehicle hitting her. The responding police officer notes in his report that Ms. Ewing was not in a crosswalk even though there were crosswalks within about 20 feet in either direction of where she chose to cross the street. The officer further notes that with the heavy rain and streetlight glare, there was low visibility. The officer does not cite Mr. Prescott for violating any traffic law.
Mr. Prescott’s vehicle struck the left hip and lower back area of Ms. Ewing’s body as she crossed the street in front of him .This caused her to fall to her right onto the street. Ms. Ewing sustained various injuries which included a hairline fracture in her right knee, as well as injury to the left hip and low back area. She was transported from the scene by ambulance to the local hospital. Upon being discharged by the hospital that evening, she went home to rest.
Ms. Ewing’s injuries kept her out of work for about a month as a waitress at a popular restaurant chain. Fortunately, her right knee fracture healed well over a relatively short period of time; however, her left hip and lower back injury persisted and required treatment for over one year. Ms. Ewing initially saw her primary doctor who referred her to a local orthopedic doctor that she saw several times. She had x-rays and MRI’s of her low back and left hip, and attended two rounds of physical therapy that lasted for 7 months. She was referred to Pain Management and had two painful injections in her left hip that helped to reduce her pain. She concluded her treatment by seeing a chiropractor for over 4 months. When she stopped treating 16 months after being hit, she had resumed her normal activities but still occasionally experienced discomfort in her left hip and low back.
At that point we presented the claim to Mr. Prescott’s insurance company for all of Ms. Ewing’s damages. After a few weeks spent evaluating the claim, the adjuster made an underwhelming offer to settle the claim, which we rejected. In support of the offer was the contention that Ms. Ewing was at least partially responsible for being hit because she was not in the crosswalk, especially in light of the heavy rain and darkness at night. The primary defense, though, appeared to be that from reviewing the medical records she made a good recovery from her injuries, and that being in her mid-60’s she likely already had aches and pains most of us get later in life. Keep in mind that this was pre-litigation, so Ms. Ewing had not had the opportunity to tell her story at a deposition. At this point, to prove the full extent of her injuries and that she had not completely healed, I set her up for an examination with Dr. Jones, who was another orthopedic doctor in the Boston area with whom she had not treated. Dr. Jones reviewed all the medical records and examined her. He opined in his report that she never had any prior issues with her hip and low back, and the injury and residual issues with her hip and low back would likely be long lasting and permanent from which she may develop arthritis in the future.
We forwarded Dr. Jones’ report to Mr. Prescott’s insurer. After they had a chance to review it and re-evaluate the claim, we resumed settlement negotiations. After about a week of some back and forth, I settled Ms. Ewing’s claim for $87,500, which was over double what the initial offer was some months prior.
In order to protect the privacy of the injured person and witnesses, all names have been changed. Any resemblance to names of real persons, past or present, is merely coincidental and not intended.