The Potential Consequences For Wheelchair-Bound Accident Victims
One sad reality is that accidents occur every day that result in innocent adults and children being injured or killed while operating their wheelchair. Most of the time, wheelchair-bound pedestrians are operating their equipment legally and are simply using the streets and sidewalks to travel from one destination to another. And sadly, when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, wheelchair user or not, there is usually no question about who is going to suffer the most tragic results.
What Example of the Potential Consequences For Wheelchair-Bound Accident Victims Was Recently in the News?
The Tampa Bay Times recently reported that a 56-year-old pedestrian and his 34-year-old wheelchair-bound companion were hit by a 74-year-old woman who was driving a 2012 Mitsubishi SUV on a recent Sunday night. Tragically, the 56-year-old pedestrian was killed when the SUV collided with the two pedestrians while he and his companion attempted to cross the road on U.S. 19 in Hudson. His wheelchair-bound companion and the driver of the car received minor injuries in the accident.
While the wheelchair-bound companion in this case was fortunate enough to walk away with only minor injuries, this is not always the case.
How Often Are Wheelchair-bound Pedestrians the Victims of Accident Fatalities?
The results of one study conducted by Georgetown University indicate that wheelchair users are actually more likely to suffer fatal injuries in vehicle-pedestrian collisions than non-wheelchair users. The Georgetown researchers found that over 500 wheelchair-bound pedestrians died in traffic crashes between 2006 and 2012. This grim statistic indicates that those confined to a wheelchair have a 36 percent higher risk of death by car crash than other pedestrians.
Interestingly, men who use wheelchairs are five times more likely than women to die in pedestrian crashes. Additionally, in almost half of the cases studies by researchers, pedestrians in wheelchairs were involved in an accident involving an intersection, and four of every ten occurred where traffic was reportedly not well controlled.
What Factors Are Contributing to the Accidents that Put Wheelchair-Bound Pedestrians in Danger?
Because a large percentage of collisions take place at intersections without crosswalks or traffic controls, there is a blatant correlation between a lack of pedestrian safety measures and fatal vehicle-pedestrian accidents. Other factors that contribute to this kind of accident include:
- Broken traffic signals
- Poor lighting causing low visibility
- Lack of sidewalks forcing pedestrians into the street
- Overgrown bushes blocking drivers’ view of the sidewalk
Have You or a Loved One Suffered a Car Accident Injury While Crossing the Road as a Wheelchair-Bound Pedestrian?
If you or your loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it may feel like you and your family members are the only people who can relate to your situation. However, if you have been injured by a motor vehicle, whether as a pedestrian, driver, passenger, or wheelchair operator, you have legal rights. There are actually many people who have been in situations like yours and we have helped many of them hold the responsible parties accountable. The South Florida car accident attorneys at Leifer & Ramirez have over two decades of experience assisting car accident victims and we can help you begin pursuing the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.