It may go without saying, but when a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian, in the majority of cases, the pedestrian is going to be the loser in this battle. When the vehicle involved in the collision is an SUV, the stakes are even higher and the risk and severity of the injuries suffered by the unprotected victim are typically much worse. As a Rhode Island personal injury attorney, David Tapalian has seen serious and often life-threatening injuries occur when a person on foot is hit by a moving vehicle. Frequently, the extent of the injuries the person suffers, and their risk of death, corelates to the size of the SUV or truck. A study last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) backed up this assumption when it looked at which vehicles were more dangerous in pedestrian car accidents and reported that sports utility vehicles were found to kill and injure pedestrians more frequently than other types of cars.
IIHS Study Findings
Considering that SUVs make up almost 50% of motor vehicle sales in the U.S. each year and are projected to continually rise, and sedans make up less than a quarter of sales, the study findings are daunting. The primary difference between getting hit by a smaller vehicle versus a sports utility vehicle occurs when a collision takes place at an intermediate speed. For example:
- When traveling at 40 miles per hour:
- A car hitting a pedestrian will result in death 46% of the time.
- An SUV traveling at the same speed will kill a pedestrian almost 100% of the time.
Based on the IIHS findings, when the vehicle traveled at lower or higher speeds, there was less of a difference between the danger of SUV’s and cars. One reason SUV crashes are riskier to pedestrians is because of the traditional SUV’s more “boxy” shape in front. The resulting injuries caused by the larger vehicle’s bumper, headlights, and grill are more damaging because they are higher off the ground and these parts of the vehicle typically hit a person’s chest or pelvis as opposed to just their lower extremities. This style of vehicle is also more likely to throw a person forward than a smaller, differently designed car is.
What Vehicle Manufacturers Are Doing
Over the years, a number of auto manufacturers have revamped the designs of their sports utility vehicles to be more car-like and feature a more sloped front bumper. Although other manufacturers began lowering bumpers and other heavy parts, the rate of accidents has not significantly decreased because the location of the parts is not as damaging as the actual shape of the front of the car. The IIHS says that manufacturers need to do more to combat these design issues that have resulted in pedestrian injuries and deaths, especially with the popularity of sports utility vehicles on the road.
How to Protect Yourself from a Rhode Island Pedestrian Accident
As the driver of any type of vehicle, we all have a responsibility to remain free of distractions and stay strictly focused on the road. As a pedestrian, there are also ways to minimize the risk of being hit by an SUV or other type of vehicle. Firstly, when available, always utilize designated crosswalks or walk on sidewalks, and heed the Rhode Island traffic signals around you. Make sure you are focused on your surroundings, look away from your phone or other distractions, and look both ways before darting out into the street. You want to also be facing the line of traffic when you are walking along the side of a road. You will see cars coming at you, ideally with enough time to move away, as opposed to unseen vehicles potentially injuring you from behind. Wearing bright colored clothing and reflective gear will also make you more visible to motorists.
Attorney Tapalian Can Get You Compensation After a Motor Vehicle and Pedestrian Accident
If you have been hit by a car, truck, or SUV, in a Rhode Island auto accident, seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. After any type of injury, it’s critical to seek immediate medical care, then contact a highly respected and top-rated personal injury law firm like Tapalian Law. When an automobile strikes an innocent pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle who caused the collision may be held responsible for the injuries and damages they caused. If the at-fault driver is found negligent, you may be eligible for money for your injuries including medical bills, hospital costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If a car accident results in death, certain family members of the victim may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim for compensation if the driver was found to be acting carelessly. Attorney David Tapalian has over 20 years of experience helping victims of personal injury in car accidents throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Florida. With a main office located in Providence with easily accessible parking, and offices in Warwick, Seekonk, and Fort Lauderdale, we are ready to help you right away. Call Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000, or contact us online to set up your free consultation.