Seniors account for 13% of the total population in the United States as per the US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly 16% of traffic fatalities in 2009 involved people aged 65 and above. This same age group also made up for 8% of the total population injured in traffic accidents during the same year.
As many as 775 fatal pedestrian accidents involved people aged 65 and above in 2009. This means nearly 18.9% pedestrians that were killed during the year were elderly. Seniors are more susceptible to fatal injuries when involved in a traffic accident. They are also at a higher risk of being involved in an accident in the first place because they move slower and are less likely to cross an intersection before the signal changes.
Pedestrian accidents almost always involve a fall. The elderly are more susceptible to getting fatally injured in fall accidents as compared to younger people. It is important for the loved one or family member of an elderly injured in a pedestrian accident to take prompt legal action. You can learn more about your legal options by getting in touch with the attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP in New York.
Elderly Pedestrian Accidents in NYC
Most seniors have personal injury protection (PIP) and have their medicals bills and lost wages (if any) following a pedestrian accident paid from the insurance. Also, elderly that don’t have insurance or are not driving when the accident takes place can seek compensation under the PIP coverage of another person in their household.
Unfortunately, medical bills where seniors are concerned tend to be larger. They are at a higher risk of severe injuries and broken bones, which means they may hit the “tort threshold”. You can file for a personal injury claim when you meet the tort threshold to recover compensation from an at-fault party that caused the accident.
The driver whether at-fault partially or completely can be held responsible for all or some part of the damages incurred by the senior victim. Compensation may include recovery for lost wages, medical costs, and non-economic damage as well. This can include emotional distress as well as pain and suffering.
In case the elderly victim dies because of the accident, their families can sue the at-fault party for wrongful death damages. However, whether or not you receive personal injury damages for a pedestrian accident involving an elderly depends on proving negligence. Your pedestrian accident attorney in New York can help you prove negligence by using experts and gathering incriminating evidence showing that any other reasonable driver in similar conditions would have exhibited greater care.
Pedestrian Injuries are Catastrophic
Everybody is taught to look both ways before attempting to cross a road. This is because there have been several incidents when vehicles have hit pedestrians. Pedestrian injuries can be caused by oncoming motor vehicles and bicycles.
Anyone who gets hit by a moving motor vehicle is prone to sustaining several catastrophic personal injuries. They may even suffer wrongful death. This is why the government has placed strict laws to govern pedestrian safety.
Senior Pedestrians are the Most Vulnerable
With age, people start having slower reactions. Their body also goes through wear and tear, making it more susceptible to sustaining traumatic injuries. Injuries in elderly include pelvic fractures, femur fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Changes taking place in the human body with age were recently analyzed in a large study. These were the findings:
There are several sensory changes in the body as you grow older. People start developing issues, like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration which makes seeing difficult. Older individuals find it difficult to cross the streets quickly. Hearing loss is another major issue with a significant number of elderly suffering from it. This makes it difficult for them hear a bike or car.
Older people lose quick decision making abilities. Their brain is unable to process information quickly, which decreases their processing speed. Risk of falling is another important factor. UFOV tests have been employed in the past to study these sensory issues.
UFOV test is a computer screening where individuals are tested on their interpretation and decision making abilities based on visual images. Elderly individuals were found to take longer on the test.
There are several physical changes as you age. There is a major decline in muscle strength and mass in the body of elderly individuals which is only exacerbated with an increase in body fat. This means that the body is unable to support as well as it should. The elderly find it difficult and longer to move their limbs, sit, or stand up.
The spinal cord in elderly people begins slouching in a kyphosis posture. This makes it harder to climb stairs or walk. It also makes it more difficult to cross intersections. The inflammatory condition doesn’t allow for easy movement of limbs which is necessary for crossing a street.
Decay of Executive Functioning
It is proven that seniors struggle with executive functioning. This refers to the skills requires for receiving, processing, interpreting, and making judgment calls based on the facts and information presented. This is the primary reason why seniors may even cross a street where there is no crosswalk or in a situation where there are several cars on the road.
There is a significant increase in the number of fall incidents in the senior population because of this inhibition decline. A decline in executive functioning also means that seniors may struggle with making quick adjustments while crossing the street if circumstances change.
Time to Make the Streets Safer for the Elderly
There are various solutions that can be employed for reducing the number of pedestrian accident injuries as well as slip and fall accidents sustained in the elderly population while crossing a street in New York. This includes creating outreach programs and changing the present road design to favor senior pedestrians.
It may be challenging to create a systemic educational program and direct it at every senior individual. However, most elderly visit the doctor regularly. They should be instructed on taking steps to improve their balance and flexibility. This can go a long way in mitigating some of the challenges faced in the physical area.
Roads should have increased signage at crosswalks and intersections to help seniors cross the street safely. It is now time to make the environment more conducive to seniors when it comes to road safety. Sidewalks must have hazards or obstacles removed. They should also be made wider. This refers to removing leaves whenever they fall on the ground.
It also means cleaning up snow before it can freeze into ice. Sidewalks should have more seating options to allow elderly to stop and rest. These types of steps can go a long way in keeping a senior pedestrian safe on the streets. You should get in touch with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in NYC immediately if you have been injured as a pedestrian.
Compensation for Elderly Pedestrian Accidents
Typically, an elderly pedestrian would be eligible to receive damages for accident-related injuries when the injuries or the accident did not occur because of a fault of their own. In New York, individuals that cross an intersection with the light are mostly not considered to be at fault. In other cases, it is possible for the pedestrian to be partially negligent.
For instance, if the elderly begins crossing an intersection with the light but is unable to cross over completely before the light changes, they are not completely at-fault. They may be partially at-fault with the city taking responsibility for not providing adequate time for an individual to cross.
Types of Damages That Can Be Recovered
Injured pedestrians can get compensated for various types of damages. This includes their total out-of-pocket care costs (medical and personal care). For elderly pedestrians, this may include the cost of home care assistance or the time spent in recovery in a nursing home. Home care assistance may involve the cost of an aide to help them perform their daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
In case where permanent injury is caused as a direct result of the pedestrian accident, victims can be compensated for home modifications and medical equipment, such as bathroom accessibility re-designs and wheelchair ramps.
Finally, pedestrian accident victims can also seek general damages regarding major disruptions in their lives, such as pain and suffering and emotional damages. These non-economic costs can be twice or thrice the total personal and medical care costs incurred.
Seek Legal Assistance from an Accomplished NYC Pedestrian Injury Attorney
You should have your claim reviewed immediately if you or your family member has been injured in a pedestrian accident. This is particularly important if the victim is an elderly since the costs related with care and recovery can be significant in their case. The experienced New York pedestrian accident lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help you understand available legal options and whether you have a claim.
We offer contingency representation, which means you don’t need to pay us anything till we win the lawsuit for you. Get in touch with us today by calling at 1-800-660-2264 to speak with a competent pedestrian accident attorney. Schedule a free consultation here.
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