Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

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Wheelchair pedestrians more likely to be killed by cars

According to a new study, wheelchair users in California and nationwide are at much greater risk of being struck and killed by a car than other pedestrians. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Georgetown University, was published in the BMJ Open journal.

In order to determine how frequently wheelchair pedestrians are killed by cars in the United States, researchers examined fatality data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They also searched for newspaper reports of wheelchair traffic deaths on the LexisNexis online database. They discovered that approximately 528 wheelchair users died on U.S. roadways between 2006 and 2012. Most accidents occurred at intersections. The also found that five times as many men were killed as women.

Overall, researchers determined that wheelchair pedestrians were 36 percent more likely to be killed in collisions with cars than other types of pedestrians. To make roadways safer for wheelchair users, the authors of the study suggest that cities and towns build their infrastructures to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They also urged city planners to think of wheelchair users when they design community sidewalks. Finally, they state that drivers should always be on the lookout for wheelchair users.

When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, there are often serious injuries. Victims of a pedestrian accident may suffer broken bones, back and neck injuries, head trauma or brain damage. However, an attorney may be able to help an accident victim recover their medical expenses and other damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver that struck them. Likewise, an attorney could help families who lost a loved one in a fatal car crash by filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver.

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