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Hit-and-run accident in Willimantic shows dangers for pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents injure or kill thousands of people throughout the country every year. Injuries frequently include brain injuries and broken bones.

During the warmer months, many people opt to walk outside, either as a method of transportation or as a nice way to get exercise in the fresh air. Pedestrians are a common sight during the spring, summer and fall in Connecticut, when the weather is nice enough to be outside. Busy city life is also conducive to pedestrian traffic, especially when there have been efforts to create safer places to walk, such as wide sidewalks and clearly marked crosswalks.

Unfortunately, people are seriously injured and killed no matter how pedestrian-friendly their cities are. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36 pedestrians were killed in Connecticut in 2013. Numerous factors may contribute to people being hit by cars while walking, including driver inattention or weather and road conditions.

Common pedestrian accident factors

Pedestrians are far more likely than the occupants of a vehicle to be killed in an accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When it comes to facing two or more tons of fast-moving metal and machinery, pedestrians hardly stand a chance. Most collisions that injure pedestrians occur in busy urban settings, at non-intersection spots and at night when driver visibility is limited. Children, senior citizens and alcohol-impaired pedestrians are among those most at risk of being injured or in fatal accidents.

It would come as no surprise that pedestrians' injuries are often catastrophic. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, these injures commonly include:

•· Traumatic brain injuries

•· Fractures and lacerations to the extremities, particularly the legs

•· Internal injuries and bleeding, especially in the pelvic area

A recent accident in Willimantic illustrated how quickly accidents like these can occur. Last June, the driver of a pickup truck appeared to lose control and swerved onto a pedestrian walkway where several people were walking, including a young child. Most of the pedestrians got out of the way in time, but the truck struck one person before hitting a fence and a pole, and then continued on down Route 32. The injured pedestrian was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities were still searching for the hit-and-run driver of the truck.

Compensation may be available after an accident

If the pickup driver is found, it would not be unreasonable to expect the victim to pursue compensation for his or her injuries. Medical bills resulting from accidents can be costly. Recovery from a serious accident might also take months or years. If you or a loved one were involved in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent or intoxicated driver, you may be eligible for compensation. It is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.