While attempting to cross a street in his wheelchair, a San Antonio man was recently struck by a car and seriously injured. Liability, in this case, is unclear as of yet, but in many car accidents throughout Texas and the United States, wheelchair occupants are injured due to the negligence of drivers. Like bicyclists and pedestrians on foot, wheelchair occupants may be entitled to compensation for damages in these cases.
Prevalence of Wheelchair User Injuries in Car Accidents
Data regarding wheelchair occupants in car accidents is relatively sparse compared to other categories of car crash victims, but a 2015 study sheds some light on the issue. By reviewing police reports and news stories, researchers estimated that over 500 wheelchair occupants were killed in car crashes from 2006 to 2012, indicating a significantly higher fatality rate than the general population.
The study also found that men between the ages of 50 and 64 were the most susceptible to fatal car accident injuries. Intersections and places without traffic control were common locations, and low visibility of the wheelchair user was also a frequent contributing factor.
Preventing Injuries to Wheelchair Users
Drivers, infrastructure developers, and wheelchair users themselves can all help to reduce the risk of accidents between motor vehicles and wheelchairs. Drivers should be sure to travel at safe speeds, stay alert and aware of wheelchair occupants just as they would other pedestrians, and take special care at intersections. Communities can continue to improve the accessibility of roadways for people with disabilities, ensuring that sidewalks, crosswalks, and ramps are safe for wheelchairs. Wheelchair users should try to cross the street at crosswalks whenever possible, ensure their chairs are equipped with lights or reflective materials, and take extra care when crossing the street at night or during high traffic times.
If you or a loved one is injured by a driver while traveling in a wheelchair, an attorney can help you pursue a personal injury claim. We will investigate the accident to uncover any evidence of the driver’s negligence, perhaps due to speeding, drunk driving, or distracted driving, and use it to bolster your case in settlement negotiations or at trial. We can also help you demonstrate that the accident has led to injuries or further disability beyond the condition that required the use of a wheelchair in the first place.
Contact a New Braunfels Car Accident Attorney
At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we believe that it is important for people of all physical abilities to be able to safely use the road, and we will help you hold a driver accountable when their negligence encroaches on your safety. Contact a New Braunfels personal injury lawyer today at 830-606-0404 for a free consultation.