For the most part, San Francisco is a pedestrian-friendly city. Public transportation options abound, so those who choose not to drive or own a car can get around fairly easily by train, bus, cable car or on foot. Of course, they still must share public spaces with thousands of cars, whose drivers are just as eager to get where they need to be. Pedestrians and drivers must keep an eye out for each other, especially as they use the same roads.
An accident that happened in San Francisco over the weekend appears to be the result of a driver's failure to see a pedestrian. A 54-year-old woman was crossing the street at an intersection in the South of Market neighborhood on Saturday when an SUV hit her. The vehicle was making a left turn at the time. Although it's not clear how fast the SUV was traveling at the time of the accident, the impact was severe enough that the woman was critically injured. She suffered injuries to her brain that are considered life-threatening.
Fortunately, the driver, a 60-year-old man, stopped immediately after the accident and has been cooperating with police. It's likely that he wasn't watching for pedestrians as he made the turn, even though the woman was in a dedicated crosswalk.
It's too early to say how quickly the woman will recover. If she survives, she may need extensive rehabilitation and therapy to treat her brain injuries. This type of medical care, in addition to all of the other hospital expenses she's likely to accrue, usually isn't fully covered by health insurance, even under "good" policies.
There are too many stories of people who have been financially ravaged by medical costs after falling victim to an accident or illness through no fault of their own. And the inability to work only compounds the problem. It's not clear whether the victim in this accident has a job, but a traumatic brain injury could prevent her from going back to work permanently, and Social Security retirement benefits, which could provide a fraction of the income she'll need, are still years away.
These are the financial worries of many people who have been seriously injured in accidents, and the reasons for considering a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. The goal is not retribution, but survival.
Source: CBS San Francisco, "Pedestrian Critically Hurt In San Francisco Crash," Nov. 13, 2012
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