In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment after a pedestrian accident, injured pedestrians should retain qualified legal counsel to represent them as soon as possible. If the insurance company sees that you are representing yourself, they will likely take advantage of you and offer you little-to-no compensation for your injuries. On the other hand, by retaining a skilled lawyer, you increase your chances of recovering favorable monetary damages in your case.
A lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine who caused it. Your lawyer can then file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Finally, your lawyer can negotiate your claim with the settlement adjuster and, if necessary, file a lawsuit and litigate it to a conclusion in court. A pedestrian accident lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the damages you ultimately recover for the injuries you suffered in your pedestrian accident.
How do Pedestrian Accidents Occur in the First Place?
In many circumstances, pedestrian accidents happen because drivers are careless or negligent in some way.
These accidents may occur anywhere that pedestrians are present, including parking lots, parking garages, crosswalks, and sidewalks.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Moving violations. When drivers violate traffic laws, especially by speeding near traffic intersections and in parking lots and garages, they increase their chances of striking a pedestrian. A driver who speeds in one of these areas may not have time to stop their vehicle until it’s too late.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving means failing to watch the road. A distracted driver might be texting on a cellular phone/tablet or fiddling with a GPS navigation system. Loud music and small children in the vehicle can also distract drivers. When a driver becomes distracted, they may not notice a pedestrian walking in the vicinity, negligently striking them and causing them to fall on the ground.
- Failing to use rear view and side view mirrors. Pedestrians are always present in parking lots and parking garages. Therefore, when drivers back out of parking spaces, they must always use their rearview and side view mirrors. When a driver fails to use their mirrors effectively, they may not notice a pedestrian walking behind their vehicle, negligently striking the pedestrian and causing them injuries.
- Intoxicated driving. A driver is legally intoxicated when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Alberta imposes administrative sanctions if a driver has a BAC of 0.05 percent or higher. Commercial drivers and minors who are under 21 years of age must follow stricter standards. Alcohol severely impairs a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. They may lack focus and concentration, suffer physical symptoms, and experience delayed reaction time. Consequently, they may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid striking a pedestrian in the vicinity.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that resulted from driver negligence, you have legal options. A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer in your area can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your accident and explain what those options are. Your lawyer can then help you select the best course of action to maximize the compensation you recover in your case.
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accident victims can suffer severe injuries, some of which are permanent. The injuries that a pedestrian accident victim sustains typically depend upon the impact force and how the victim falls to the ground. If the victim’s body strikes the ground or another vehicle directly, they might suffer a broken bone, traumatic head injury, soft tissue injury, cut, abrasion, bruise, spinal cord injury, or paralysis injury. A high-speed pedestrian accident may cause the accident victim’s premature death.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care center right away. While there, the medical provider on duty can order the necessary imaging studies, including CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, to determine the accident victim’s medical condition and render an accurate diagnosis.
If you require surgery or other serious procedure to treat your injuries, the medical provider can schedule you for that procedure immediately. Finally, the responding provider can make recommendations about future medical care, such as with an orthopedic doctor, physical therapist, or neurologist.
Seeking immediate medical treatment is essential to prevent the worsening of your injuries. Moreover, if you fail to seek prompt medical treatment, or if you fail to treat continuously for your injuries, the insurance company will likely use that against you. They may contend that you did not take your medical treatment seriously or that you did not suffer severe injuries in the first place. In either case, the insurance company may limit the compensation they offer you to settle your personal injury claim.
A knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer in your area can be beneficial while you are treating your injuries. During this time, your lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your case by gathering up your medical treatment records—along with lost wage documents from your employer. Once you finish treating, your lawyer can submit a complete settlement demand package, along with a demand letter, to the insurance company and begin negotiating a claim settlement on your behalf.
Deadline to File a Claim or Lawsuit Arising from a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accident victims do not have an unlimited time period in which to file a claim or lawsuit for damages. Instead, they only have two years from their accident date to take the appropriate legal action. If they file their lawsuit even one day after the two-year deadline expires, they waive their right to recover monetary compensation for their accident-related injuries. Therefore, it is essential that you retain an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to represent you as soon as possible in your case. Your lawyer can file a lawsuit promptly if the statute of limitations is running short. Your lawyer can then begin negotiating a settlement with the insurance company adjuster and litigating your case in the court system on your behalf.
What Damages Can I Recover in my Pedestrian Accident Case?
A knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer in your area can help maximize the damages you recover in your pedestrian accident claim. The types and amounts of damages you receive will depend upon various factors, including the extent of your injuries and whether or not they are permanent—and whether you missed time from work after your accident and lost income.
Some of the most common damages that pedestrian accident victims recover in their personal injury cases include compensation for:
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental distress
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal companionship and family support
An accident victim might recover lost wages if their injuries prevented them from working for some time after their accident. To prove eligibility for lost earnings, your lawyer must obtain documentation from your employer—as well as from your medical provider—which states the dates you missed from work, that you had permission to miss work, and that you lost money as a result. If your pedestrian accident injuries caused you to switch jobs and accept a lower salary, you might be eligible to file a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Depending upon the severity of your injuries, you may also be eligible to assert a claim for past and future pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Past pain and suffering compensates accident victims for the symptoms they endured beginning on the accident date and ending on the present date.
On the other hand, future pain and suffering compensates accident victims for the anticipated pain and suffering they will experience moving forward. Accident victims are eligible for future pain and suffering damages if a healthcare provider determines that they suffered a permanent injury in their accident.
If you suffered a permanent injury, you can also bring a claim for loss of use of a body part—such as with a spinal cord or paralysis injury. Finally, you can make a claim for lost quality of life if your injuries prevent you from participating in the sports and recreational activities you once enjoyed.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident resulting from negligence, your lawyer can help you recover the maximum amount of damages through settlement or litigation.
How Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help?
An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in your area can benefit you from the beginning of your personal injury case until the very end.
Some of the ways that a pedestrian accident lawyer can help include:
- Investigating your accident. In some pedestrian accident cases, it can be difficult to tell precisely how the accident occurred. When that happens, a pedestrian accident lawyer can obtain a copy of the police report, speak with eyewitnesses to the occurrence, and, if necessary, hire an accident reconstructionist. An expert accident reconstructionist can review all of the evidence and determine what happened before, during, and after the pedestrian accident.
- Filing a personal injury claim for you. In most instances, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The claim documents typically include copies of all related medical treatment records, lost wage documents, injury photographs, property damage photographs, and a victim impact statement. Once the insurance company adjuster reviews all of this information, they will decide whether to accept or reject fault for the accident. Your lawyer can begin negotiating settlement numbers with the adjuster if they accept fault.
- Negotiating with the adjuster. At least initially, insurance company adjusters are unlikely to offer significant monetary compensation to settle a pedestrian accident case. This is because insurance companies, as big businesses, will try to save themselves as much money as possible. They make money by collecting premium payments from their insureds. They do not make money by paying out personal injury claim settlements, jury verdicts, and binding arbitration awards. Therefore, the adjuster will make a lowball offer to see if the accident victim is in a hurry to settle their claim. Your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the adjuster to convince them to raise their offer. If they still refuse to offer you complete and fair compensation for your injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.
- Litigating your case in court. Litigation officially begins when your lawyer files a lawsuit in the court system. However, this does not mean that settlement negotiations have to stop. Instead, your lawyer may negotiate a settlement with the adjuster, and the case can still settle at any point during litigation. If the parties eventually reach an impasse, they can take their case to a jury trial and allow the jury to decide all disputed issues. At other times, the parties may consider alternative dispute resolution, like mediation or arbitration. At mediation, a neutral mediator helps the parties work through settlement discussions. At a binding arbitration hearing, the neutral arbitrator, rather than a judge or jury, determines the total damages to award the pedestrian accident victim. Your lawyer can represent you at all courtroom hearings and other legal proceedings that take place outside of court.
Call a Knowledgeable Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, your first step should be obtaining the medical treatment you need. Next, you should speak with a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer in your area. In addition to investigating the cause and circumstances of your accident, your lawyer can assist with settlement negotiations and work to obtain the highest settlement offer available from the insurance company.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you total and fair compensation for your accident-related injuries, your lawyer can aggressively litigate your case in court. Finally, your lawyer can help you decide whether you should take your case to a jury trial or pursue alternative dispute resolution, like mediation or binding arbitration, in your case. When it comes to dealing with the insurance company, you are always better off with a lawyer at your side.
Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.