Accidents happen all the time, but when you are the victim of an accident through no fault of your own, then you deserve fair compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and loss of wages. In the case of a pedestrian accident, where you are hit by a motorist, you are entitled to an accident settlement. However, because motorists and insurance companies may be reluctant to give you the fair settlement you deserve, you often need a pedestrian accident lawyer to help you get fair compensation.
When Should You Accept an Accident Settlement?
In general, you should only accept a settlement for an accident that truly compensates all of your losses, injuries, and monetary needs. Your pedestrian accident lawyer will be able to determine if the initial settlement offered by the motorist or insurance company is appropriate for your amount of suffering, or if you need to take your case to court to receive the right compensation for your case.
It can take some time to reach an agreement on an accident settlement. It’s often the case that more severe injuries or wrongful death cases will receive settlements more quickly than minor claims. However, if the motorist or insurance company is trying to pin the liability of the accident on you rather than the motorist, then you may have to wait longer for your settlement – sometimes several months, in fact.
How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents?
How often do you actually hear about someone being hit by a car? It’s actually a bit more common than you may initially assume. For example, about 100,000 pedestrians are injured in accidents related to motorists each year, with a small amount of those accidents resulting in death. Some estimates suggest that there is one pedestrian death every 88 minutes, which means injuries and death are not as rare as they first appear.
What Are the Common Causes for Pedestrian Accidents?
Because of passive language, it sounds like “pedestrian accidents” are the fault of the pedestrians – but the true cause is almost always caused by motorists. Pedestrians who are injured or killed by motorists very rarely have any liability in these accidents, so usually these accidents are not caused by anything other than drivers. Some of the most common causes for these accidents include:
Impaired driving is a common cause of many road accidents, including hitting pedestrians. When a driver is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs, they do not have adequate reflexes or decision-making skills to be on the road operating a vehicle, particularly at high speeds. If you are injured by an impaired driver, you will likely have a greater settlement since their inebriation will compound the recklessness of their driving.
Reckless drivers can refer to several scenarios. For example, a reckless driver can be a driver who is distracted by over-loud music or a cell phone. Reckless drivers can also include impatient drivers, drivers who have road rage, drivers who are driving above the speed limit, and drivers who are not obeying traffic laws.
Another common cause of accidents involving pedestrians is road safety. Specifically, local government negligence can make roads unsafe for both pedestrians and drivers. For example, unclear instructions during road construction can lead to pedestrians being hit. Problems with the road or sidewalks, the lighting on crosswalks, and other circumstances can also lower the safety of the road and make it more likely for pedestrians to be injured.
Hit and Run
A significant portion of accidents involving pedestrians is hit and runs. It’s common for a motorist to flee the scene after hitting a pedestrian, particularly in circumstances where there are not many other witnesses. Although it may seem hard, the police are often able to help you find the motorist responsible for your hit and run, and that motorist can be held accountable for both your injuries and fleeing the scene after the accident. Even drivers who claim they weren’t aware of the accident can be charged.
Sometimes, motorists and insurance companies try to argue that pedestrians are at fault for an accident because they are wearing dark clothing at night. However, this isn’t an argument that holds water. After all, would a pedestrian wearing dark clothes at night be involved in an accident if the driver was driving at the correct speed and using their headlights properly? Moreover, should a pedestrian be blamed for city negligence that does not offer adequate lighting on roads? The answer to both questions is no, a pedestrian should not be held accountable for these circumstances. So long as you were not jaywalking and were following all pedestrian traffic laws, your clothing choices have no bearing on the situation.
How Can You Prove You Were Not At Fault?
In many cases, it’s the pedestrian’s word against the driver’s, particularly when the driver was not impaired or the driver feels they were not at fault for the accident. The best way to prove you were not at fault for the accident is by gathering witness statements that will verify you were following all pedestrian traffic laws, such as not jaywalking or waiting for crosswalk prompts to cross the street. With eye-witness testimony, you will be able to prove the accident was caused by the driver.
You can also gather evidence from CCTV footage, which will provide video evidence that will prove who is at fault for the accident. Sometimes, the driver may have proof that they were at fault, such as cell phone records that prove they were using their phone at the time of the accident. A lawyer can help you gather the proof you need to prove your case for the settlement.
What Are Common Injuries for Pedestrians?
Cars weigh several tons and the faster a car travels, the heavier the impact of being hit by a car will be for a pedestrian. Pedestrians can suffer a variety of injuries related to accidents, such as bruises, broken bones, muscle injuries, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and death. It’s not uncommon for these accidents to result in permanent injuries for the pedestrian or even permanent disability. The severity of your injuries or the death of a loved one will increase the settlement you are entitled to.
What Can You Seek Compensation For?
Legally, if you are injured by a motorist, you are entitled to an accident settlement for several damages. Not only should your medical bills be paid for, but you are also entitled to compensation for lost wages during your recovery and the cost of ongoing medical treatment. In the case that the accident has caused permanent injuries or disability, you are also entitled to compensation for the wages you would have made in the future and your continued medical treatment.
Your compensation can also include pain and suffering to account for the damages to your personal life and relationships as a result of the accident. Your settlement may even include punitive damages, which are levied by the court when the motorist has been driving recklessly or had malicious intent.
Pedestrians are very rarely responsible for pedestrian accidents – but even so, many motorists and insurance companies are reluctant to compensate pedestrians for their injuries. If you have been involved in an accident as a pedestrian, you will need a pedestrian accident lawyer to help you get a fair accident settlement. Please contact Potts Law Firm to learn more about your rights as a pedestrian today.