Pedestrians in crosswalks, parking lots, and parking garages stand to suffer severe injuries if a motor vehicle strikes them. Unlike the occupants of cars and trucks, pedestrians do not have an outer barrier between themselves and the ground. Therefore, if a motor vehicle hits them – even slightly – they may fall and sustain severe injuries.
The total monetary compensation that a pedestrian accident victim recovers in a personal injury claim or a lawsuit is highly case-specific. Generally speaking, the more extensive a pedestrian accident victim's injuries, the more compensation they can recover in their claim or lawsuit.
If you or a person you care about recently suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that a negligent driver caused, you should retain a skilled pedestrian accident attorney to represent you right away.
If you wait too long to file a claim or lawsuit seeking monetary damages, the statute of limitations may prevent your recovery. As soon as you retain legal counsel to represent you in your pedestrian accident case, your lawyer can enter an appearance on your behalf and start advocating for you.
In addition to investigating the circumstances of your pedestrian accident, your lawyer can gather the appropriate documentation, file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company, and negotiate with settlement adjusters.
If your case does not settle, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court on your behalf and litigate your case through the court system to a resolution.
At every stage of the proceedings, your attorney can answer all your questions and help you pursue the highest monetary recovery available.
Common Locations for Pedestrian Accidents
A local pedestrian accident can occur anywhere people are near traffic.
Some of the most common locations for pedestrian accidents include:
- Intersection crosswalks
- Parking lots
- Parking garages
- Scenic byways
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident in any of these locations, a skilled pedestrian accident attorney in your area can help. Your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist to visit the accident scene, take photographs, speak with witnesses, and draft a report about how your accident happened and who was at fault. An accident reconstructionist can also testify at a discovery deposition or live at trial supporting your case.
Frequent Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents usually occur when drivers fail to watch the rate attentively or violate traffic laws and regulations.
First, some pedestrian accidents happen when drivers speed – especially in parking lots, garages, and near traffic intersections equipped with crosswalks. Accidents may also occur when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is lawfully present in a crosswalk or on a sidewalk.
Next, pedestrian accidents sometimes happen when drivers fail to watch the road and surrounding areas attentively. For example, a driver may become focused on their cellular phone, tablet, or GPS navigation system, while driving near a traffic intersection – or in a parking lot. As a result, the driver may look down or turn their head to the side, failing to see a pedestrian and negligently causing their vehicle to strike the pedestrian.
Pedestrian accidents can also happen when drivers are legally intoxicated. A passenger vehicle driver who has a BAC of 0.08 percent or more is legally intoxicated. However, some individuals must follow stricter standards, including commercial vehicle operators (like truck or bus drivers) and drivers under 21 years old.
When drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may experience blurred vision that prevents them from noticing a nearby pedestrian. They may also engage in erratic driving maneuvers, such as speeding.
Moreover, due to their intoxication, they may not see or appreciate a stop sign, yield sign, or red traffic light, causing them to enter an intersection where a pedestrian is lawfully present. Finally, alcohol intoxication causes delayed reflexes and reaction time, preventing a driver from stopping their vehicle to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
Finally, pedestrian accidents sometimes occur when drivers fail to use their mirrors, as well as their backup cameras and other technological devices on their vehicles.
When a driver fails to look in their rearview or side view mirror – or watch their backup camera – while pulling out of a parking space in reverse, they may not see a pedestrian walking behind their vehicle, negligently causing a collision.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that resulted from one of these types of driver negligence, hire a skilled pedestrian accident attorney as quickly as possible. Your attorney can help you take the appropriate legal action and file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company promptly. Your lawyer can then negotiate a fair settlement offer or pursue litigation in your case.
Legal Elements of Proof in a Pedestrian Accident Case
Pedestrian accident victims have the legal burden of proof in any personal injury claim they file. Therefore, to obtain a monetary recovery for their accident-related losses, they must successfully satisfy several elements of proof.
First, they must demonstrate that the driver who caused their accident owed them a legal duty of care. This legal element is straightforward to establish since drivers have a duty to look out for pedestrians and drive safely around them.
Next, the accident victim must establish that the driver violated this duty of care by breaking one or more traffic laws or otherwise driving in a distracted, negligent, or intoxicated manner. Finally, the injured accident victim must show that as a direct result of the driver's negligence, the pedestrian accident occurred, along with the resulting injuries and other losses.
To establish the necessary medical causation in your case, your lawyer can introduce the testimony of a qualified medical expert, such as a treating healthcare provider or specialist.
That doctor can physically examine you and determine, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your injuries directly resulted from your pedestrian accident. Your lawyer can then call that doctor to testify on your behalf at a discovery deposition or jury trial.
In addition to establishing the causal relationship between the pedestrian accident and your claimed injuries, an expert medical provider can confirm that one or more of your injuries are permanent.
Unlike most physical injuries that completely recover after an accident, a permanent injury may never get better, even with the passage of significant time.
Monetary Damages You Can Recover for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Victims of severe pedestrian accidents may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for different damages.
An accident victim’s total damages will usually depend on:
- The severity of their claimed injuries
- The total cost of their medical treatment
- Other accident-specific circumstances
First, an injured pedestrian accident victim can pursue monetary recovery for their medical expenses, both past and future. In addition, if they had to miss time from work after their accident, they can bring a successful lost income claim.
Furthermore, if the accident victim had to switch to light duty work or switch companies after their accident – and take a pay cut – they can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to their out-of-pocket losses, pedestrian accident victims can receive compensation for their intangible losses, including loss of spousal companionship, permanent disability or disfigurement, lifetime care costs, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, mental distress, inconvenience, and past and future pain and suffering.
A pedestrian accident attorney will work to recover the compensation you recover, either through a favorable settlement offer or litigation result.
Settling or Litigating a Pedestrian Accident Claim
After your pedestrian accident attorney submits the necessary documentation on your behalf, an insurance company representative for the at-fault driver might offer to resolve your case through settlement. However, most of the time, these initial settlement offers will not pay the full value of a personal injury case.
Your lawyer may need to negotiate with the adjuster several times to convince them to raise their offer. For example, your attorney can highlight the seriousness of your accident, the high cost of your medical treatment, and other factors pointing to a higher case value.
Settlement negotiations can take several weeks or even months before the insurance company raises its offer appropriately. If that does not happen, your lawyer can pursue litigation in your case by filing a lawsuit in the court system.
Once that happens, the parties can engage in discovery to learn more about their respective versions of the case. For example, the at-fault driver's lawyer may take your discovery deposition and ask you questions about how your pedestrian accident occurred, the specific injuries you suffered, and the overall effects of the accident on your life.
Sometimes after a deposition, the insurance company will increase its offer, and the case ultimately settles. However, if the insurance company fails to increase its offer significantly, your lawyer may recommend you take your case to a jury trial.
At trial, your lawyer can call witnesses to testify on your behalf, introduce medical records and other documents into evidence, and make convincing arguments on your behalf. The jury will then decide the outcome of all disputed issues, including the issue of monetary compensation and damages.
Instead of taking your case to trial, your attorney can pursue alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Your attorney can answer all of your questions about ADR proceedings and whether or not they may benefit the outcome of your case.
Speak to a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Your Area Right Away
If you recently suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that a negligent driver caused, time is of the essence. Therefore, get skilled legal counsel on board in your case as quickly as possible.
Your attorney can review the circumstances of your pedestrian accident with you and help you file a claim for the monetary damages that you deserve. If the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously and will not offer you fair monetary damages, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and take your case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding.
During any proceeding, your personal injury attorney will aggressively fight for your legal rights and work to maximize your total monetary recovery in the case.