People who walk are put in serious danger when motor vehicle drivers choose to be careless. When these negligent drivers cause an accident that seriously hurts a pedestrian — or kills them — then victims and their families may be entitled to compensation for the resulting damages. A successful pedestrian accident injury claim can help victims pay for their medical bills, recover the income they lost if they missed work, compensate them for their pain and suffering, and more.
If you or a loved one have been hit by a car, LawyerUp can help you locate pedestrian accident lawyers in your city. These lawyers can help you seek the maximum amount of compensation available under the law.
How much does it cost to hire a pedestrian accident attorney?
Many pedestrian accident attorneys work on contingency, meaning you will never owe a dime unless and until the attorney wins your case. At LawyerUp, we understand that you’re already going through a lot after being injured; a financial burden is the last thing we want you to go through.
What should I do after being involved in a pedestrian accident?
1. Find a safe place away from the source of injury
If you are able, find a safe spot away from the road or sidewalk. Pedestrians who stay at the scene of the incident are at a higher risk of being hit.
2. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance and the police
Even if you don’t feel seriously hurt, you should call emergency services. Adrenaline and other pain-masking hormones are in your system, which can make it difficult to accurately gauge the severity of your injury.
Also, the responding police officer will create an incident report that can prove invaluable to your case.
3. Collect evidence at the scene
If it’s safe for you to stay at the scene for a few extra minutes, it’s a good idea to go ahead and gather evidence that can strengthen your case. You can use your phone to take pictures of the scene, and it’s wise to get the contact information of any witnesses. Your pedestrian accident attorney can interview them later.
4. Meet with a pedestrian accident attorney
Once you’ve addressed your immediate medical needs and gathered evidence, it’s time to meet with a pedestrian accident lawyer and discuss your legal options. If you have a case, your skilled attorney will get to work putting together an airtight case for compensation.
5. Keep a record of your experience
Memory isn’t always reliable, and to prevent the insurance company from poking holes in your case because you can’t remember certain details, it’s a good idea to keep a written or digital log of your pain levels, doctor’s appointments, and other pertinent information in the days and weeks following the incident.
What kinds of damages may I receive?
In the personal injury world, the word “damages” refers to the financial, mental, and emotional losses that you experienced as a direct result of the incident that caused your injury. There are two main types of damages that you may be able to recover: Economic and non-economic damages.
These damages are easy to quantify because they come with bills or invoices. They include expenses like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Damaged property
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are difficult to quantify because they don’t come with a set value. Only a skilled pedestrian accident attorney can argue successfully for full compensation of non-economic damages, which include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Determining fault in a pedestrian accident
Most states provide special protections to pedestrians who walk along roadways or attempt to cross them. After all, pedestrians are much more vulnerable to injuries than anyone in a vehicle, should the two get into a collision. Accordingly, pedestrian right-of-way laws expect vehicles to be wary of pedestrians and avoid compromising their safety, if at all possible.
For instance, Georgia pedestrian law states, “the driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning.”
This law is commonly interpreted to mean that a vehicle will be at fault in most situations where a pedestrian is crossing at a designated crosswalk and there is not a “DON’T WALK” signal present.
However, pedestrians are expected to not, “suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.”
A pedestrian must also yield the right of way to vehicles when crossing somewhere other than a designated crosswalk, tunnel, or overpass.
Put together, these laws state that vehicles should do everything they can to not hurt pedestrians, especially when the vehicle is leaving a non-road area, such as a driveway or parking lot. Pedestrians do have a responsibility to obey traffic signals, cross at safe areas, and avoid walking into the path of an oncoming vehicle, so not every accident will automatically be deemed the fault of the driver.
An experienced injured pedestrian lawyer can use the legal protections afforded pedestrians to establish whether a driver violated their duty to exercise care in avoiding hitting a pedestrian. If the driver exhibited negligent behavior and the pedestrian did not, then the pedestrian injury claim has a strong chance of establishing the other party’s fault.
Reasons a driver could be determined at fault for a pedestrian accident
There are many reasons a driver could be legally held responsible for the consequences of a collision with a pedestrian, including:
Driving while texting, multitasking, getting distracted by passengers, and generally taking their eyes off the road.
Driving under the influence
Driving after having consumed any inhibiting substance, including both illegal and prescription drugs. Drivers who do not have a documented 0.08 BAC could still be determined to be under the influence if a police officer believes their consumption affected their driving.
Speeding and reckless driving
Dangerous driving maneuvers, such as speeding or changing lanes abruptly, can cause drivers to not see pedestrians in time to avoid a collision. A driver may also run off the road and strike a pedestrian when they drive carelessly.
Failure to stop/yield
Drivers have a responsibility to stop at all designated pedestrian crossings and to avoid a pedestrian through all reasonable means when the pedestrian is crossing improperly.
Failure to maintain vehicle
Vehicles that have problems as a result of owner neglect, such as bad brakes or steering wheel racks that turn slowly, can contribute to the circumstances of a pedestrian accident.
Failure to survey their surroundings
Drivers who do not exercise ordinary care may not spot a pedestrian in time to avoid them, such as when turning left through a crosswalk.
Pedestrians can also contribute to their accidents in some circumstances, such as when they walk on on-ramps, bridges, or other pathways where pedestrians are not permitted. In the event that a pedestrian contributed to the circumstances of their accident, a state’s modified comparative negligence laws can reduce the available damages by the percentage of fault that the injury victim contributed.
Paying for your medical bills after a pedestrian accident
A driver who hits a pedestrian and does not flee the scene may use their third-party liability insurance to pay for the hospital bills and other expenses of the injured pedestrian. Unfortunately, a large percentage of pedestrian accidents turn into a hit-and-run incident, forcing police and victims to locate the perpetrator in order to recover liability compensation.
In the event that a driver hits a pedestrian and flees, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) can help pay for the costs of the accident.
Connect with a top-rated pedestrian accident attorney for free
Working with a pedestrian injury attorney can give you the legal services and guidance you need to take the pressure off of you following your accident. Your attorney will explore all available legal options and undertake the process of filing claims on your behalf.
Insurers can use tactics that reduce your potential claim size, such as offering you an unfair settlement amount or disputing fault. In these cases, an injured pedestrian lawyer can fight on your behalf for fair compensation — up to and including taking your case to court when no fair settlement agreement can be reached.
Explore your options for filing pedestrian injury claims when you speak with a pedestrian accident attorney. Through LawyerUp.co, you can research qualified attorneys near you and find the right match for your claim.