Even a low-speed accident involving a car and pedestrian can cause serious injuries. Drivers are protected by a heavy metal vehicle, seat belts, and airbags. Pedestrians have no real protection in a crash. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, here are some answers to common questions to help you get compensation for your injuries.
Q: I've been hurt in a pedestrian accident and I want to file a claim for my injuries. What's the first thing I should do?
There are a number of things you can do in the first few days and weeks after an accident to protect your right to compensation, including:
- Write down as much as you can about the accident itself, your injuries, and any other losses you've suffered as a result of the accident.
- Make notes of conversations that you have with people involved in the accident or the injury claim.
- Preserve evidence of the accident and what damage was done by collecting physical items and taking photographs or videos.
- Locate people who witnessed the accident and who might be able to help you prove your case.
- Contact a personal injury attorney to evaluate and pursue your claim.
- Have your attorney notify anyone who might be responsible for the accident to pursue a claim for your injuries.
Q: What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
You may bear some responsibility for the accident, which may reduce your eventual recovery. States generally follow 3 types of contributory and comparative negligence laws.
With contributory negligence, any fault may prevent recovery. In pure comparative negligence, the injury victim could recover any damages reduced by their own level of fault. In modified comparative negligence, the victim could only recover if their percentage of fault was below a certain amount, generally 50% or 51%.
Q: As a pedestrian, what duty is placed upon me to avoid accidents?
Every pedestrian has the duty to obey traffic laws and to reasonably observe traffic conditions. In general, most states apply a "reasonable person" standard, based on how a reasonable person would behave in similar circumstances.
Q: How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?
Every state has a limited period of time to file a personal injury lawsuit, called "statutes of limitations." In some states, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit arising out of an automobile accident. If the defendant is a government agency or government worker, then your claim might be even more time-sensitive.
If you miss the deadline for filing your case, your claims can be dismissed. This is why it is important to talk with a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as you receive or discover an injury.
Q: What damages are recoverable in pedestrian accident cases?
The injured party may recover damages for medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. Damages can also include future losses for continuing care or disability.
If the pedestrian dies as the result of an accident, their survivors are entitled to recover wrongful death compensation for their economic losses that result from the pedestrian's death, as well as damages that stem from the loss of companionship and consortium suffered by the decedent's family.
Q: What should I bring to my meeting with a lawyer?
You should provide a lawyer with any documents that might be relevant to your case. Police reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding auto accidents. Copies of medical reports, fire department records, ambulance records, and bills from doctors and hospitals will help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries.
It may also be helpful if you have information about the insurance provider of the person who caused your injury. Any photographs or video you have of the accident scene, property damage, and injuries can also help your case.
The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for them to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, your lawyer will be able to obtain them during the investigation of your case.
Get Legal Help with Your Case Involving a Pedestrian Accident
Being involved in any accident is a jarring experience. If you're a pedestrian, the experience can be even more devastating. It's recommended to speak to an experienced car accident attorney in a pedestrian accident case because there will usually be some questions related to fault and comparative negligence. Expert witnesses may need to be used to reconstruct the accident factors and help determine responsibility for the accident.