What Are Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?Request Free Consultation
Regrettably, pedestrian accidents remain a tragic reality with often devastating impacts. Beyond the physical pain, victims grapple with emotional trauma, financial burdens, and a daunting legal system. Pedestrian accidents can cause injuries that vary in severity, but all victims can exercise their legal rights and remedies.
Understanding Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can occur in various settings—city streets, crosswalks, parking lots, or highways. Such incidents bring severe disruption to victims’ lives. According to the National Safety Council, more than 7,300 pedestrians die from collisions involving motor vehicles each year, and thousands more sustain injuries.
Even if a pedestrian crosses the road outside of an intersection, marked crosswalk, or in other situations where they don’t have the right of way, they can still hold a driver liable for the accident. Drivers have a duty of care to take all reasonable actions to prevent harm to others.
Commonly, drivers fail to stop for pedestrians because of careless driving behaviors, including distracted or drowsy driving, failure to yield, and alcohol impairment.
Common Injuries From Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents often lead to severe injuries. A vehicle striking you can cause a range of ailments, from superficial bruises or fractures to more profound injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even tragic fatalities. The type and severity of the injury depend on where on your body the vehicle made contact, your height, and the vehicle’s size and speed.
When a sedan strikes an adult pedestrian, the first impact is the vehicle’s bumper against the lower leg. This causes your legs to travel in the same direction as the vehicle, causing an immediate secondary impact on the upper legs. The vehicle continues to move forward and forces your body across the hood, creating a third impact with the windshield. The most common injuries in adult pedestrians involved in an accident with a smaller vehicle are on the legs, pelvis, and head.
The diminutive stature of child pedestrians causes these impacts to occur higher on the body, and they are more likely to result in injuries to the head, neck, and torso. The increased popularity of SUVs and pickup trucks, which feature a higher profile, results in more severe injuries to the upper body of the young pedestrian.
The physical consequences of pedestrian accidents are typically far-reaching and can substantially alter your quality of life. You or your child may deal with constant pain, facing rehabilitation or long-term care, or adjusting to life-changing disabilities. These trying circumstances can go beyond the physical and profoundly affect your emotional well-being, ability to work, and financial stability.
Legal Rights and Remedies
The law recognizes that victims of pedestrian accidents may seek compensation for their injuries from those responsible. This compensation can cover your medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earnings due to permanent injuries, pain and suffering, and even emotional distress.
No two pedestrian accidents are the same due to unique factors such as the severity of your injuries, the involvement of insurance companies, and the specific circumstances of the accident.
A Denver pedestrian accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and the remedies available during a free case evaluation. They will walk you through the legal process, helping to ease your stress during this traumatic time.
Never worry about how to afford an experienced personal injury lawyer, as most lawyers who handle pedestrian accident cases work on a contingent fee basis. You only have to pay for your attorney and their legal team’s work on your case if and when you receive compensation for your claim.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in Pedestrian Accident Cases
Primarily, your lawyer is your guide through the legal system. They ensure you understand your rights, walk you through the legal process, and inform you about your case. They provide the information you need to make decisions, but the choices always remain yours.
Determining Liability and Insurance Resources
One of the first services your lawyer will perform is collecting evidence that supports your claim and helps determine who was liable for the accident and the relevant insurance resources available to compensate for your claim. This can include an at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance policy or even your insurance policies. They build your case on a solid foundation, from accident reports and medical records to eyewitness accounts.
Communicating With the Insurance Companies About Your Claim
Insurance companies often use tactics to limit their payout, such as disputing the severity of your injuries or arguing that you were at fault for the accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands these strategies and how to counter them, protect your rights, and ensure adequate compensation.
Valuing Your Claim
Most pedestrian accident attorneys will wait until their client has reached maximum medical improvement before determining the claim’s value. Maximum medical improvement is when your physician determines that your injury stabilizes and any additional treatment will not significantly improve your condition. It is a suitable time to assess the claim because you clearly understand the medical expenses you’ve accumulated and the existence of permanent injuries that require consideration.
In a legal setting, the word “damages” refers to the compensation you can receive for the harm you suffered. The personal injury claims process allows you to seek economic damages, such as all injury-related medical expenses, lost income, and lost future earning capacity.
It will also enable you to seek non-economic damages for impacts such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. The value of your claim is the combined amount of your economic and non-economic damages.
While calculating economic damages is relatively straightforward and based on bills, receipts, and employer information about your earnings and the time you missed from work because of your injury, your lawyer will not determine non-economic damages similarly.
To value the psychological consequences, your attorney will consider the amount of available insurance, the severity and permanence of your injuries, and the recklessness exhibited by the at-fault driver that led to the accident.
Filing the Claim
Your lawyer will determine the claim’s value and send a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The information will include an overview of the accident, a demand for payment of the claim’s total value, and supporting documentation.
When the insurance company receives the claim, their claims adjuster will evaluate it on behalf of the company to determine the insured’s liability and how much the claimant should receive.
Insurance companies, however, are likely to look at the claim through a different lens than you and your attorney. Their goal is to reduce or even eliminate its value.
When the adjuster evaluates the claim, they can choose to:
- Accept the claim and process it for payment.
- Deny the claim and notify the claimant and their attorney of the reason for their decision.
- Offer to settle for less than the stated value.
Most pedestrian accident claims resolve through a settlement, though this can be an arduous process as most initial settlement offers are far below the claim’s value. Your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurer to convince them to increase the offer to compensate you for the consequences of your injury fairly.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company refuses to pay you a fair settlement, the attorney will file a lawsuit and represent you in court. Every state has a statute of limitations for pedestrian accident claims. The statute of limitations determines the maximum time to file a legal complaint (lawsuit). The statute of limitations clock begins ticking on the day of your injury, and in most states, this deadline is one to five years after the injury occurred. Your attorney will manage the timing of your case to keep this option open to you.
When a child pedestrian suffers injuries, they cannot participate in the legal process on their own until they reach the age of majority, which is 18. Many states will extend the statute of limitations to allow injured children to come of age and then choose to seek compensation. However, the parents of an injured child pedestrian can also file a claim on their child’s behalf. Your lawyer can explain the process of a child injury claim in greater detail.
Case preparation is essential in a pedestrian accident lawsuit. Your attorney will gather crucial evidence like accident scene photos, eyewitness testimony, and medical reports. They might visit the scene to recreate the accident or consult with experts to support your claim. This meticulous preparation helps build a compelling case showing the defendant’s negligence and the consequence of your injuries.
Your attorney must attend to many other legal matters before the trial begins. Depositions are a type of out-of-court testimony. Either side of the dispute can request more information about the accident. Your attorney will prepare you for a deposition if the insurance company asks for it, so you know what to expect.
Lawyers can file and respond to motions. Jury selection is another activity. Your attorney will take part in jury selection and prepare evidence exhibits. It is important to understand that the insurance company can make settlement offers anytime before a judge or jury has issued a verdict.
Helping You Receive Your Compensation
After your case, your compensation from a negotiated settlement or court verdict goes directly to your attorney, who will place the funds in a trust. From that trust, your attorney will receive payment for their services and help you settle any medical liens placed on the award by your healthcare providers or insurers.
You will then sign documents to finalize the case and receive the remainder of the compensation.
A pedestrian accident can involve physical pain, emotional turmoil, and unexpected hurdles. You don’t have to face these challenges alone.
Legal help is not just an optional extra—it’s a crucial component of your recovery and journey towards justice. Contact a lawyer today to learn more about how they can handle your pedestrian accident case.