Pedestrians who are hit by a car or other vehicle can suffer catastrophic injuries and are not always fairly compensated for their injuries and other damages. Different circumstances and details of the accident come into play when it comes to determining whether you can file a personal injury claim and get fair compensation from the at-fault driver or insurer.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, your options for getting compensation depend on the answers to a few critical questions. Here’s what you should know when looking at your legal options.
Who Was at Fault?
Many people assume that when a pedestrian is hit by a car, the driver of the vehicle is most likely at fault. While that’s usually true, it’s not always the case. Drivers are required by law to yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks and in any other situation as designated in the state’s traffic rules. Drivers must also obey traffic signals and speed limits. If a pedestrian gets hit while a driver is violating any of the traffic laws, liability is clear.
Unfortunately, some pedestrian-vehicle accidents are more complicated than that. For example, if a pedestrian is struck while walking out from between two parked cars onto a narrow street, the determination of fault is more complicated. Other situations that are more difficult to prove can be when a pedestrian is in a driver’s blind spot or if a pedestrian was not following traffic rules.
It’s essential to know your rights as a pedestrian so you can get compensated for any injuries you receive in the accident. Determining who was at fault is perhaps the most crucial process in your injury claim. Working with an experienced lawyer who has successfully helped injured victims secure meaningful compensation for their injuries is recommended.
How Bad are Your Injuries?
If you’ve suffered injuries in a pedestrian-vehicle accident and the driver is at fault in any way, you may file a personal injury claim. If your injuries are severe and have significantly affected your normal way of life, you can claim for more compensation. Serious injuries can lead to extensive medical treatment costs, lost income if you are unable to work, and other subjective effects such as pain and suffering and mental trauma.
All these factors will come into play when determining the amount of compensation you deserve. Many personal injury claims are settled outside of court after negotiations between the involved parties, but if you feel you are not getting fair compensation, filing a personal injury lawsuit is the most viable option.
Did the Driver Stop at the Accident Scene?
Pedestrian-vehicle collision cases can be categorized into two types:
- The driver who hits a pedestrian and legally complies with his or her obligation to stop at the accident scene and exchanges relevant information like names, contacts, and insurance details
- The driver who hits a pedestrian and leaves the scene (hit-and-run), leaving an injured pedestrian behind with little to no information
In the first case, where a driver complies with his or her legal obligations, you’ll be able to file an injury claim for compensation with the driver’s insurance company or via a lawsuit so long as you can prove fault and provide sufficient evidence to support your injury claim. In a hit-and-run case, your options are significantly limited.
Your first step in a hit-and-run case is to report to the police so that they can launch an investigation. If there were any witnesses at the accident scene, try and obtain their names and contact information. After sharing all relevant information with the police, seek medical attention immediately. If the hit-and-run driver is identified, you can consider your legal options.
Getting Legal Help
Pedestrian-vehicle accident cases can be complicated, especially when an insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement, or when dealing with a hit-and-run driver. Whichever the case, it’s advisable to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully helped multiple injured pedestrians get the compensation they deserve.