Pedestrian Car Accident Settlements
Pedestrian accidents are all too common. According to the NHTSA, more than 60,000 pedestrians were hurt in motor vehicle accidents in 2006. If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, it is almost certain that you will suffer injuries. Cars, trucks and SUVs weigh up to 5,000 pounds and cause devastating injuries to the human body. How severe your injuries are depend upon how fast the vehicle was going and other factors, but it is nearly certain that you will be hurt. Getting your maximum settlement requires that you understand the entire claim and legal process in pedestrian accidents.
This article discusses how these settlements work, and what you can expect in the pedestrian accident claim process. In many cases, best results are assured by hiring a personal injury attorney.
Types of Pedestrian Accidents
There are many types of pedestrian accidents where the driver may be at fault. If you were injured by a driver in one of these types of accidents, it is advisable to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as you can.
- Crosswalk accident. It is common for drivers to ignore crosswalks and crosswalk signs. Hitting a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk is a serious offense that can lead to criminal and civil penalties.
- Hit and run accident. These accidents are common where the driver may not have insurance or does not have a license. Hit and run accidents can make it more complicated to receive compensation for your injuries.
- Intersection accident. Vehicles that are turning at intersections may not be looking for pedestrians in crosswalks, leading to serious injuries. In other cases, the driver may be distracted by a cell phone and not stop at a red light.
- Back over accident. Sometimes a car will back over the pedestrian while backing up in a parking lot. These accidents may involve children who are not easily seen.
- Crushing accident. A pedestrian may be caught in a rear end crash or a head on crash. When the pedestrian is crushed by two vehicles, the injuries can be serious or even deadly.
Paying for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
A critical question in these accident cases is: Who pays for your accident injuries? If you have health insurance, it will likely pay for the initial costs of your medical care. In the best situation, your health insurance provider will pay for most of your medical bills. After that, the auto insurance provider for the responsible driver may compensate your medical insurance provider.
If the driver who hit you has car insurance, you can file a claim with their insurance company. If the responsible driver has no insurance, your own auto insurance provider should be able to compensate you for your injuries. Most states require that you have uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy.
Some states operate under the ‘no fault’ rule. This means that insurance companies are required to pay for the medical costs and lost wages for their policyholders, no matter who is to blame. This also is known as personal injury protection or PIP.
In no-fault states, the insurance company for the driver may pay the medical expenses for the injured pedestrian, up to the limits of PIP. This can occur even if the pedestrian was at fault.
Generally, the driver that caused the pedestrian accident will need to pay the claim and settlement from their insurance policy. But things get complicated if neither of you have insurance. In that case, your only legal option is to file a personal injury lawsuit. But a pedestrian accident lawsuit only makes sense when the negligent driver has sufficient assets to make the legal action worth it.
Pedestrian Accident Settlement Factors
Pedestrian accidents may not be straightforward. This can be especially the case when it must be determined who is financially liable for your injuries and damages. Your personal injury attorney will look at several factors to determine what the potential claim will look like:
- Fault: Attorneys and insurers will study the accident scene, injuries and property damage to determine who was at fault. If you were at fault in any way for the accident, this will affect your level of compensation. Some states will not allow the pedestrian to collect any damages at all if they are even 1% responsible for the accident.
- Injuries: The level of your injuries is a major factor in how much your pedestrian accident compensation will be. Whether your injuries have a serious impact upon your daily life also is important.
- Recovery: The length of your recovery affects compensation. If your injuries are permanent, the average pedestrian accident settlement is higher.
- Work: A pedestrian accident can make you miss work for a while. If you are permanently disabled, this will increase your compensation.
Should You Settle?
These factors will be added up by the insurance company and it may present you with a settlement offer. Factored in will be your medical costs, lost work pay, pain and suffering, and so forth.
Some insurance companies will add up your losses that can be quantified – including medical costs and lost income – and then multiply that by a number that may be between 1.5 and 4 to get a ‘general damages’ figure. This figure will include pain and suffering as well as any emotional impact for your injuries. Also included may be the types of medical treatment you receive and how long the recovery is. For more severe injuries, the insurance adjuster may use a multiplier of 4 or 5.
Or, the insurance company may use a daily rate to determine what the appropriate amount is for your pain and suffering. Whichever the insurance company uses, the general and special damages are added up to give a final settlement amount.
The insurance company for the responsible driver will likely give you a low offer in hopes that you will settle quickly. Insurance companies have an interest to pay as little as possible in accident claims.
If you feel that you are entitled to a larger settlement, you and your attorney can try to negotiate. If this is not successful, you can still file a lawsuit against the insurer and driver later.
Personal Injury Settlements Examples in Pedestrian Accidents
Below are some real-life examples of where pedestrians were hit by a car, with their final settlements. The amount of your settlement may be higher or lower. Talk to a personal injury attorney in your area to determine if you have a viable personal injury claim. When you do so, bring along copies of your medical records, the police report, and any other pertinent information about the accident.
- $4.5 million brain injury: A three-year-old was running in a crosswalk in a park when he was hit by a truck. The boy suffered a brain injury and loss of use of his right arm. He was able to stay in school but needs constant counseling and care. The settlement was for $4.5 million but included a structure that assures a payment of at least $10 million.
- $2 million wrongful death: A 50-year-old female was walking on a sidewalk in a New York town. The driver was eating and drinking while driving, lost control and killed the woman.
- $716,000 spinal cord injury: The man was picking up items from his wife’s purse in the road. A distracted driver hit him. The man was thrown onto the car’s hood and suffered a spinal cord injury.
- $500,000 child injury: A mother and children were walking on a sidewalk when a car driver under the influence of drugs hit them. The insurance company denied coverage and the matter went to court.
Pedestrian Accident Settlement Calculator
Have you been involved in a pedestrian accident? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online Pedestrian Accident Settlement Calculator.
Pedestrian Accident Settlement Summary
Pedestrian accidents normally involve serious injuries, so it is important for the injured person to get medical attention immediately. Next, speak to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. It is especially important to speak to an attorney who represents your interests before you speak to any insurance company representative.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you are intoxicated, jaywalking and are hit by a car, it is possible that you could be found entirely to blame for the crash and would not be able to sue the driver. But it depends on the exact circumstances of the accident.
Did you dart out from behind a parked car and give the driver no chance at all to stop? If so, you probably will be found liable for the accident and will not be able to collect damages.
But if the driver was speeding and had enough time to avoid hitting you and did not stop in time, you still may be able to collect some damages in a claim or lawsuit. However, you can expect the amount that you receive in compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the crash. Being drunk and jaywalking could make you 30% or 50% or even more responsible for the accident, so your award would be less in many states where there is a contributory negligence standard in personal injury cases.
Drivers are supposed to be extra cautious when driving in places where pedestrians may be present. Usually, the driver bears at least some responsibility for the accident. That said, there are situations where the pedestrian could be partially or completely at blame for the accident.
If you hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk, you will nearly always be found liable for his or her injuries. But if the pedestrian was jaywalking, the matter is more complex. Who is at fault and the degree of fault will vary on the specific accident circumstances.
For example, if the pedestrian walks out from behind a parked car and the driver had no chance at all to slow down, the pedestrian would probably be 100% to blame for the accident and could not file a claim for damages. But if the driver was speeding and a pedestrian jaywalks in front of the car and is hit, it is possible that both parties could share some responsibility for the accident. In many states, the amount of damages the pedestrian could collect would be reduced by his percentage of fault. So, if the pedestrian has $10,000 in medical bills but was found 40% responsible for the accident, he would only collect $6000.
As a driver, you always have what is called a ‘duty of care’ to drive reasonably, prudently and to watch out for pedestrians. That is why even if a pedestrian is jaywalking, you still could be held partially liable for hitting him. This is why it is always important, particularly in residential areas or near schools, to drive carefully and look for pedestrians.
If you were a pedestrian and were jaywalking, you still may be able to collect some damages for the accident. A good personal injury attorney may be able to argue that the driver still was not exercising his duty of care by hitting you. This is even more the case if the driver was breaking the law at the time. If, for example, the driver was going 30 MPH in a 20 MPH school zone and hit you while you were jaywalking, you may still be able to collect damages in a claim or lawsuit.
Drivers are required to be cautious when they are pedestrians present. While drivers are often found to be at fault in a pedestrian accident, this is not always so. Depending upon the circumstances, either party could be at fault, or both could share some responsibility for the accident.
The driver has what is called a ‘duty of care.’ This means the driver is held to a standard of what a careful, normal prudent driver would do in the same situation. If the driver is not being careful, violates the law and hits a pedestrian, he could be held liable in civil court for damages.
That said, there are scenarios where the pedestrian could be partially or even totally at fault for the accident. If a pedestrian walks out from behind a parked car into the street and there is no crosswalk, he could be liable for the accident that results. The driver would not have any responsibility for that accident.
There also are situations where fault could be shared. Perhaps the pedestrian jaywalks and is struck by a car, but the driver was going 10 MPH over the speed limit. In this situation, both could be held responsible, and the pedestrian’s settlement could be reduced substantially due to his being partially to blame for the accident.
Insurance companies are effective at minimizing accident injuries and tricking the injured into saying things that can damage their claim. It is always best for the injured person to speak to a personal injury attorney about the pedestrian accident for best case results.
If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, you will naturally wonder what type of settlement you could receive. Every case is different, so it is hard to say what the average would be. But there are some key factors in these accidents to look at to give you some idea of the possibly compensation.
First of all, when a car hits a person, there will almost always be more than minor injuries. At the very least, you will probably have at least a few trips to the doctor and could have anywhere from a few hundreds to thousands of dollars in medical bills. The insurance adjuster may use some type of settlement formula to value the claim. The adjuster may take your total medical costs and lost wages and multiply them by a certain number to arrive at a potential settlement number.
For example, if you have $5000 in medical bills and lost earnings, the adjuster may then multiply that amount by a number between 1.5 to 5 to arrive at a possible settlement. For pedestrian accidents with moderate injuries, the multiplier might be 2 or 3. This would represent a moderate amount of pain and suffering that comes with minor to moderate injuries. So, your settlement could be between $10,000 and $15,000 in this case.
If you were a pedestrian and hit by a car, the amount of money you will get largely depends upon your injuries, the driver’s assets, and both parties’ insurance policies. How much you contributed to the accident is also a crucial factor.
Your most likely way to recover compensation in a pedestrian accident is through auto insurance. The driver is usually required to have insurance, and most states also require underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. So, even if the driver who hit you has no insurance, your own insurance policy should cover your injuries and damages, up to policy limits.
If you have medical insurance and have immediate medical bills, that is probably the best place to turn immediately to cover your costs. Eventually, the health insurance provider will probably need to get reimbursed from the liable auto insurance company.
If you contributed to the accident, you still may collect some compensation in most states. If the state has a comparative fault standard, your compensation will be reduced by your level of responsibility for the accident. If you are found 25% to blame for the accident and your damages were $10,000, you may only receive $7500 in compensation from the applicable insurance policy.
In many auto accidents, the amount of compensation often boils down to the insurance policy limits. Many people do not have significant assets, so even if you are awarded $250,000 in compensation and the policy limits are $50,000, you may have difficulty collecting the rest of the settlement from most people.
If you are hit by a car when jaywalking, you could receive some compensation if the driver was negligent in some fashion. However, if you crossed without a crosswalk, the driver can argue you broke the law and were at fault.
For the pedestrian to make a valid claim the driver was at fault even if he was jaywalking, the pedestrian must prove the driver also was negligent. Negligence is defined legally as the duty to perform in a certain manner to avoid hurting other people.
If a person does not act ‘reasonably’ and causes harm to someone else, this is negligence.
In most states, there are four legal elements that must be proven for there to be negligence in a car accident claim:
- Duty of care: The defendant has to owe you a duty of care.
- Breach of duty: It has to be shown that the defendant breached the duty of care. For example, if you were jaywalking and the driver was speeding, it still could be shown the driver breached the duty of care, even though you were breaking the law.
- Causation: Plaintiff must prove the breach of the defendant caused injuries. If the driver did not cause the injuries through their actions, you may not be able to collect as a jay walker
- Damages: you need to show that you suffered damages in a monetary amount.
Depending upon the state, it is possible both the jaywalker and driver could be found at fault. If you suffered injuries, your possible compensation could be reduced by the percentage of fault you share for the accident. This is known in most states as comparative fault. If the driver was 50% at fault, you would have your potential compensation reduced by 50%.