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.
Pedestrian Hit By Car Settlement Info
After being hit by a car, the most important thing is to receive medical treatment. You need to have your injuries treated immediately. Plus, it is very important for a potential pedestrian accident claim and settlement to get the medical paper work trail started right away. A medical professional should evaluate and document your car accident injuries right away. This will help your personal injury claim later.
Next, you should talk to the police and obtain a copy of the police report. If the police report indicates that a driver or drivers are likely responsible for the accident, this will bolster your injury claim. Also, speak to any witnesses if you can. Get their contact information as direct witness testimony will strengthen your injury claim.
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 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.
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.