When people drive in a careless and reckless manner, they may inadvertently strike a pedestrian, causing them to suffer serious injuries and sometimes fatalities. Pedestrian injuries can lead to significant medical treatment, high medical bills, and missed work time, among other consequences. Can you sue someone for running you over?
In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment for your injuries, you should speak with a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area right away. Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your pedestrian accident, along with your injuries and medical treatment. You and your lawyer can then develop a plan for filing a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company and pursuing the damages you deserve. In some cases, you can also file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Trying to represent yourself in a pedestrian accident claim or a lawsuit is always a mistake because insurance companies routinely take advantage of self-represented individuals. Insurance companies and their adjusters typically believe that self-represented accident victims lack the legal knowledge and negotiation skills to effectively settle or litigate their cases.
An experienced Denver pedestrian accident lawyer, on the other hand, can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and threaten litigation if they fail to offer you sufficient monetary compensation. If your lawyer files a lawsuit in your pedestrian accident case, and your case goes to court, your lawyer can represent you in all legal proceedings and maximize the monetary compensation you recover.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When a car or truck strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian may suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries. This is because, unlike the occupants of cars and trucks, pedestrians do not have an outer shell or metal covering that surrounds them in a serious accident. If the impact force knocks the pedestrian to the ground or onto another vehicle, the pedestrian may suffer serious injuries which require expensive surgeries and other treatment.
Some of the most common injuries that pedestrian accident victims suffer include traumatic head injuries, including concussions, and broken bones if a part of their body strikes the ground directly. At other times, injured pedestrians may suffer soft tissue injuries, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and death.
If you suffered one of these injuries in a recent pedestrian accident, you should make sure to follow up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center as quickly as possible.
Seek same-day medical treatment since many injury symptoms do not immediately appear. For example, if you suffered a traumatic head injury or soft tissue injury, you may not experience any symptoms for several days after the accident. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the worse your symptoms may become. Therefore, it is best to seek medical intervention on the same date as your accident.
A hospital medical provider can physically examine you and provide emergency treatment, such as emergency surgery. In addition, your doctor can take the necessary imaging studies, including CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, to determine your condition and make an accurate medical diagnosis. Finally, the medical provider can recommend various follow-up treatments. For example, you may need to follow up with a surgeon, orthopedic doctor, or primary care physician.
Your priority after a pedestrian accident should be seeking medical treatment and recovering from your injuries. While you do that, a pedestrian accident attorney in your area can start handling the legal aspects of your case. First, your lawyer can gather up your medical treatment records and bills to date, as well as lost wage documents from your employer. Next, your lawyer can obtain copies of any police report or investigation report, as well as eyewitness statements from individuals who observed your accident firsthand.
Finally, your lawyer can gather photographs of the accident scene, photographs of your injuries, and a victim impact statement that you prepare. Once you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company adjuster and begin settlement negotiations with that adjuster.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Driver negligence is the cause of most pedestrian accidents, including when a driver runs a pedestrian over. Pedestrian accidents may occur anywhere that pedestrians are present, including near sidewalks, in crosswalks, on the side of the road, and in parking lots and garages—especially those near shopping centers, malls, and schools. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include violating road rules, distracted driving, and intoxicated driving.
When drivers get behind the wheel, they are responsible for obeying all road rules. When they fail to do so, they increase their chances of causing an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian. The most common traffic violations that cause pedestrian accidents are speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time, and failing to use rear view and side view mirrors—especially when backing up.
When a driver speeds—especially near traffic intersections or in parking lots/garages where pedestrians are present—they may inadvertently strike a pedestrian, causing them to fall on the ground. Moreover, when drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks, serious accidents and injuries may occur.
Some pedestrian accidents happen when drivers speed through yellow or red traffic lights in a hurry to get through the intersection. As they speed through the intersection, they may fail to notice a pedestrian who is on or near the crosswalk, negligently striking and injuring them. Finally, some pedestrian accidents happen when drivers fail to use their rearview and side view mirrors. They may not glance in their mirrors before backing out of a parking space, striking a pedestrian, and knocking them to the ground.
In addition to road rule violations, some pedestrian accidents happen when drivers become distracted. A distracted driver fails to pay attention to the road. Given the large number of electronic devices drivers have in their vehicles, including cellular phones, tablets, and GPS devices, it is very easy for drivers to become distracted. When a driver makes a phone call without using a Bluetooth device—or looks down to send an email or text message—they turn their head away from the road. Even a distraction that last one or two seconds may be enough time for a driver to miss a pedestrian in the vicinity.
Finally, some pedestrian accidents result from intoxicated driving. When a passenger vehicle driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, they are legally intoxicated. Commercial vehicle drivers and underage drivers must follow stricter standards. For example, tractor-trailer drivers are intoxicated when they have a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher, while the cut-off for minor drivers under 21 years of age is 0.02 percent.
Intoxicated driving is dangerous because alcohol significantly impairs a driver’s brain functioning. It slows down their central nervous system and severely delays their reaction time. As a result, even if the driver sees a pedestrian in the vicinity, they might be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a collision. Moreover, alcohol may cause a driver to experience blurred vision and lack of concentration, preventing them from seeing a pedestrian before it’s too late.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that resulted from some type of driver error, you are not alone. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney in your area can review the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you’re eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can assist you throughout the entire claims-filing process. Moreover, if you need to file a lawsuit in your case against the negligent driver, your lawyer can guide you through litigation and help you pursue the best possible monetary recovery available.
The Burden of Proof in a Pedestrian Accident Claim or Lawsuit
To recover monetary compensation in a pedestrian accident case, the injured pedestrian has the sole legal burden of proof. The negligent driver does not need to prove anything.
When it comes to satisfying their legal burden, a pedestrian accident victim must show that a driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances. This typically means that the at-fault driver violated a traffic law or engaged in distracted or intoxicated driving. Moreover, the accident victim must demonstrate that the driver’s negligence caused the accident, which in turn caused their injuries.
Once the accident victim satisfies their legal burden, they may become eligible to recover various damages. The available damages for pedestrian accident victims depend upon certain factors, including how the accident occurred, the extent of the accident victim’s injuries, and whether their injuries are permanent.
Other factors include the cost and extent of medical treatment—and the geographical venue where the personal injury case is pending. Since every pedestrian accident case is different, some victims will recover more or less compensation than others. In any case, your pedestrian accident attorney will do everything possible to maximize your economic recovery and ensure that you receive the damages you deserve.
Potential damages available to pedestrian accident victims include compensation for related medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, permanent disfigurement, mental distress, loss of life enjoyment, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
Filing a Claim With the Insurance Company
Before filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in a pedestrian accident case, the accident victim must first submit a claim to the insurance company. In most instances, the pedestrian accident victim or their lawyer will deal with the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
Once your lawyer submits all of the relevant documents, including copies of your medical records, bills, lost wage statements, and photographs, the adjuster will review everything and determine whether they will accept fault for the accident. If they do, settlement negotiations may begin, and your lawyer can advocate on your behalf. During settlement discussions, the accident victim’s lawyer typically decreases their initial demand while the adjuster gradually increases their settlement offer. If the parties reach an impasse, litigation may become necessary.
Filing a Lawsuit in a Pedestrian Accident Case
The litigation phase of a pedestrian accident case begins when the accident victim files a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Litigation usually becomes necessary when an adjuster disputes fault for the accident—or when they simply fail to offer sufficient monetary compensation to make the injured pedestrian whole again after their accident.
Assuming the adjuster accepts fault for the accident, negotiations do not have to stop just because a lawyer files suit. In fact, settlement negotiations typically continue well into the litigation stage of a personal injury case. However, during litigation, the parties will usually engage in discovery, during which time they answer written questions, called interrogatories, and take one another’s depositions.
A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you answer the interrogatories and prepare you thoroughly to testify at your deposition. Once discovery is complete, the insurance company adjuster may offer more money to settle the case.
If the case does not resolve post-discovery, the parties may take their case to a jury trial, at which a jury will decide all disputed issues—including the amount of money to award the pedestrian accident victim. The parties may also consider alternative dispute resolution proceedings, like mediation or binding arbitration, as a way to resolve the case.
Your lawyer can help you make informed decisions, including whether or not to accept a particular settlement offer. They can also help you decide between settlement and litigation in your case.
Talk With a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, it is essential that you have experienced legal representation in your corner throughout your entire case. First, your lawyer will do everything possible to help you recover favorable monetary damages through settlement. However, if that is not possible, your Denver personal injury lawyer can sue the at-fault driver and pursue litigation through the court system.
If your case has to go to trial or binding arbitration, your lawyer will represent you at all legal proceedings and zealously advocate for your legal interests. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize the compensation you receive for your pedestrian-accident injuries.