One of the most important steps you can take in your pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit is to seek an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. Doing so increases your chances of an efficient settlement process—not to mention a favorable monetary settlement.
As soon as possible after your pedestrian accident, your lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances and determine your eligibility to file a claim in the first place. If you are eligible, your lawyer can promptly file a claim with the appropriate insurance company, begin settlement negotiations, and efficiently pursue a prompt claim resolution on your behalf.
If the insurance company does not offer you the fair damages you deserve for your pedestrian accident injuries, your lawyer will promptly file a lawsuit in court, litigate the case on your behalf, and pursue a fair jury verdict or arbitration award.
When you have an experienced Denver pedestrian accident lawyer representing you in your case, you may rest assured that your lawyer will advance your personal, legal, and financial interests and pursue the most efficient resolution possible.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
When drivers behave unreasonably under the circumstances, they increase their chances of causing pedestrian accidents. And when a vehicle does strike a pedestrian, the pedestrian usually does not stand a chance. This is because, unlike vehicle occupants, pedestrians do not have the benefit of a thick metal shell or outer covering surrounding them during an accident. Therefore, if a pedestrian falls to the ground upon impact, they often sustain serious injuries—some of which are life-threatening.
Pedestrian accidents typically happen when drivers operate their vehicles carelessly and negligently. Negligent driving can take many forms, but it usually involves violating road rules, failing to use mirrors, and engaging in intoxicated or distracted driving.
When drivers get behind the wheel, they owe other drivers and pedestrians an affirmative duty to follow the rules of the road. In fact, the primary purpose of road rules is to protect others from severe accidents and injuries. However, when drivers choose to violate these rules—or otherwise operate their vehicles recklessly—they may cause serious accidents which leave pedestrians debilitated.
One of the most common road rule violations that cause pedestrian accidents is speeding. When drivers speed near traffic intersections—or in parking lots and parking garages where pedestrians are present—they significantly increase their chances of causing an accident. Moreover, when drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in designated areas, such as in crosswalks, they may negligently cause their vehicle to strike the pedestrian, knocking them to the ground.
Pedestrian accidents also frequently occur when drivers are in a hurry to get through a yellow or red traffic light at an intersection. When drivers speed through an intersection traffic light, they may not see a pedestrian who is lawfully present in the crosswalk, negligently striking them.
Pedestrian accidents also happen when drivers fail to use their rearview and side view mirrors at the appropriate times. Drivers should always check their mirrors when they get behind the wheel, ensuring they can see out of them. Moreover, when backing out of a parking space in a parking garage or parking lot, drivers should look through their mirrors to ensure that no one is behind them. When drivers fail to check their mirrors, they may negligently strike a pedestrian who is walking behind their vehicle.
Moreover, some pedestrian accidents occur when drivers drink and drive. Drug and alcohol intoxication may slow down a driver’s central nervous system functioning, severely limiting their driving abilities. Consequently, drivers may experience limited concentration and blurred vision, preventing them from seeing a pedestrian in the vicinity. Moreover, alcohol intoxication may delay a driver’s reaction time, preventing them from slowing or stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a pedestrian impact.
Passenger vehicle drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more are legally intoxicated. Similarly, commercial drivers with a BAC of at least 0.04 percent are legally under the influence. A 0.02 percent BAC cutoff applies to minor drivers under 21 years old.
When a driver drinks and drives, they may be subject to various criminal penalties, including fines and jail time, upon conviction. Moreover, if they cause a pedestrian accident that leads to injuries, they may incur higher criminal penalties, along with civil penalties. Specifically, they and their insurance company may be responsible for the resulting pedestrian damages.
Finally, some pedestrian accidents happen when drivers become distracted at the wheel. For example, they may roughhouse with passengers in the vehicle or listen to loud music while driving. At other times, drivers become distracted when they use a cellular device without Bluetooth capabilities or text and drive. Any of these activities may divert a driver’s attention away from the road, preventing them from seeing a pedestrian in the vicinity. As a result, they may collide with a pedestrian in a crosswalk or on a nearby sidewalk, causing them serious injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that resulted from driver negligence, you should contact a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area right away. Your lawyer can explore your legal options with you and help you decide on the most promising course of action for your case. If you are eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can submit the claim on your behalf, negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, and, if necessary, pursue litigation through the civil court system.
What is a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
A pedestrian accident claim begins when the accident victim’s lawyer submits the necessary claim documents, along with a settlement demand letter, to the insurance company adjuster. A demand letter makes a monetary demand for settlement within the limits of the applicable insurance policy. Once the adjuster receives these documents, they may make an opening settlement offer.
However, initial settlement offers in pedestrian accident claims are typically very low and do not adequately compensate accident victims for their injuries. Your lawyer will usually need to negotiate with the adjuster several times before the adjuster will increase their offer meaningfully.
If you reach an impasse during settlement negotiations, your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf. Even after filing suit, however, your lawyer may continue their negotiations with the adjuster and pursue the damages you need.
During litigation, your lawyer will help you answer written questions from the insurance company’s lawyer, what we call interrogatories, and prepare you for a deposition.
If you do not settle your claim by the end of litigation, your lawyer can take your case to a civil jury trial and let the jury decide all disputed issues. You may also consider some alternative dispute resolution options, like binding arbitration or mediation. Your lawyer can help you make informed decisions in your case regarding settlement and litigation so that you increase your chances of obtaining a favorable monetary recovery.
Factors that Frequently Affect Settlement Times in Pedestrian Accident Claims
All pedestrian accident cases are different, and the length of time it takes to settle one usually varies, depending on the circumstances.
Some factors that affect settlement times include:
- Whether the insurance company accepts or declines to admit fault for the pedestrian accident—sometimes requiring that an independent accident reconstructionist evaluate the circumstances and determine the accident cause
- The length of time it takes for a pedestrian accident victim to get the medical treatment they need
- Whether medical providers cooperate when submitting medical records and bills and whether they comply with subpoenas
- The need for medical testimony and a medical provider’s availability to testify at a deposition—or in court—that the pedestrian accident victim’s claimed injuries causally related to the accident
- The insurance company adjuster with whom you’re dealing—and their willingness and eagerness to settle the claim promptly versus letting the claim play out in litigation
- Court scheduling issues, including a judge’s availability for settlement conferences and a jury trial—especially in light of the recent back-ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Your lawyer can help you navigate the claims-filing and litigation processes and diligently work to get you the prompt compensation you deserve.
Call an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a recent pedestrian crash, time is of the essence. Pedestrian accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit in the court system seeking damages.
Untimely lawsuits may result in an accident victim waiving their right to monetary compensation. In fact, if the accident victim later files a lawsuit, the court will swiftly dismiss it. Therefore, as soon as possible after your pedestrian accident, you should seek a knowledgeable personal injury attorney’s assistance.
In addition to filing a prompt and timely claim or lawsuit on your behalf, your lawyer can assist you during settlement negotiations and litigation if that becomes necessary. Unlike attorneys who represent insurance companies and other big businesses, a personal injury attorney will look out for you and your financial interests.
Your lawyer will do everything they can to help you recover the compensation you deserve—including compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain, suffering, inconvenience, and mental distress. Your attorney can do this by highlighting the strengths of your case while downplaying any weaknesses.
Moreover, if litigation becomes necessary in your case, your Denver personal injury lawyer can represent you during all legal proceedings, advocate for your legal interests, and help you pursue the maximum compensation that’s available to you.