Pedestrian accidents are a far too common occurrence on today’s roads. What makes matters even worse is that driver negligence is often to blame. Whether speeding, ignoring crosswalks, texting, or under the influence, drivers don’t see these innocent pedestrians until it’s too late. The results are disastrous, leaving them with painful and debilitating injuries or even worse.
If this happens to you or a family member, you must know you have legal rights and options. A seasoned pedestrian accident attorney can help you learn more about and exercise your rights. After being involved in such an accident, one of your first steps should be to contact an attorney.
The Role of a Pedestrian Accident Attorney
At its very center, a pedestrian accident lawyer’s role is to advocate for their injured client. This means handling communications and deadlines within the civil court system and with insurance companies, keeping the client appraised of all developments in their case.
Some pedestrian accident victims think they can get by just fine without the help of a lawyer. If you are one of them, make sure you know what’s at stake before accepting the insurance company’s settlement offer and signing away any further legal rights in a settlement. Always remember that the insurance company is a for-profit business. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that they have your best interests at heart.
Instead of risking your injury claim, contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney for a free consultation on your case. During this free consultation, you’ll gain a better understanding of what your claim might be worth without having to invest any money. Here are some of the ways a lawyer will fight for you in a pedestrian accident claim:
If the police responded to your accident, they probably investigated the scene.
This usually includes:
- Sketching the scene to include the direction the vehicle was traveling and where the pedestrian landed after impact
- Obtaining statements from every involved party
- Getting witness statements, if there are witnesses available and willing
Whether the police responded or not, the applicable insurance carriers will talk to their customers to get their stories about what happened in the accident.
Unfortunately, these brief law enforcement investigations fail to provide a reliable picture of what happened before and during the accident. Unfortunately, they often also include omissions, errors, and inaccurate statements by the other party.
Your pedestrian accident lawyer will perform their own investigation into what and who caused the crash.
- Examining the police accident report
- Reviewing the insurance company’s report
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Getting surveillance video of the scene, if any, are available
- Assessing records of past problems at that location
- Investigating the other people involved and their driving records and previous accidents
- Inspecting the scene of the accident
- Going through medical records
- Hiring experts to review the records when necessary
With a thorough investigation, your attorney can provide a clearer picture of what happened to cause the collision, who was at fault, and why the other person should be held liable to you for their negligence.
Managing Your Treatments
Sometimes victims of an injury accident downplay their injuries. Pedestrian accident injuries can be frequently complicated and change over time. Even if an injured victim feels okay immediately after the pedestrian crash, neck stiffness and pain, decreased mobility, headaches, and other concerning symptoms can appear days or even weeks later.
Your pedestrian accident attorney can help ensure you seek treatment as soon as possible so your injuries worsen or develop complications.
Some injury victims may not seek medical care because they worry about paying their medical bills.
If a motorist caused the crash, that driver must pay your related damages. Your pedestrian accident attorney will encourage and help you to get proper treatment. They will also fight to get the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay your medical bills.
While taking pictures of the damaged vehicle and getting a copy of medical records is an excellent start in gathering evidence after a pedestrian accident, it’s not the end-all. The driver may hide or conceal evidence regarding the cause of the accident. However, an attorney can ensure that relevant evidence is retained and not tampered with. This is valuable evidence that engineering or medical experts your pedestrian accident lawyer hires can study to help build your case.
Writing and Sending a Settlement Demand Letter
Under general civil law, one of the first things you must do after an accident to obtain compensation for damages is to write and send a demand letter. The demand letter provides a detailed outline of the claim and the reasoning for the driver’s liability.
The demand letter typically includes:
- The names and contact information for the parties involved
- The facts and circumstances of how the pedestrian accident occurred
- The property damage and physical injuries caused by the accident
- Losses and expenses related to the accident
- A formal demand for monetary compensation from the insurance provider
In most cases, the demand letter is also the beginning of negotiating with the insurance adjuster. Your attorney will take care of this negotiation for you.
Negotiating With the Insurance Provider
Negotiating with the insurance adjuster is one of the most crucial steps in attempting to receive damages after suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident. Without an experienced attorney, it can also be one of the riskiest parts of a claim.
The insurance carrier has an army of lawyers and adjusters who deal with liability and injury claims each day. If you talk to the driver’s insurance company without your attorney present, they might get you to say things to damage your claim. This will help their case so they can deny your insurance claim altogether or pay you less money for it. Let your attorney handle the insurance company so you will have the best chance for full and fair compensation.
The injured individual gets to determine if they want to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer. Your lawyer will discuss your options with you. If the insurance company will not negotiate or only offers a small settlement for your damages, your pedestrian accident lawyer can litigate the claim in civil court.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If negotiations with the insurance company fail, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit in the applicable civil court. Your attorney will ensure your case includes a strong basis for liability and a convincing claim for all of your damages.
A pedestrian accident lawsuit can take some time to go to trial. However, most personal injury lawsuits settle before the trial date arrives. The closer the trial gets, the more likely both parties will reach a negotiated settlement.
Although not all damages apply to every case, common compensatory damages in a pedestrian accident include:
- Medical expenses, including emergency medical treatment and physical or occupational therapy
- Property repairs or replacement expenses
- Lost income due to being unable to work
- Decreased future earning capacity
- Medication and medical equipment and supplies
- Future medical care and treatment
- Pain and suffering
- The loss of a limb, scarring, or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium (for a spouse or partner)
Depending on the circumstances, those injured in pedestrian accidents might receive punitive damages when the at-fault driver was reckless, purposely tried to hurt someone, or committed a hit-and-run.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
While pedestrians can suffer a wide range of traumatic injuries, or multiple injuries from one accident, the following are some of the most common.
The body’s limbs are especially susceptible to injuries in a pedestrian accident. Emergency and follow-up treatments are typically required. Broken bones can lead to infection and need surgery and physical therapy. Particularly bad breaks may require amputation, which will undoubtedly cause significant impairment and decreased quality of life.
Pedestrian accidents also commonly cause minor breaks and sprains. These injuries are not usually difficult to treat; some need more prolonged periods of healing and rehabilitation to restore normal function in the area or body part.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
Injuries to the spinal cord are one of the worst types of injuries stemming from a pedestrian collision. They are also one of the most expensive and debilitating injuries. SCI can cause partial or total paralysis or even death. Sometimes these injuries leave the victim with a permanent disability. If this occurs, they cannot care for their own basic needs, engage in typical everyday activities, or earn a living.
Brain and Head Trauma
The forces and impacts of a pedestrian accident can cause severe brain and head injuries: skull fractures, bruising, bleeding, and soft tissue damage. Some TBI victims will immediately fall unconsciousness or exhibit other tell-tale signs of injury; others may not realize their injuries until later.
Get emergency medical treatment. The sooner a doctor diagnoses and treats a traumatic brain injury, the better the outcome. These injuries require emergency care and extensive follow-up treatments. Additionally, some victims will undergo significant impairments in cognitive function and might need lifetime support and care.
Pedestrian accident victims can sustain minor or severe facial injuries, including cuts, scrapes, bruises or deep lacerations, fractures, burns, and teeth or jaw damage. Minor pedestrian accidents may cause facial injuries. The face can sustain injuries from an impact with motor vehicle parts or objects made airborne in the accident, such as broken glass. Puncture wounds can also result from broken bone shards or other sharp objects.
Sometimes, the injuries that aren’t visible impact pedestrian accident victims the most. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help victims fight for damages for these as well. Psychological injuries can be present, no matter how minor or severe a victim’s physical injuries are.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among pedestrian accident victims. This disorder frequently requires treatment from a mental health professional following a pedestrian accident.
Some victims only need a few therapy sessions, and others may need several years to help them deal with the potentially lasting impacts of living with PTSD. Other psychological injuries resulting from a pedestrian accident include generalized or acute anxiety, severe panic attacks, and depression. The trauma of the actual event or recovery from the event can cause these.
Often, treating psychological injuries is difficult. For example, victims might need extensive therapy with a licensed professional, medication, and a lengthy recovery period to return to their normal mental and emotional state. The best pedestrian accident lawyers can help victims who are entitled to compensation for emotional distress resulting from the pedestrian accident get the recovery they deserve.
Speak with a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Immediately
Getting the compensation you deserve for your damages after a pedestrian accident depends on the legal representation you receive. Contact a personal injury law firm in Denver today to find out how they can maximize your compensation and make the legal process easier for you. Never wait to begin protecting your rights and financial future.