If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, it is essential that you seek prompt medical treatment, either at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. You should also contact a knowledgeable Denver pedestrian accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. Your lawyer can begin advocating for you right away while you focus your attention on recovering from your injuries.
Once your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can negotiate with the at-fault person’s insurance company and pursue fair settlement compensation. If the insurance company will not take your case seriously and offer you the full and fair damages you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case to an efficient conclusion in court.
Types of Injuries that Accident Victims Routinely Suffer
The specific injuries that a pedestrian accident victim suffers typically depend upon the force of impact and the force with which the accident victim strikes the ground. The extent of an accident victim’s injuries will depend upon how they land on the ground and which body part they strike. For example, if the accident victim hits their head on the ground when they fall, they may suffer a traumatic head or brain injury, such as a concussion.
Other common pedestrian accident injuries include soft tissue damage, bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, internal organ damage, road rash, and death.
After your accident, an emergency room or urgent care center physician can physically examine you, order the necessary imaging studies, and diagnose your medical condition. You should seek this emergency treatment even if you are unsure whether you suffered injuries in the accident. This is because many injury symptoms do not appear right away.
For example, with traumatic head injuries and soft tissue injuries, symptoms may not appear for several days after the accident. By following up with a medical provider on the same day as your accident, you ensure that your injuries do not become worse.
An ER doctor can also make recommendations for follow-up treatment if you need it. Depending upon your injuries, you may need to follow up with a primary care doctor, orthopedist, or neurologist, if your symptoms become worse. You also may need to begin a physical therapy regimen.
While you continue your medical treatment, your pedestrian accident attorney can begin gathering your wage loss documents, medical records, medical bills, photographs of your injuries, and other potential evidence to use in your case. Once you finish treating, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company and pursue a favorable settlement offer from the adjuster.
How Pedestrian Accidents May Occur
Pedestrian accidents usually happen when drivers behave negligently. A negligent driver acts unreasonably under the circumstances in existence at a given time. In most cases, this means that the driver violates a traffic law or engages in distracted or intoxicated driving.
Pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere, including parking lots, parking garages, sidewalks, crosswalks, and on the side of the road.
Some of the most common causes of these accidents include:
- Failing to use rear view and side view mirrors: Drivers have a duty to use both their rearview and side view mirrors, especially when they back out of a parking space. When they fail to look in their mirrors before backing up, they may not see a pedestrian running or walking behind them, abruptly pulling out of their parking space and striking them.
- Road rule violations: Pedestrian accidents may also occur when drivers violate other road rules, especially at or near traffic intersections. For example, a driver may speed or fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians at an intersection crosswalk. At other times, a driver may try and beat a yellow or red traffic light, or run a stop sign or yield sign, striking a pedestrian who has not yet cleared the crosswalk. When these accidents happen at high speeds, fatal injuries can result.
- Distracted driving: A driver is distracted when they do not pay sufficient attention to the road. Instead of watching the road, they might be fiddling with a GPS device, talking on the phone, or sending a text message on an electronic device. At other times, the driver might listen to loud music in their vehicle or roughhouse with vehicle passengers, distracting them from watching the road. Even when a driver turns their head away from the road for a second or two, that may be enough time for them to miss a pedestrian on the side of the road—or in a crosswalk—negligently causing them injuries.
- Intoxicated driving: Passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. Stricter standards apply for minors who are under 21 years old and commercial vehicle drivers, including big rig and tractor-trailer operators. Drunk driving can be extremely dangerous because it not only distorts a driver’s vision but it limits their concentration abilities and reaction time. Consequently, even if an intoxicated driver sees a pedestrian, they may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid an impact. When that happens, the impact force may cause the pedestrian to fall to the ground and suffer severe and sometimes permanent injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that resulted from driver carelessness, you are not alone. In fact, you have several legal options available in your case, including filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Your lawyer can assist you throughout the entire claims-filing process and, if necessary, file a lawsuit and pursue litigation in the court system. Your lawyer will ensure that you understand your options and can help you select the best course of action for your personal injury case.
Filing a Claim With the Insurance Company
Once your medical treatment is over, your lawyer can submit your medical records and bills, lost wage documents, and other evidence to the insurance company adjuster for review. The adjuster might then make an initial offer to resolve your claim, assuming they accept liability for the accident.
Initial settlement offers are typically far below the actual claim value, so your lawyer will likely need to negotiate with the adjuster several times. If the adjuster increases their settlement offer appropriately, and you decide to accept the offer, your case will end. However, if that does not happen, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit in the court system.
Once your lawsuit is pending in court, your case can still settle at any time. In fact, the majority of pedestrian accident claims settle long before the case goes to trial. During litigation, the parties will complete discovery and may engage in a pre-trial or settlement conference with the court.
If the case does not resolve by the end of litigation, the parties may take their case to a jury trial. During a jury trial, the jury will decide all issues currently in dispute, including damages. As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties may consider mediation or binding arbitration as a means of resolving their case.
Your lawyer can explain the benefits and detriments of jury trials and alternative dispute resolution proceedings—like mediation and arbitration—and help you make the best possible decision for your case.
Recovering the Maximum Damages Available to You
When pedestrian accident victims suffer injuries, they often incur high medical costs and other damages. In addition, they may be unable to return to work until they seek treatment and recover from their injuries. Medical bills and other expenses can pile up quickly, and accident victims may not know where to turn for relief.
Fortunately, if you satisfy the legal elements of your pedestrian accident claim, you may be eligible to recover various damages. First, you must demonstrate that another person’s negligence caused your accident, which in turn caused your injuries. If you can establish these legal elements, then you can recover various damages in your claim or lawsuit.
The specific types and amounts of damages that pedestrian accidents may recover depend upon different factors, including the types of injuries they suffered, whether their injuries are permanent, the extent of their medical treatment, and whether they missed time from work.
To prove that a pedestrian accident victim is eligible for medical compensation, a healthcare provider must causally connect the victim’s injuries to the traffic accident.
Specifically, a medical provider must be willing to state in writing, or during a discovery deposition/trial, that the injuries directly resulted from the accident. The provider must be willing to make this statement to a reasonable degree of medical probability. A medical provider can also state, according to the same standard, that an accident victim’s injuries are permanent. A permanent injury is one that is unlikely to resolve—even after significant time passes.
In addition to medical compensation, pedestrian accident victims can recover damages for their lost earnings.
To prove lost income, the accident victim’s lawyer will typically need to introduce documents or testimony from their employer which states:
- The number of days the accident victim missed from work
- The amount of money they lost.
Medical documentation may also be necessary to show that a doctor authorized the accident victim to miss work time.
In addition to these economic damages and out-of-pocket costs, a pedestrian accident victim can also recover compensation for their inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of spousal companionship and family support.
A knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area can determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover, given the circumstances of your accident. Your lawyer will then do everything they can to maximize your damages by highlighting the strengths of your personal injury case—and downplaying any weaknesses—during a settlement negotiation, trial, or binding arbitration.
Call a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian crash, an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area can help right away. Your lawyer can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you, as well as your injuries and medical treatment.
If you’re eligible to file a personal injury claim, your lawyer can promptly do so with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In addition to negotiating with the insurance company adjuster, your lawyer can help you make informed decisions in your case, including whether to accept or reject a pending settlement offer.
Moreover, if the insurance adjuster will not compensate you fairly for your injuries, your Denver personal injury lawyer can assist you throughout the litigation process and represent you in all legal proceedings. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the compensation you recover for your pedestrian-accident injuries by zealously advocating for your legal interests—both at the settlement negotiating table or in court.