Car accidents involving collisions between motorists and pedestrians have some of the most devastating consequences of any type of car crash.
This is because pedestrians are so much less protected than motorists. Motorists have the benefit of seat belts and airbags.
For this reason, many of the injuries pedestrians get in these kinds of collisions are catastrophic in nature. They require intensive treatment, and often result in permanent disability or tragically, even death.
Fortunately, pedestrians who are in collisions with vehicles can recover damages compensating them for their losses. If you or a loved one have injuries after being struck by a motorist, consult a pedestrian accident attorney.
Q: What should I do after a car accident?
Narrow down the list of law firms that could potentially represent you. You should take advantage of any free consultations to speak with the attorneys in person.
This will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the facts of your case with the attorney. You can also obtain advice on how he or she would handle your claim. You may also want to ask the following questions:
- Whether he or she has experience with car accident cases;
- The firm’s record of success;
- The fees and costs you can expect to incur if you file a claim;
- The strengths and weaknesses of your own case;
- Whether he or she would personally handle your case, or if it would be by another attorney;
- How long they expect the resolution of the case to take; and
- How often he or she will communicate with you regarding your case’s progress.
Initial consultations also provide a good opportunity to assess the lawyer-client dynamic with each attorney.
Q: How do I prove pain and suffering?
It is easier to prove physical pain and suffering. You will more than likely have the testimony of a doctor who will confirm your physical injuries. Mental pain and suffering are more difficult. If you visit a psychologist, therapist or counselor, you may have a better chance of proving your case. Sometimes, a family doctor can write a narrative confirming your mental distress.
You can ask friends, co-workers or employer to write letters explaining how your mental state has changed after an accident. Keeping a journal is another way to document the pain and suffering after an accident. Keep a list of all prescriptions your doctor orders after the accident. If any are for anxiety, depression or sleep aids, you will be better able to document mental distress.
The Severity of the Injuries
The type of settlement that a person gets after an accident depends on a number of different factors. The severity of the plaintiff’s injuries often determines how much a motorist, or their insurance adjuster offers as a settlement.
Pedestrian injuries tend to be serious. Resulting medical bills are often extremely expensive. They include the cost of ambulance services, surgical procedures, rehabilitation, and prescription medications.
Providing proof of these expenses is important when negotiating a settlement. It is evidence of the injured party’s estimated recovery time. It’s also proof of the impact that the injuries had on the pedestrian’s ability to participate in daily activities.
The manner in which insurers determine settlement offers varies depending on each company’s policy. It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to use a person’s medical bills as the focal point of the consideration.
This amount then gets enhancement by the nature and extent of the pain that the injured party endured. However, pain and suffering will usually only be in an insurer’s calculations when a medical professional can confirm the severity of the injury.
This is often the case in pedestrian-motorist collisions, which tend to result in particularly serious injuries. These can include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken bones, road rash, and lacerations.
Generally, this means that the more severe a pedestrian’s injuries are, the more he or she can expect to be offered as a settlement.
Besides the severity of the injury in question, one of the most important factors that insurance adjusters take into account when offering a settlement is who was primarily at fault for an accident.
When it comes to pedestrian-motorist collisions, this factor almost always weighs in the pedestrian’s favor. These individuals usually have the right of way at crosswalks and intersections.
It doesn’t mean just because a person was hit by a car, they will automatically be free of all fault. Instead, the parties need to clearly determine who was at fault for a collision. A pedestrian could also be held at least partially responsible for causing the crash.
For example, pedestrians who dart into the middle of a busy street, or who enter crosswalks when not permitted, or who attempt to cross streets between or outside of crosswalk areas could be held mostly liable for any resulting collision. This could in turn, lower the amount of any settlement awards offered to the injured party.
Finally, if a motorist’s behavior was clearly unlawful, such as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she may be willing to settle for a higher amount in order to keep the case out of court, where negligence, or even recklessness would be presumed.
Car Accident Settlements
Once these factors have been addressed, insurers who are willing to negotiate will usually offer an amount that reimburses the injured party for the money that he or she has already spent on medical bills, in addition to compensation for lost wages and emotional trauma.
Representation by an attorney helps ensure the insurance company considers all aspects of an injury in negotiating a settlement amount. Settlement offers allow both parties to save a significant amount of time and money on court fees and legal costs. It also allows the injured party to receive compensation sooner than with a trial and jury verdict.
A settlement avoids risk to the injured party that the jury won’t be sympathetic and award a low verdict amount. These savings may outweigh the potential of additional damages that the injured pedestrian may receive if it goes to trial. However, this does not mean that injured pedestrians should always accept the first settlement offer that they receive. Insurers often try to offer as little as they think they’ll get away with.
A pedestrian accident attorney helps present all the factors of the injured party’s case. This could convince the at-fault party to avoid a trial and settle for a higher amount. At-fault motorists may try to discredit an injured pedestrian. They may claim they took too much time off work, received treatment they didn’t need, or are otherwise exaggerating. An attorney who is familiar with these tactics will know how to counter the claims. They will do this through the submission of medical records, doctor’s notes, employment records, and even expert testimony.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
Most individuals who are in car accidents should attempt negotiation before filing a claim in court. Going to trial can also be a stressful and emotional experience, especially in pedestrian-vehicle collisions, which cause such devastating injuries.
Whether you should attempt settlement negotiations or should go to trial depends on the specific circumstances of your case. If you have injuries after being struck by a vehicle, please contact a pedestrian accident attorneys at VanderGinst Law. Call 800-797-5391, or complete one of our brief online contact forms.
When it comes to pedestrian-motorist collisions, this factor almost always weighs in the pedestrian’s favor, as these individuals usually have the right of way at crosswalks and intersections. This is not to say, however, that just because a person was hit by a car, he or she will automatically be free of all fault. Instead, the parties will need to clearly determine who was at fault for a collision, as a pedestrian could also be held at least partially responsible for causing the crash.
A settlement also avoids the risk to the injured party that the jury will not be sufficiently sympathetic and award a low verdict amount. In many cases, these savings outweigh the potential of additional damages that the injured pedestrian may receive if a case went to trial.
Whether you should attempt settlement negotiations, or should go to trial depends on the specific circumstances of your case, so if you have injuries after being struck by a vehicle, please contact one of the dedicated pedestrian accident attorneys at VanderGinst Law. HAving an experienced lawyer by your side gives you the best chance to receive the compensation you deserve after your accident.