Car accidents involving collisions between motorists and pedestrians have some of the most devastating consequences of any type of car crash.
This is largely because pedestrians are so much less protected than motorists, who have the benefit of seat belts and air bags.
For this reason, many of the injuries pedestrians get who are in these kinds of collisions are catastrophic in nature, 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, so if you or a loved one were have injuries after being struck by a motorist, it is critical to consult an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who can ensure that your claim is filed properly and on time.
The Severity of the Injuries
The type of settlement that a person gets after an accident depends on a number of different factors. For instance, the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries often determines how much a motorist, or his or her insurance adjuster will offer as a settlement.
Pedestrian injuries tend to be serious, so resulting medical bills are often extremely expensive and include the cost of ambulance services, surgical procedures, rehabilitation, and prescription medications.
Providing proof of these expenses is important when negotiating a settlement, as is evidence of the injured party’s estimated recovery time, as well as proof of the impact that the injuries had on the pedestrian’s ability to participate in daily activities.
Although the manner in which insurers determine claim settlement offers and amounts 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 as a result of his or her accident. 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, such as 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, 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.
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 experience pedestrian accident attorney can help ensure that the insurance company considers all aspects of an injury in negotiating a settlement amount. Any settlement offer allows both parties to save a significant amount of time and money on court fees and legal costs and allows the injured party to receive compensation sooner than it would take to reach a trial and jury verdict.
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.
However, this does not mean that injured pedestrians should always accept the first settlement offer that they receive, as insurers often try to offer as little as they think they can get away with.
An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help present all the factors of the injured party’s case, which could convince the at-fault party to avoid a trial and settle for a higher amount.
At-fault motorists may even attempt to discredit an injured pedestrian by claiming that he or she took too much time off from work, received treatment that he or she did not need, or is otherwise exaggerating his or her injuries.
A knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with these tactics will know how to counter these claims 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, so if you have injuries after being struck by a vehicle, please contact one of the dedicated pedestrian accident attorneys at VanderGinst Law by calling 800-797-5391, or by completing one of our brief online contact forms.