If You Were Hit by a Car
Pedestrian accidents can be devastating for many reasons, but the main one being that usually very serious injuries will result to the pedestrian who was hit. This is why discovering fault is a complex matter because many factors are taken into consideration and damages will be based off of this.
For instance, did the driver stop at the scene? The driver of the involved vehicle has a legal obligation of stopping when they have caused injury to a pedestrian. However, on some occasions, you may unfortunately run into a hit-and-run situation. This could narrow options significantly for the pedestrian. There are certain steps to take such as reporting the accident to the police for investigation purposes, getting names and addresses of witnesses, and considering what must be done for medical treatment. Hopefully, if you have been involved in a hit-and-run, you have your own medical coverage because your personal insurance will have to cover it.
WHAT QUALIFIES AS DAMAGES?
Medical Expenses: If a negligent driver hits a pedestrian, they will almost always have to pay for medical expenses. However, there are some situations in which problems arise. Take for example a situation in which a driver is not paying attention to the road and stops too late, hitting a pedestrian. The vehicle was slowing to a stop and only hit the pedestrian at 5 miles-per-hour, meaning that the pedestrian only suffered a little pain from the impact. The problem is – when the accident occurred, the pedestrian had a heart attack. Now you must ask yourself: Is the driver liable for the heart attack as well? Many pedestrians would not have had a heart attack in the same situation. However, since many courts find that the driver should be liable for all medical expenses resulting from the collision, they may see matters differently.
Lost Wages: If a pedestrian misses work because of their injuries, they must be rightfully compensated. It really depends on the specific situation, though – it may take longer for a construction worker to get back on his feet than somebody who works in front of a desk the majority of their day. No matter how high the pedestrian’s lost wages are, the driver will be responsible for making sure they get paid.
Pain and Suffering: This is a bit more difficult to figure out. It may not be as easy to place a dollar value on a year of chronic back pain. However, courts need to come to a decision about what they are going to award. The courts will usually ask the jury to answer those questions to the best of their ability.
Loss of a Normal Life: Say an award-winning gymnast was hit by a vehicle. The person must now give up their normal, everyday life of practice, competitions, and sharing the experiences with their family and children. These are damages known as “loss of normal life” and “loss of enjoyment.” However, the amount that the pedestrian will be owed is up to the jury.
HOW WILL THE DAMAGES BE PAID?
Various types of insurance coverage will come into play when a pedestrian-driver accident occurs.
Auto insurance is one of the main ways that pedestrians receive compensation for recovery after they have been involved in an accident. This is because drivers are required to carry some type of insurance if they are using the roads, in practically every single state. There are also things known as “no fault laws” where insurance is required to pay the plaintiff’s claim and no lawsuit against the defendant is allowed. Medical insurance may come into play as well. A pedestrian’s medical insurance company may be responsible to collect reimbursement for the pedestrian’s medical expenses. Workers’ compensation may be a requirement to pay for some bills as well.
If insurance coverage couldn’t pick up most of the costs, then many pedestrians would go without proper payment. This is due to the fact that many drivers don’t just have thousands of dollars sitting around that they can pay in damages.
However, what happens if the driver involved in an accident was uninsured or underinsured? Many people do not choose extremely extensive insurance policies to cover the most serious of injuries. Unless the pedestrian chose a policy like this, then they may have to sue the underinsured driver to collect damages that are not covered by insurance. If the driver doesn’t have any assets for the pedestrian to collect, then their expenses will go uncompensated.
There is also another catch – if the pedestrian had automotive insurance, there is a chance that their car insurance will pay the bills as well! This is true for many states. The insurance will typically be required to cover the costs regardless of the driver’s coverage up to a certain limit. But what happens if the pedestrian has no insurance and the driver doesn’t either? This means they will be out of luck and will find other means for compensation.
If you are a pedestrian who has been hit and received serious injuries, you may have a claim against a driver. If this is the case, you will want proper legal representation on your side to help you in your time of need.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN?
First, you need to ask yourself, how badly was I injured and what do I think I am able to receive? Being able to look at your injuries and treatment and assess that the other driver was at fault will make it easier to pursue a claim with the driver’s car insurance carrier. Third party claims are exactly the step you should take when you are attempting to get compensation for your losses. Through these, you will be able to cover medical bills, lost income, and general damages. You may expect back-and-forth negotiations as well as the possibility of court, but do not fret. Making your case is what matters.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian in the San Bernardino or Redlands area, you may be able to receive rightful compensation. But where do you turn? You can call Welebir | Tierney to get the legal representation that you deserve. Call today to find out more about your possible claim.
If You Hit a Pedestrian
Hitting a pedestrian with your car is a fairly common incident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 60,000 pedestrians were injured in car accidents in 2006. What’s more, a driver can severely injure a pedestrian while traveling at only 10 miles per hour. Every driver should know what to do after harming a pedestrian with their car, including what to do to take care of the injured party, and how to minimize liability.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
After hitting a pedestrian with your car, there are three things to do right away:
- Your first priority should be safety. Immediately bring any injured party to a safe place, but do not try to provide any medical care that is not required by the emergency.
- Next, seek medical and legal help. Contact the police, medical care providers, and auto insurance providers for the driver and pedestrian. It may be necessary to contact a defense attorney if you think you may be facing criminal charges, such as for driving while intoxicated. Be sure to be clear and truthful about the incident when the police and your insurance agent arrive.
- Next, exchange contact information if the pedestrian is not incapacitated, including your name, phone numbers, and insurance information. However, try to keep the exchange of information to a minimum. Avoid talking in depth with the pedestrian, or saying statements like “I’m so guilty.” Statements like that or other information could expose you to a personal injury lawsuit. You should also avoid speaking directly to the pedestrian’s attorney or auto insurance company, but try to have your auto insurance company talk to the pedestrian’s attorney, auto insurance company, or directly to the pedestrian.
WHO IS AT FAULT?
Usually, the fault of the accident is determined by figuring out which party was negligent. The party who fails to act with reasonable care would be considered “negligent.” The driver or the pedestrian could be the negligent party, or they could both be negligent. For example, if the driver was driving over the speed limit, and the pedestrian was crossing the street illegally, both parties could be negligent. In California, this is because of comparative negligence laws.
When a driver hits a pedestrian, the police will talk to the driver, the pedestrian, and any witnesses to figure out who was at fault. They may make a decision on the spot, or have an extensive investigation to reach a conclusion. The police will state their findings in the police report. The auto insurance company may dispute their findings, however, in which case they would send an insurance adjuster to view the scene of the accident or the damage done to property or the persons involved.
State laws vary greatly in regards to insurance schemes, with various limits and inclusions. It is always recommended to seek advice from an attorney to ask which auto insurer they should approach first.
The best way to avoid pedestrian accidents is defensive driving. “Defensive driving” means being aware of all pedestrians cyclists, and anyone else near the road. Drivers should pay particular attention to children and elderly adults, because they tend to be less aware of the road. Individuals who are not in a motor vehicle are more vulnerable and likely to be seriously injured than a drive, so it is a driver’s responsibility to drive cautiously.
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