When Pedestrians Are Injured in a Car Accident
In 2017, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That equates to about one death every 88 minutes. In addition, an estimated 137,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries.
If you were injured as a pedestrian in a car accident—or if you lost a loved one to such an accident—you may be eligible to receive compensation through a personal injury claim.
When You May Be Eligible To File a Personal Injury Claim
Whether you can recover damages in your case depends on whether there is someone else to blame for the accident. If you walked out into traffic illegally, for example—perhaps you were texting and not paying attention—and you got hit, you would not be successful in a lawsuit.
If, however, a driver ran a red light while you were legally crossing an intersection and hit you, the driver is clearly at fault and you would have a strong case to present to a judge, assuming you are suffering from significant injuries.
Compensation in a personal injury lawsuit is meant to help pay for medical expenses, any ongoing care you may require, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If an accident leaves you paralyzed, disfigured, or otherwise injured and/or disabled, you may also be able to receive compensation for loss of enjoyment.
The Important Question: Who Was At Fault?
If a driver failed to obey traffic signals and posted speed limits, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or failed to yield to pedestrians when required by law, he or she is clearly at fault for the accident. In that case, the pedestrian would recover compensation from the driver’s insurance carrier. If the pedestrian was crossing the street illegally, however, the pedestrian may be at fault, and may even have to pay for any damage to the driver’s vehicle.
Sometimes, the situation is less clear-cut. Let’s say the pedestrian was jaywalking when he got hit, but the driver was also driving too fast. This is where a car accident lawyer can help. The laws vary depending on the state in which you live, and your lawyer can help guide you in determining what your rights may be.
If it’s determined that both you and the driver shared fault in the accident, you may still be able to recover a portion of the damages. In the case above, it may be determined that the pedestrian was 50 percent responsible and the driver was 50 percent responsible, which would result in the pedestrian receiving 50 percent reimbursement for medical expenses.
This is a very simplistic example, but this is the basic principle. Keep in mind that in “no-fault” states—such as Pennsylvania—if the damage is under a certain limit and there are no serious injuries, the plaintiff’s insurance will be required to pay the claim. If the injuries are more severe, a lawsuit may be appropriate.