The World Health Organization reports that over 1.24 million deaths are caused by road accidents globally. About 270,000 of these victims are pedestrians. In 2020 alone, about 7000 pedestrians were killed on US roads and about 104,000 ended up in the Emergency room. Some of these accidents are avoidable and could lead to controversies that call for the involvement of a pedestrian accident lawyer.
Pedestrian accidents are mostly caused due to negligence from the driver or pedestrian, poor infrastructure, the drunkenness of either driver or pedestrian and faulty vehicles which can fail brakes.
Oftentimes, it is the pedestrian who suffers serious body injuries hence, the need for a pedestrian accident lawyer but what if it is the pedestrian who is at fault? Can the driver sue?
Keep reading to find out.
What is a Pedestrian accident?
A pedestrian is anyone who is walking on foot at any given time. A pedestrian could also be someone with movement assistance devices such as a wheelchair. Pedestrian accidents happen when any automobile or vehicle hits any of these users.
Usually, most roads will have a section set aside for pedestrians to walk on. This is called a sidewalk or pavement. Pedestrians are also able to cross from one side of the road to the other side following traffic laws such as using a zebra crossing.
In cases where a driver plunges into the sidewalk or through a zebra crossing when the traffic light is red, then the driver is said to be at fault and could be responsible for settling the victim in such accidents.
There are also certain times when a pedestrian is responsible for the accident. This could result in getting little settlements for such accidents. It is also possible for pedestrian accidents to be considered criminal. This happens when an accident is caused intentionally.
Who is a Pedestrian accident lawyer?
A pedestrian accident lawyer also called an auto accident attorney or a personal injury attorney is one who defends a person who has been involved in an accident with a car where the pedestrian was hurt or killed.
Their major role is to investigate the accident to determine who is at fault. This revelation can help in making sure that you are adequately compensated for any injuries you may have sustained during the accident.
Pedestrian accident lawyers also help accident victims in negotiating with their insurance companies to ensure that they get the fairest possible compensation for their injuries or losses. They also advise accident victims on how they can proceed in filing a claim for insurance companies.
Who needs a Pedestrian accident lawyer?
Any accident involving a pedestrian could require the involvement of a pedestrian accident lawyer. This could be either the pedestrian or the driver. In cases where a driver is at fault, a pedestrian accident lawyer can step in to ensure that the pedestrian gets duly compensated.
In the same vein, if a pedestrian has caused an accident by being negligent, the driver may require a pedestrian accident lawyer to file a claim for compensation.
Why do you need a pedestrian accident lawyer?
There are a number of reasons why one requires a pedestrian accident lawyer. Some of these reasons are:
1. To get good settlements for your insurance claim
As much as insurance companies are there to make unfortunate situations easier to navigate, they still need profit. Insurance companies will mostly make negotiations that may not completely favour you especially if your injuries are more serious.
Insurance companies are known to take advantage of accident victims by offering them less than their claims are actually worth. Sometimes, they can even deny a valid claim.
With a pedestrian accident lawyer, you can get the best possible negotiation with your insurance company. It is also possible for a lawyer to ensure that you get higher settlements from your insurance company to avoid the cost of court in cases where the lawyer advises the victim to sue.
2. To tap into the expertise of accident lawyers
Lawyers generally have a knowledge of what the laws are and how they work. Unless you have a law degree, it may be difficult for you to know the various laws that are aligned with your case.
Oftentimes, you will require a burden of proof to show that the other person is at fault. Organising this can be daunting and the expertise of a lawyer may be all that you’ll need to table a winning case.
3. You may be dealing with severe injuries
It is possible to go through all that back and forth with your insurance company or a driver who is at fault when you are healthy. Imagine being in an accident that leaves you with a broken leg or an injured spine. There is only little you can do to push your case. This is where a pedestrian accident lawyer comes in very handy.
A personal injury attorney can help you run your case while you receive treatment and try to recover. Injured pedestrians are also likely to accept less compensation than their injuries are worth. This may leave them struggling with medical bills in the future.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to happen when an accident lawyer is involved. The lawyer will ensure that the injured victim receives adequate compensation that will cover their complete medical cost at the least.
4. Saves you time, energy and money
Hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer can save you lots of time and money. Statistics show that injured pedestrians who hire lawyers end up getting higher financial compensation than those who represent themselves. This is even after attorney fees are deducted.
A pedestrian accident lawyer can also help with filling out and organising paperwork more accurately to avoid mistakes. This helps you save energy and gets your case rolling in no time.
Who is liable in a pedestrian accident?
Both drivers and pedestrians have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of themselves and other road users at all times. Traffic laws, road signs and regulations have been put in place to ensure this however, accidents still happen due to negligence on either the part of the driver or the pedestrian.
The responsible party is usually the one that is liable in a pedestrian accident. This means any party that has been found to be at fault for the accident will be the liable party.
There are cases where both the driver and the pedestrian can be responsible for an accident. This is called comparative negligence. In such cases, both parties take responsibility for the accident resulting in lower compensation. For example, a 10,000 dollar compensation may be reduced to 5000 if the plaintiff is found to be 50% guilty.
Can a driver sue in a pedestrian accident?
The simple answer is yes. If a pedestrian has been found to be responsible for causing a pedestrian accident then the driver has the right to sue. The driver will however be required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the pedestrian was indeed negligent.
How can you prove liability caused by a pedestrian?
Following a pedestrian accident, a driver may need to prove that he or she is innocent by providing a burden of proof. This will help establish that the pedestrian is the one responsible for the accident.
Photo and video proof can provide enough evidence to show that the pedestrian is at fault. Usually, surveillance cameras are placed at strategic points in cities. This footage can be accessed with the help of a pedestrian accident lawyer and can be used as evidence.
Eyewitness statements and expert testimony such as police reports also serve as useful evidence in showing that a pedestrian has caused an accident.
What damages can be recovered in a Pedestrian accident case?
A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you recover certain damages that you may have encountered as a result of an accident. Some of these damages are:
1. Medical Bills
A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for medical bills. This translates to all costs including future medical costs that may arise as a result of injuries sustained during the accident. Make sure to keep adequate records of all medical-related invoices as they will be necessary to help you get your claim.
2. Mental pain
Physical pain is more visible after an accident but a lot of victims end up having to deal with significant mental pain also. They may start to experience anxiety, depression and other forms of emotional pain. Mental illness as a result of head injury can also happen and can be very traumatic for the victim. An accident victim may be entitled to compensation for such pain.
3. Loss of earning capacity
Having very severe injuries can render you incapable of working for a long period of time or even forever. This situation can be a difficult one and such people can be entitled to compensation for the money they would have earned if they were healthy.
4. Suffering and pain
Pedestrians or drivers who have suffered serious injuries are also entitled to compensation for non-economic losses. This includes the emotional suffering and pain that they may experience due to their injuries. This includes stares and teasing from strangers due to a seeming abnormality that could harm their self confidence.
5. Property damage
In cases where a driver hits a surface while trying to divert an accident caused by a pedestrian thereby causing damage to the car, the driver is entitled to seek compensation for the damaged vehicle.
Accidents frequently happen however they can be easily avoided. Avoiding accidents will not only reduce the number of death, injuries and stress but will also ensure that properties are not damaged in the process. You can take deliberate measures to ensure that you do not get involved in accidents. These measures include:
- Moving within speed limits.
- Avoiding the use of drugs and/or alcohol when walking or driving.
- Obeying road traffic signs.
- Not looking at your phone when walking or driving.
- Being attentive at all times.
These can help you have a safe experience while using the road. Should you ever get involved in a pedestrian accident, ensure that you employ the services of a pedestrian accident lawyer. More importantly, ensure that you visit the hospital and have yourself checked.