Getting hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. In the aftermath of the accident, you may be facing significant injuries, lost income, and mounting medical bills. Navigating the legal system on your own can also seem daunting.
An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help. Here is what you should know.
Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
In pedestrian versus vehicle accidents, liability often falls on the driver. However, comparative negligence laws in certain states mean you may share partial responsibility if you were jaywalking or not following traffic signs at the time of the collision.
An attorney will investigate the accident circumstances thoroughly to build the strongest case possible for your claim.
Factors that may affect liability include:
- Whether the driver was distracted, speeding, or intoxicated at the time of the collision
- If weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog contributed to limited sight lines and visibility
- If you were crossing at a crosswalk with the designated walk signal
- Whether the driver violated traffic laws such as speed limits, traffic signals, failure to yield right of way, or improper lane changes
- If the driver’s view was obstructed by sun glare, construction, or improperly parked vehicles
- Whether the pedestrian had headphones on or was using a cell phone distractingly while crossing
- If the accident occurred at night or in low-light conditions
- If the driver’s headlights were functioning properly and turned on
Thoroughly examining every aspect of liability is key to proving negligence and receiving full and fair compensation. An experienced attorney will gather police reports, surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, accident reconstruction analysis, and other evidence to build your case.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Pedestrian Accident Claim
Pursuing a personal injury claim on your own following a pedestrian accident can be extremely difficult, especially while you recover from your injuries. The insurance companies have teams of experienced attorneys working against your interests.
Hiring a qualified lawyer of your own levels the playing field and handles the complicated legal process on your behalf. A pedestrian accident attorney can:
- Conduct a detailed investigation into how the accident occurred and prove liability
- Identify all potentially liable parties such as drivers, vehicle manufacturers, municipalities, contractors, etc.
- Interact with insurance companies, and adjusters and aggressively negotiate for fair settlement
- Determine if filing a personal injury lawsuit is needed to maximize compensation
- Handle litigation by filing motions, developing case strategies, presenting evidence, and arguing in court
- Consult and retain expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction specialists, doctors, actuaries, etc.
- Accurately calculate and document your complete losses including medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages
- Fight attempts by insurance companies to deny, delay, or minimize your claim
With an experienced attorney fighting for you, the insurance company will know they cannot take advantage of you and must provide full and fair compensation.
Steps Your Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Will Take
An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will handle every aspect of building a strong claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Here are some of the key steps they will take:
Your lawyer will thoroughly examine how the accident occurred, who was at fault, and what factors contributed to the collision. This involves steps such as:
- Obtaining and reviewing the police report for statements and officer analyses
- Interviewing any eyewitnesses to understand their vantage point and observations
- Acquiring nearby surveillance camera footage that may have captured the incident
- Analyzing skid marks, debris, vehicle damage, and other accident scene evidence
- Researching the at-fault driver’s history and driving patterns. Have they been involved in accidents previously? Were the accidents serious? Their driving history will play a role in the case even if the circumstances are not similar. For example, even if their previous negligence did not lead to a pedestrian death but instead caused a motorcycle death in Houston, it will still matter.
- Requesting cell phone records to check for distracted driving
- Having vehicles inspected by auto engineers to identify defects or malfunctions
- Reconstructing the accident with specialists to model speeds, angles, and more
- Issuing subpoenas to those unwilling to voluntarily provide evidence
A rigorous investigation establishes liability beyond dispute and provides a solid foundation for your claim.
Insurance Claim Process
Your attorney will manage the insurance claims process including:
- Notifying relevant insurers promptly of your intent to file a claim
- Collecting your medical records, bills, evidence of lost wages, and all other documentation
- Obtaining any accident-related records from emergency responders
- Consulting closely with your physicians and specialists
- Calculating future medical and life care costs with professionals
- Compiling a demand letter with a complete assessment of all compensable damages
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters, managers, and defense attorneys
- Advising whether to accept any settlement offer or pursue litigation instead
- Filing suit against the at-fault driver if warranted to maximize recovery
An experienced lawyer will value your claim properly and fight for fair compensation.
Litigation & Trial
If a lawsuit is necessary, your lawyer will aggressively pursue your case in court by:
- Drafting legal filings like the complaint, motions, briefs, and more
- Serving the defendant with the process to initiate the case
- Developing persuasive arguments and case strategies focusing on liability and damages
- Obtaining depositions and affidavits to establish critical evidence
- Retaining renowned experts in fields like accident reconstruction, biomechanics, vocational analysis, and medical prognosis
- Requesting evidence and documents from defendants through discovery
- Preparing exhibits, injury illustrations, videos, and other visual aids
- Presenting opening and closing arguments highlighting key points
- Examining and cross-examining witnesses to bring out facts favorably
- Consulting jury psychologists to improve arguments and presentation
- Leveraging their litigation experience to maximize the potential verdict or settlement value
An attorney intimately familiar with personal injury law and courtroom litigation can strengthen your position and odds of winning.
Your lawyer will fight to help you recover full damages including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
- Prescription medications, assistive devices, and home healthcare
- Lost income and reduced future earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress
- Permanent disability and loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident and recovery
- Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence
Maximizing your payout requires a Houston pedestrian accident lawyer with experience calculating life care costs, projecting lost wages, and valuing non-economic damages. Your attorney will handle collecting on any settlement or court award and can assist you in managing the funds wisely.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer handling everything allows you to focus fully on your recovery without the added stress of legal matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Handling a pedestrian accident claim and potential lawsuit raises many questions for injury victims. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
How Soon Should I Hire a Lawyer After My Accident?
It is highly recommended to consult an attorney immediately after seeking medical care. Your lawyer can begin gathering evidence, contacting insurers, documenting your losses, and advising on the next steps right away. Early legal representation maximizes the potential value of your claim.
How Much Compensation Is Recoverable in My Pedestrian Accident Case?
Every pedestrian accident case is unique. Compensation depends on the severity of your injuries, length of recovery, and economic plus non-economic damages. Experienced attorneys will seek maximum compensation and average settlements range from $300,000 to $500,000. Maximum policy payouts can reach $1 million or more in some catastrophic injury cases.
What Are Some Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
Common severe injuries suffered in vehicle vs pedestrian collisions include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, internal organ damage, PTSD, and amputations. You can claim compensation for all related medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, disability, loss of income, pain, and suffering.
Who Pays My Settlement If I Win My Claim?
Your compensation will be paid primarily by the at-fault driver’s auto insurance liability coverage. If those policy limits are insufficient, your own underinsured motorist coverage can pay the difference up to that policy’s limits.
Can I Still Claim If I Was Partially At Fault?
Yes, you can still make an injury claim even if you were partially negligent under most states’ comparative fault laws. Your payout would be reduced by your percentage of fault. However, an experienced attorney can argue to minimize your assessed level of blame.
How Long Do Pedestrian Injury Lawsuits Typically Take?
Simple claims could potentially settle within weeks or months, while complex litigation involving extensive injuries and disputed liability can take 1-2+ years to fully resolve in court. An attorney will work as quickly as possible while being thorough.
If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries as a pedestrian, contact us immediately to discuss your legal options. At Husain Law + Associates — Accident Attorneys, P.C., we will evaluate your case details and help determine the best path forward to recover maximum compensation. Call us today at (713) 742-6710 for a free consultation.