Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?

Pedestrian accidents can result in devastating injuries that dramatically affect your life in many costly ways. If you or a loved one has been hit by a car while walking, you may be wondering – do I need a pedestrian accident lawyer? The answer is often yes.

Hiring an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can make all the difference in ensuring you receive the full compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Case evaluations with injury attorneys are free, so schedule yours today and learn about your legal options.

Why Pedestrian Accidents Are So Dangerous

As a pedestrian, you have zero protection if struck by a multi-ton vehicle. Even low-speed collisions frequently lead to serious injuries for the pedestrian. Some common injuries suffered in pedestrian accidents include:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Lacerations, road rash, and disfigurement
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
  • Knee, leg, and foot injuries
  • Spinal cord damage and paralysis

Many of these injuries can have lifelong consequences. You may require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, and rehabilitation. You can be out of work for an extended period or even permanently disabled. The physical, emotional, and financial toll can be immense.

Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

To recover compensation, it’s necessary to prove that the driver was at fault for hitting you. In some cases, liability is clear cut – for example, if the motorist ran a red light or was driving drunk. Other times, the fault is harder to determine. The driver may claim you darted out into the road or failed to use a crosswalk.

Insurance companies often try to shift undue blame onto the pedestrian to limit their payout. They may pressure you to make a recorded statement or twist your words against you. That’s why it’s wise to speak to a pedestrian accident attorney before discussing the accident with an insurance adjuster.

A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer will investigate the crash, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and determine the full extent of your damages. Your attorney can then build a strong case proving the motorist’s negligence and liability for your injuries.

Compensation Available to Injured Pedestrians

A pedestrian accident claim allows you to pursue compensation for the full spectrum of harm you’ve suffered. Depending on the circumstances, you can recover money for:

Medical Expenses

One of the primary types of compensation available in a pedestrian accident claim is reimbursement for medical costs. This includes bills you’ve already incurred for ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, medications, and medical equipment. It also covers ongoing expenses for treatment you still need, like physical therapy and follow-up care.

Additionally, you can seek compensation for future medical costs you’ll likely incur due to the accident. For example, if your injuries will require additional surgeries down the road or lifelong pain management, those projected expenses should be part of your claim. Your attorney may work with medical experts to estimate the cost of your future care needs.

Lost Income and Reduced Earning Capacity

Serious pedestrian accident injuries often force you to miss work for days, weeks, or even months. You’re entitled to compensation for those lost income, including overtime, bonuses, and benefits. Provide your attorney with pay stubs and tax returns to help document your lost income.

In addition to income lost to date, you can seek compensation for your reduced future earning potential. If the accident leaves you with impairments that diminish the amount you can earn, you should be compensated for that loss. Suppose you can no longer perform the duties of your previous job and must take a lower-paying position. An attorney can help calculate the lifetime value of those lost earnings.

Pain and Suffering

Not all pedestrian accident injuries are visible. The physical pain and psychological trauma can be profound and persist long after wounds heal. Laws in many states allow compensation for pain and suffering as part of your overall damages.

Putting a dollar figure on pain and suffering can be challenging. Factors that may be considered include:

  • The severity and duration of your pain
  • The extent to which the pain interferes with your daily activities
  • How the injuries have affected your sleep and peace of mind
  • The mental anguish caused by the accident and your injuries

Keeping a daily pain journal can help document your suffering for the insurance company. Your attorney can also use a “multiplier method” to calculate pain and suffering. This involves multiplying your economic damages, like medical bills, by a number that reflects the severity of your injuries.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is a form of compensable harm distinct from pain and suffering. It encompasses the negative mental effects of being involved in a traumatic pedestrian crash and suffering serious injuries.

Some of the common symptoms of emotional distress may include the following:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Flashbacks and nightmares about the accident
  • Phobias about walking near roadways
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

To pursue compensation for emotional distress, you will need to prove that your mental anguish is tied directly to the accident. Medical records documenting your symptoms, testimony from a mental health provider, and statements from loved ones can help substantiate your emotional distress claim.

Disfigurement and Disability

Pedestrian accidents can result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, and other life-altering impairments. You have the right to be compensated for these irreversible changes to your appearance and abilities.

Disfigurement refers to scars and other visible marks left by the accident and related medical treatment. Disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits your ability to perform daily activities and engage in gainful employment. Both disfigurement and disability can warrant significant compensation.

Your attorney may use photos, medical illustrations, and expert testimony to demonstrate the extent of your disfigurement and disability to the insurance company or jury. Compensation can account for the cosmetic, physical, and emotional impact of your permanent impairments.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Some pedestrian accident injuries may not be permanently disabling but still seriously interfere with your ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed. Some states recognize “hedonic” damages for this loss of enjoyment of life.

Examples may include no longer being able to:

  • Participate in recreational pursuits like sports or hobbies
  • Travel or take vacations
  • Play with your children or grandkids
  • Contribute to household chores and upkeep
  • Attend social gatherings and community events

If your injuries have sidelined you from things that once brought meaning and fulfillment to your life, that diminished enjoyment should factor into your compensation. Your attorney can help paint a “before and after” picture to highlight the impact on your quality of life.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Pedestrian accident injuries can bring a slew of expenses beyond direct medical bills. You have the right to be reimbursed for these out-of-pocket costs, which may include:

  • Mileage and parking for doctor appointments
  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
  • Medical equipment like crutches or braces
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability
  • Replacement services for tasks you can no longer perform, like childcare or housekeeping
  • Counseling and mental health services

Keep track of all expenses you incur concerning the accident, and provide receipts to your attorney. Even small costs can add up to a significant sum that should be part of your compensation package.

The common thread across all these categories is that you shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden of an accident that wasn’t your fault. A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer can ensure your claim is as comprehensive as possible and fight for the maximum compensation you need to move forward with your life.

In pedestrian accidents with evidence of extremely egregious misconduct by the driver, you might also be awarded punitive damages. The goal of this additional compensation is to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar bad behavior.

Of course, no amount of money can undo the trauma of being struck by a vehicle. However, securing a full and fair settlement can provide vital support as you heal and rebuild your life. An experienced attorney will aggressively pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Dealing with Insurance Companies After Suffering a Pedestrian Accident

After a pedestrian accident, you’ll likely need to file a claim with the driver’s auto insurance company. Acquiring fair compensation often proves challenging, however. Insurance adjusters are trained to protect the company’s bottom line. They may attempt to downplay the severity of your injuries or pressure you to accept a lowball settlement.

Remember, insurance companies are not on your side, no matter how friendly and concerned the adjuster seems. Never provide a recorded statement, sign documents, or accept a settlement without consulting a pedestrian accident attorney.

Once you hire a lawyer, the insurance company must communicate through your attorney. Your lawyer will handle all negotiations and ensure you aren’t taken advantage of. Studies have shown that accident victims who hire an attorney recover significantly more compensation on average than those who try to handle their claim alone.

Proving Damages in a Pedestrian Accident Claim

To get fully compensated, you need to prove the extent of your damages. This requires more than just adding up your medical bills. An attorney can document the full impact the accident has had on your life.

Proving damages in pedestrian accident claims may involve:

  • Gathering medical records, bills, and expert testimony about your injuries and prognosis
  • Obtaining wage statements to show lost income
  • Documenting your pain levels and physical limitations
  • Keeping a journal about how your injuries have affected your daily life
  • Interviewing friends and family about changes in your mood, relationships, and activities
  • Consulting experts like life care planners about your long-term needs

The more thoroughly you document your losses, the stronger your claim for maximum compensation. An experienced attorney knows what evidence is needed and how to acquire it most effectively.

Pedestrian Accidents Often Involve Complicated Fact Patterns

Pedestrian accidents can involve complicated fact patterns that raise challenges in proving liability and damages. Examples include:

  • Hit-and-run accidents where the driver is unknown
  • Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers
  • Uber or Lyft rideshare accidents
  • Accidents occurring in parking lots or garages
  • Crashes where multiple parties may share blame
  • Incidents where the pedestrian suffers a worsening of pre-existing conditions

In these situations, you need an attorney with specific experience handling pedestrian accident claims. Your lawyer can investigate all potential sources of recovery and build a case strategy tailored to the unique facts at hand.

What to Look for in a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Given all that’s at stake, choosing your legal representation wisely is important. You want to hire an attorney who will give your case the personal attention and resources it deserves. Some key qualities to look for include:

  • Extensive experience handling pedestrian accident cases
  • A track record of successful settlements and verdicts
  • Comfortable taking cases to trial if needed
  • Positive client reviews and testimonials
  • Works on contingency, meaning no upfront fees
  • Responsive and accessible to answer your questions
  • Treats you with compassion and respect

Take the time to find a lawyer you feel comfortable with and trust to fight for your interests. The right attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim.

Consult a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today

Hopefully, this information has helped address the question – do I need a pedestrian accident lawyer? If you’ve suffered an injury as a pedestrian, the sooner you consult a lawyer, the better. You have limited time to file a claim. Prompt legal advice can ensure crucial evidence is preserved and that you don’t make any statements that jeopardize your case.

Most pedestrian accident attorneys offer free initial consultations. You can get your questions answered and learn your legal options without any cost or obligation. The attorney can evaluate the strength of your case and help determine the best path forward.

Remember, you don’t have to go through the difficult times after a pedestrian accident alone. A compassionate, experienced personal injury lawyer is ready to stand up for your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact a pedestrian accident attorney today to discuss your case.