It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney any time you have been injured in a car accident, and especially if you have been injured as a pedestrian. Pedestrians have the right of way under the law and if a driver fails to yield, for whatever reason, it could result in severe injuries. If you have been injured in an accident, call a pedestrian accident attorney in Clearwater today.
Hit by a Vehicle? What to Do Before Calling a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Being hit by a car as a pedestrian is a traumatic experience, but it is important to take steps right away to make sure that you get the care and compensation you are entitled to after an accident.
Discussed below are three important steps that Clearwater Pedestrian Accident Lawyers suggest taking after you have been involved in an accident but before you contact a lawyer.
If you are a pedestrian who has been hit by a car, seeking medical attention should be your first priority.
It is important to visit an emergency room as soon after the incident as possible. Once there, you can receive a full evaluation of your injuries and start treatment immediately.
It is likely that either your or the driver’s Florida personal injury protection insurance will cover the cost of your emergency room visit.
It is expected that after an accident you may be a bit shaken up. However, it is vital for your case that you do what you can to gather evidence from the scene.
Your priority should be to take photos of the exact area where the accident took place including the driver’s vehicle and the surrounding streets. It is also important to take the time to speak with the driver and figure out their name and insurance information.
If you were injured in a hit and run, it is still important to take photos of the exact location of the incident and surrounding areas.
Your lawyer will send an investigator to determine if there are any cameras in the area that may have footage of the accident. This footage will be invaluable to your case and help you and your attorney prove the driver’s negligence.
File a Police Report
If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you should call a police officer right away. Filing a police report will give you a written and credible record of the incident.
Police reports are reliable sources because they contain a retelling of events while they are still fresh in your mind. Accident reports are used later in the process when negotiating with the driver’s insurance company or when taking your case to court.
How Much is My Case Worth?
The answer to this question is, it depends.
You will need to speak with a Clearwater accident attorney if you have been involved in a pedestrian accident to get the most accurate estimate for your damages. However, you can get an idea of what your claim is worth by considering some of the key factors listed below.
Severity of Injuries
A major indicator of what you can recover after being hit by a car is the severity of your injuries. The more severe the injury, the higher the likely settlement. This is because severe injuries typically cause greater pain and suffering and are usually associated with higher medical expenses.
Missed Time at Work
Another consideration for estimating damages in a pedestrian accident case is the amount of lost wages or work missed due to injuries caused by the accident. Lost wages are factored in while calculating damages and the greater the amount of time spent not working due to the accident, the greater your potential damages.
Nature of Medical Treatment
Some injuries require more medical attention than others. If you have sustained an injury with extensive and expensive medical treatments, your damage evaluation is likely to be much higher than someone who suffered from minor or inexpensive injuries. For example, if your injury has caused you to need multiple surgeries and lifelong treatment or rehabilitation, those costs will be factored into your damages award.
Prospects for Recovery
If you have suffered a severe injury that is likely to impair your quality of life for a prolonged time after the accident you may receive higher damages. If your doctors anticipate that your injuries will be lifelong you will most likely incur more costs and higher medical bills than someone whose injuries last only a few days or weeks. This is because your damage calculation will include future expenses as well as greater compensation for pain and suffering.
Determining your Fault
When estimating your damages, you should also consider your role in the accident. If you were negligent in some way and contributed to causing the accident, your damages may be reduced accordingly.
How Legal Representation Helps After A Pedestrian Accident
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, an experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyer can help you recover and get the compensation you deserve. Listed below are just a few ways that an attorney in your area can help you through your personal injury case.
Investigate the Claim
An experienced accident lawyer will help you to gather evidence for your claim. An attorney will know how to recover any available video footage from the scene of the accident to show the driver’s negligence. A knowledgeable attorney will also understand the importance of identifying witnesses and obtaining official statements. An attorney will also help you to gather and retain all your medical records to build your case for damages.
Settle or Proceed to Trial
The question of whether you should settle your claim or proceed to trial is a complex strategic question. After evaluating your claim and the facts of your case, an experienced attorney will know if you have received a fair settlement offer of if you should proceed to trial.
It is common for insurance companies to offer low settlement numbers as a first offer. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company and make sure you get the highest award possible.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will also be able to anticipate how your case will do at trial as well as the likelihood of you succeeding on your claims. Having an attorney by your side will help you to make informed decisions regarding your case and recover the compensation you deserve.
Recover Economic Damages
A personal injury attorney will help you to recover the economic damages you suffered due to the accident. The economic damages associated with your accident are the real and actual financial losses that you have suffered due to the accident.
These will include both direct and indirect financial losses. Direct financial losses include money expended on medical expenses and an example of an indirect loss would include lost wages. You are entitled to compensation for both direct and indirect financial losses that you have experienced due to an accident.
Listed below are common economic damages that can result if you have been hit by a car,
- Emergency room bills
- Physical therapy
- Doctor visits
- Blood tests
- Travel costs to medical appointments
- Mobility aids like crutches, braces, and wheelchairs
- Prescription costs
- Occupational therapy
Recover Non-economic Damages
You are also entitled to compensation for the non-economic losses you have incurred due to an accident.
These damages include things such as value for loss in quality of life such as an inability to play and spend time with your children and engage in activities.
Another non-economic damage claim may be for the pain and suffering caused by your accident.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies
The goal of the insurance companies after an accident is to settle a claim for the lowest possible amount. An experienced attorney will be familiar with their tactics and know-how to negotiate to get you the highest compensation possible for your claim.
The third kind of damages that may be involved in a pedestrian accident claim is punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather they are meant to punish a negligent driver for violating laws. If the driver who caused your injury violated criminal laws, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may be subject to punitive damages.
Act as a Guide
Overall, your attorney will act as your guide through the entire process from start to finish. It will be a relief to have a legal expert working for you throughout this difficult time. The right personal injury lawyer will be familiar with the process and make your experience as painless as possible.
Pedestrian & Traffic Crashes: A Real Problem
Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to injury in traffic accidents. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than vehicle passengers to be injured in an accident. Listed below are some precautions the CDC recommends for pedestrians to take to avoid accidents,
- Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and wearing reflective clothing, such as reflective vests.
- Cross streets at a designated crosswalk or intersection whenever possible.1
- Walk on a sidewalk or path instead of the road. Walk on the shoulder and facing traffic if a sidewalk or path is not available.
- Avoid using electronic devices like earbuds or walking if you have been using alcohol or drugs. They can cause distractions and impair judgment and coordination.
Who is Most at Risk?
While every pedestrian is at risk in busy streets or intersections, national studies find that certain pedestrians are at a higher risk for being involved in an accident. The CDC lists several factors that increase a pedestrian’s likelihood of being injured.
Studies show that half of all pedestrians involved in accidents involved either a driver or pedestrian who was under the influence of alcohol. The CDC data shows that one in every three fatal pedestrian car crash involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter.
Older Adults and Children
Other vulnerable groups include older adults and younger children. Pedestrians aged 65 and older accounted for 20% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 10% of all pedestrian injuries in 2017. One in every five children under the age of 15 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians in 2017.
Other variables that increase the likelihood of accidents include vehicle speed and time and place of the accident.
A pedestrian is more likely to be injured in an area with higher speed limits or more speeding vehicles. Studies also show that more densely populated urban areas are more dangerous than rural areas and that more pedestrian accidents happen at night or when road visibility is poor.
For more pedestrian accident information, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention motor vehicle safety page.
FAQ About Pedestrian Accidents
Who Qualifies as a Pedestrian?
Under the law, a pedestrian is any injury victim who was not inside a motor vehicle at the time of the accident. Therefore, someone qualifies as a pedestrian if they were injured while taking a walk, riding in a wheelchair, changing a tire, or even cleaning the outside of their vehicle.
Who is at fault in a pedestrian accident?
A determination of fault in a pedestrian accident depends on the specific facts of the case. Like other personal injury claims, pedestrian accidents are governed by negligence laws.
Under negligence law, every person is required to exercise a reasonable degree of care. In the case of a pedestrian accident, both the driver and the pedestrian must exercise a reasonable degree of care.
Both the driver and the pedestrian should obey traffic laws and act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. Therefore, the fault of a pedestrian accident could fall on either the driver or the pedestrian depending on who’s conduct did not meet the reasonable care expectation.
What happens if you hit a pedestrian and it isn’t your fault?
In some instances, a pedestrian may be partially liable for causing a car accident. If a pedestrian negligently walked into the street causing the driver to lose control, they may be responsible for damages incurred by the driver. This is true even if the pedestrian was injured in the accident.
Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident?
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to contact an accident lawyer to become informed about your rights and ensure that you get the most compensation possible for your accident. Going it alone could be extremely taxing and this is especially true if you have suffered an injury.
Hiring an experienced lawyer will benefit you tremendously in the long run. It will relieve you of the responsibility of investigating and bringing your claim while you are healing from the pain and suffering caused by your accident.
An accident attorney can make settling your claim a seamless process and could cost you little to no money.
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a minor car accident?
It is important to contact an accident lawyer after an accident no matter how minor it may seem.
If you have suffered any injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation and a lawyer can guide you through the process and handle the time-intensive labor of trying your case.
Our Clearwater pedestrian accident lawyers have experience dealing and negotiating with insurance companies and will make sure that you don’t get taken advantage of throughout your settlement negotiations.
Questions to Ask Your Clearwater Pedestrian Accident Lawyer:
- How long have you been representing pedestrian accident clients?
- Are you familiar with the case law in Clearwater?
- What percentage of your cases in Florida are pedestrian accident cases?
- How often do you take cases to trial?
- What is your standard fee arrangement and are there any special fees I should know about?
- Which factors of my casework against me?
- What should my expectations be for the outcome of my case?
- Why should I hire you to work on my pedestrian accident case?
- Have you dealt with any pedestrian accident cases that have similar facts to mine?
- What positive results have you achieved for your other clients who have suffered injuries due to a pedestrian accident injury?
Free Consult with a Clearwater Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you are a pedestrian who has been hit by a car in Florida, consult with an experienced Clearwater pedestrian accident lawyer today for a free case evaluation.