Many victims of pedestrian accidents have questions about how long an accident settlement may take or if a settlement automatically happens after a pedestrian accident. This is a common question we hear, but not a very easy one to answer. All cases are unique, and the length of time it will take to resolve your claim will depend on the facts and circumstances involved. While this can be frustrating to hear, obtaining fair compensation for damages often requires fervent negotiations between your attorney, insurance companies, and defense attorneys involved.
The average settlement time for a pedestrian accident in New Jersey depends on the severity of your injuries, the amount of evidence proving negligence, and the number of parties involved in liability. Read on to understand how these key factors play into how long your pedestrian accident claim will take and how much your claim is worth.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Pedestrian accident victims can suffer serious injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and fractures. These types of injuries often require extensive hospitalizations, surgeries, and long-term care, which are some of the costliest medical expenses for a family. When you file an injury claim after a pedestrian accident, that claim includes the value of your medical expenses. The higher the value that you are seeking, the more complex the negotiation becomes.
If you anticipate that further medical treatment will be necessary such as with serious injury, your claim will include compensation for future damages. If your medical treatment will extend far into the future, or you have lasting injuries that will require ongoing treatment, your claim could include a demand for compensation for future medical expenses, future pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, or lost income. A personal injury lawyer has expertise in calculating and negotiating for the maximum amount of compensation in these complex areas.
In many serious pedestrian accident cases, it may take some time to fully understand the extent of the injuries sustained, the ongoing treatment required and the full prognosis. This time, however, is required to determine the full value of your case. Keep in mind that once you accept a settlement, you cannot go back to claim further damages. If you settle your case too quickly, you risk having to pay for needed medical treatment down the road.
Proving Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
Most pedestrian accident claims use a legal basis of negligence to prove who or what entity was at-fault or bears responsibility for the accident. Motorists owe a special duty of care to pedestrians and must operate their vehicles responsibly and safely. If a pedestrian was in a crosswalk, the driver is almost always considered to be at-fault since the pedestrian has the right of way. Even if that’s not the case, the driver usually bears at least partial liability for the accident. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
Most fatal pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas at night, not in an intersection. Additionally, children and older adults are more at risk of a fatal pedestrian accident.
More Than One Liable Party
More than one person, business or entity could have legal liability for the incident. For example, if the vehicle involved in the accident was a work vehicle, the business owner and/or the at-fault driver’s employer may be liable. Other parties who may be liable in a pedestrian accident include auto parts manufacturers, municipalities or government entities that maintain roadways, and other drivers involved in the accident. Experienced pedestrian accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case to determine all parties who bear some liability for the accident.
Should You Accept the Settlement Offer?
While the vast majority of pedestrian injury claims are resolved through a settlement, that doesn’t mean that you should be quick to accept any offer that comes your way. It isn’t unusual for an accident victim to be unhappy with the amount offered by an insurance company. Insurance companies are in business to maximize their profits and minimize claims. This may mean that after an initial period of negotiation, a formal lawsuit is filed and the process continues to fight for adequate compensation for your damages. While the legal process may feel long and never-ending, perseverance is one of the key ways to maximize your compensation.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Experts in Pedestrian Accident Claims
While the pedestrian accident lawsuit process may require some patience, don’t let the time frame stop you from seeking the justice you deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that you believe was caused by another person's negligence, contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law and speak with a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Our firm has an in-depth knowledge of personal injury law resulting in years of experience and proven results. We pride ourselves in being able to provide clients with the passionate representation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.