The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates 7,668 pedestrians died in traffic or non-traffic incidents in 2019. This includes the 6,205 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes as well as the number of pedestrians killed in driveways, parking lots, or other private property. But fatalities are just the beginning. For each pedestrian killed in an accident, 18x that number required hospitalization for their injuries. Even more people are injured significantly enough to seek some type of medical attention.
With the alarming number of pedestrian accidents and recent news headlines, being injured as a pedestrian is not as uncommon as you may have believed. In fact, pedestrian fatalities and injuries have been on the rise, especially pedestrian accidents occurring at night. In New Jersey, pedestrian accidents were up 9%, according to the most recent data.
Who is Liable for Pedestrian Accidents?
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, in most cases the driver of the car is considered to be at fault, especially if that pedestrian was in a crosswalk. Drivers owe a special duty of care to pedestrians and must operate their vehicles responsibly and safely. Because of that duty of care, even if a pedestrian was not in a crosswalk when he or she was hit, there is still a very good chance that the driver will still be found at fault.
Pedestrians do also have a duty of care that includes looking both ways before crossing and using designated crosswalks at the correct time. But so long as the pedestrian didn’t run or dart into the road, giving the driver no chance to avoid the pedestrian, the driver may be at least partly at-fault for the accident. Essentially, it comes down to common sense.
Who Pays for Injuries in a Pedestrian Accident Cases?
If you are hit by a car while you’re a pedestrian, your first avenue for compensation will be the driver of the vehicle that hit you. Meaning, you’ll seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income from the driver’s auto insurance carrier.
But, in some cases you may be able to collect compensation from a third party, such as the municipality that you were hit in, that is if an unsafe condition contributed to the accident (e.g. traffic signs, traffic lights, etc.). Or, you may be able to collect from the property owner’s insurance if a hazardous condition in their parking lot played a role in the accident.
Examples of what you may be entitled to compensation for include:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ambulance costs
- Transportation to doctor appointments
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
In cases of wrongful death, surviving family members can pursue justice in the form of a monetary award. Serious pedestrian accidents will impact the entire household when a loved one has been seriously injured. It is imperative that you consider the full extent of your injuries and don’t make the mistake of undervaluing them by accepting an early offer from an insurance company.
Settling with what the insurance agency offers is rarely enough to cover the entire cost of being hit by a car. Before you can figure out if a settlement offer is fair, you need to know how much your injuries are worth. An offer may seem like a lot of money until you realize that this amount won’t even begin to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other potential losses. If you’ve been seriously injured, you may not even know the extent of your injuries for some period of time.
An insurance company will quickly offer you a settlement and try to convince you to accept it. Or, the insurance company is lowballing you and doesn’t think you will fight back to get a fair settlement. More often than not, the answer is to consult with and hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
Accepting an offer from the insurance company will require you to give you important rights, including the ability to file a lawsuit for your injuries. That is why it is so important to understand the full value of your claim and to know that you can and should reject any offer that doesn’t fairly compensate you for your losses. Working with a skilled personal injury attorney who specializes in pedestrian accidents can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Brandon J. Broderick, Pedestrian Accident Attorney
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we have a proven track record of success getting the compensation our clients deserve after being injured. With our commitment to client care and aggressive representation, we can turn your setback into a comeback.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer from our team, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney, at Law, for a free consultation.