Pedestrians face various hazards on the road every single day. They don’t have structural protections like people in cars do, and they also don’t wear helmets like motorcyclists and bicyclists. According to the latest report by the NHTSA, 6,205 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents that occurred on public roads in one recent year. Likewise, 76,000 pedestrians suffered injuries.
The report also indicated that the majority of pedestrian deaths happened in:
- Urban settings - 82 percent
- Dark lighting conditions - 80 percent
- Open roads - 73 percent
- Intersections - 26 percent
All states define pedestrians as people who are traveling on foot, whether walking, jogging, or running. Some states, however, have a wider definition of pedestrians, such that pedestrians include people who are on roller skates, scooters, skateboards, wheelchairs, tricycles, or bicycles.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you might be able to pursue compensation from the driver that hit you. However, depending on the particular circumstances of the accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation from the municipality where the accident occurred if road defects caused your accident.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately After Your Accident
After getting into a pedestrian accident, if possible and safe, you must contact the police, take videos and photos of the accident site, and gather the names and contact details of everyone involved, including potential witnesses. If you have suffered serious injuries, however, call 911 or head to the emergency room right away. Otherwise, go to your primary care physician as soon as possible to document any injuries you might have.
Obtaining prompt and proper medical attention is very crucial. Take note that insurance claims representatives and courts generally think you were not injured because you didn’t obtain medical attention right away. So it’s critical for your legal rights and overall health that you obtain and document medical treatment.
Find out Who Should Pay for Your Medical Expenses
Injured pedestrians' health or disability insurance coverage may cover them, and/or workers’ compensation insurance might if the accident happened at work. One or more car insurance policies might likewise cover them.
Generally speaking, who should cover an injured pedestrian’s medical expenses after the accident would depend on where they live or where the accident occurred. For example, if the accident happened in a fault or at-fault state, the driver’s insurer should pay for the injured pedestrian’s medical expenses. But if the accident happened in a no-fault state, the pedestrian’s health insurance provider (if applicable) should cover the expenses.
However, if the pedestrian doesn’t have health insurance coverage and the accident happened in a no-fault state, the pedestrian will need to pay for the medical expenses. But remember that the circumstances surrounding pedestrian accidents differ widely from one case to another. Speaking to a knowledgeable lawyer to identify potential sources of recovery may help.
File a Claim Against Your No-Fault Insurance Policy
Some states have no-fault laws to ensure that victims of auto accidents will be able to pay for their medical expenses and recover lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. State laws significantly differ when it comes to the limit and coverage of no-fault insurance, also called personal injury protection insurance. In most states, however, if the no-fault insurance coverage is insufficient, injured pedestrians can pursue a claim against the negligent driver that caused the accident.
File a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver
When a car hits a pedestrian, it’s almost always the driver’s fault, even in cases where the pedestrian wasn’t in a crosswalk. This is because most traffic and negligence laws in most states require drivers to always be alert to what’s happening around them so that they are always aware of potential hazards. Pedestrians are considered hazards, which means that drivers are legally obligated to notice them at all times.
For example, if a car hit you while you were in a crosswalk, the driver is most definitely at fault for the accident. Therefore, you might be able to file a claim against the liable driver and recover compensation from the driver’s insurance provider. Likewise, even if you weren’t in a crosswalk and a driver hit you, you may still be able to win your case as long as you were paying attention during the accident and didn’t run into oncoming traffic or otherwise attempt to beat the traffic.
File a Claim Against the City
A town or city may be liable for damages in a pedestrian-vehicle accident due to poorly made or maintained streets or malfunctioning traffic control devices such as stop signs or traffic lights. For example, let’s say that a traffic light is malfunctioning and both the oncoming vehicle traffic and the pedestrian get green lights. In this scenario, if the pedestrian proceeds to cross the street and get hit by a car, then the pedestrian may have a solid claim against the two or city because of the broken traffic lights that caused the accident.
Discuss Your Case with a Knowledgeable Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Traffic accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians usually result in serious injuries to the pedestrians. Likewise, contrary to popular belief, figuring out fault and liability for a pedestrian accident is not always easy. If a pedestrian accident injured you, you likely have a ton of unpaid bills because of extensive treatments.
You may have also lost a lot of time off work or still can’t go to work because of your injuries. You may likewise be suffering from pain and suffering. In addition, if a loved one got hit by a car and lost their lives, you have lost your loved one’s emotional and financial support.
In any case, the negligent driver or entity should cover all your medical bills, lost earnings, and other accident-connected losses. A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer with experience in pedestrian accidents can help you understand your legal rights and figure out the best way to move forward with your claim.