Legal Options for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car

April 29, 2024 | By DJC Law Attorneys
Legal Options for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car

Serious pedestrian accidents are becoming more common in today's world. First, the number of accidents is increasing as drivers have adopted dangerous habits while more pedestrians are on the road.

Second, the severity of the average accident has also intensified with reckless driving and larger cars. Accordingly, the number of pedestrian accident fatalities has spiked to near-historic levels.

Pedestrians will rarely walk away from an accident unharmed. When struck by a passenger car that weighs 3,000 pounds on average, they are likely going to suffer expensive and life-altering injuries. 

Injured pedestrians face devastating physical, mental, and financial losses. The law gives them avenues to seek compensation from drivers who were negligent and hit them, but the process is anything but simple. Anyone hit by a driver while walking should get medical care and then consult a San Antonio pedestrian accident lawyer right away. 

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You May Recover Substantial Financial Compensation

Legal Options for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car

Depending on what happened to cause the accident, the driver may owe you a significant amount of compensation. You will need this money, as you are dealing with staggering bills while you cannot work.

Insurance companies are standing between you and the money you deserve, and the only way you can stand up to them is by hiring an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. A lawyer has the knowledge and skill to cut through the red tape and remove barriers to compensation that the insurance company is placing in your way. 

After the accident, you have the legal right to obtain financial compensation for the accident. However, nobody will put money in your pocket, and you should remain skeptical if someone claims they want to give you everything you deserve.

Insurance companies may trick you into a quick settlement that does not even come close to fairly paying you for your injuries. 

You Must Fight for Full Financial Compensation for Your Injuries

If someone else was to blame for your pedestrian accident injuries, you can and must do whatever is in your power to obtain financial compensation.

If you can prove that the driver was at fault for the accident, they will owe you the total amount of your damages.

Assuming that they were following state law and had car insurance, their insurance company must pay up to the amount of the policy limits.

If you sue the driver in court and win a judgment, they may be obligated to pay you for damages over the policy limit. However, it can be challenging to collect from a motorist personally. 

How You Can Receive Financial Compensation for Your Pedestrian Accident Injuries

There are two ways that you can seek compensation after you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident:

  • You can file an insurance claim against the responsible driver's coverage.
  • You can file a lawsuit against the responsible driver in court, and the jury will determine whether you deserve compensation and how much you can get.

A pedestrian accident lawyer handles both aspects of the process. Often, they begin with the insurance claim and then file a lawsuit in civil court if the insurance claim is unsuccessful. 

You Have to Go Through the Insurance Company to Get Compensation

Pedestrian Hit by a Car

Either way, you must deal with the driver's insurance company. Unfortunately, doing business with insurance companies is a challenging experience. They see you as an expense, and your claim is something that they will either try to defeat or underpay. 

If you go through the claims process, you must present an actual claim demonstrating that you are entitled to money. In a pedestrian accident case, the legal rule is that you must prove that the driver was negligent to deserve a settlement check.

Insurance companies will review the evidence that you have provided and decide whether they want to accept liability. They may deny your claim or try to blame you for the accident. 

Types of Driver Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents

There are different types of driver negligence pedestrians might have to prove to insurance companies as part of their claims. Drivers have a responsibility to exercise caution and drive responsibly. When they do not and hit people walking, they can be found negligent.

One common form of driver negligence that often leads to pedestrian accidents is distracted driving. This can result in them not noticing pedestrians crossing the street or failing to yield when necessary.

Another form of driver negligence is speeding. When drivers exceed the speed limit, they have less time to react to unexpected situations, such as a pedestrian suddenly entering the crosswalk. Additionally, speeding reduces the driver's ability to stop in time, increasing the chances of colliding with a pedestrian.

Furthermore, failure to obey traffic laws and traffic signals is another form of driver negligence that contributes to pedestrian accidents. Disregarding stop signs, red lights, or failing to yield right of way can have devastating consequences for pedestrians.

A pedestrian accident lawyer can help prove the type of negligence in your accident. 

You Will Have to Negotiate for Adequate Compensation

If the insurance company makes you a settlement offer, you can rest assured that it is just the beginning of a lengthy negotiation process.

Pedestrian accident claims may cause worse damage than other personal injury cases because the accident victim has suffered severe injuries. Then, the insurance companies will have to write a substantial check. Their goal is to delay and make it as hard as possible for you to get this payment, and your attorney will likely have to negotiate extensively for a more realistic settlement offer.

You Also Have the Option of Filing a Lawsuit

Driver Negligence caused Pedestrian death

If you file a lawsuit in court, you must go through the legal process set by court rules.

Your lawyer can build your case through the discovery process, and if any evidence is in the defendant's hands, your lawyer can obtain it. Then, your attorney can even interview the driver under oath when taking their deposition. However, there are risks and downsides to litigation that your lawyer will have to weigh before deciding to file a lawsuit.

Your Case Will Likely Reach a Settlement Agreement

The outcome will usually be the same whether you file an insurance claim or take your case to court, and many pedestrian accident cases will reach a settlement before they get to the jury for a trial.

You and the insurance company have too much risk to go into the courtroom, and a settlement can happen early in the process or on the eve of trial. Either way, personal injury trials are rare. 

If you or a close family member have suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident, you must seek compensation for your injuries. You will file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, attempting to hold the driver liable for the injuries they caused you through their negligence. 

Your Damages in a Pedestrian Accident Case

When you prove negligence, you may receive payment for the damages you suffered due to the driver's actions.

Your personal injury damages will consist of:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium for the spouse

    Given the severity of your injuries, you may recover considerable compensation. 

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for a Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If a loved one dies in a pedestrian, your family has suffered the injury. Then, the family will have the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit to recoup compensation for what they lost when the loved one was suddenly and tragically taken from them.

Wrongful death compensation can include:

  • The financial support that the deceased person would have provided had they been able to work
  • The grief that the family suffered when they suddenly lost a close loved one
  • The close and loving relationship that the family enjoyed with the deceased person
  • The emotional support and guidance that the deceased person provided

You Never Have to Accept a Low Settlement Offer

Even if the insurance company offers you a settlement, it does not mean you have to accept; it is your choice whether to continue negotiations.

You will find it within your interest to talk settlement at some point because taking your case to court adds time and risk, and you may not get anything if the jury does not find it in your favor. Further, it may take years to resolve your case if you have to go to trial. 

However, you may have no other choice when dealing with an insurance company bound and determined to find any way to pay you less. 

The help of a lawyer is invaluable when determining your legal options and your path forward. You can trust that insurance companies will attempt to underpay your claim, and dealing with them directly without legal representation can lead to an unfair settlement where you do not get the compensation you deserve.

Why You Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Your Case

When you hire an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer, they will thoroughly review your case. At the same time, your lawyer will investigate the causes of the accident and explain how you can receive compensation for your injuries. After a close consultation with your attorney, you will decide on the path forward.

Either way, you must file a claim or lawsuit. Once you have filed your case, you may begin negotiating a settlement. Armed with the knowledge of what your claim is worth, your lawyer will stand up to the insurance companies and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

If you have filed a claim, and the insurance company does not act reasonably, your lawyer can decide to change things and go to court. Just because you have filed a claim does not mean you must continue negotiations.

If the insurance companies do not get serious about a settlement or insist on spreading some of the blame to you or your family member, you should file a lawsuit. Then, the jury will assert their power as the ultimate decision-maker.

The trial date will loom large for the insurance companies, who know that the jury can award you far more money than they may have to pay in a settlement agreement. 

You can do very little on your own after a pedestrian accident. Besides your physical health struggles, you may also be dealing with recalcitrant insurance companies that do not want to pay you.

They know you are going through a difficult time and do everything they can to make your life harder. They will take full advantage of the situation to get away with paying you less.

Hire an Attorney Immediately After Your Pedestrian Accident

Handing the situation over to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney is best. Your lawyer will work with you and give you advice before you have to make any crucial decisions in your case.

At the same time, they will fight the insurance company tooth and nail to get you the money you deserve. You already have enough to worry about without internalizing the daily stress of the legal process. There will be ups and downs already that will make your life hard enough.

Personal Injury Lawyer, Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen, San Antonio Pedestrian Accident Attorney

The time to hire an attorney is immediately after your pedestrian accident. It harms you to be without a lawyer for even a moment because insurance companies are already looking for opportunities to compromise your legal rights.

Once they see that you have a tough lawyer, they will be less likely to take any liberties when dealing with you.

Hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer does not cost you anything from your pocket. Your attorney will not request any money from you at the start of your case, and they will not send you any bills while your case is pending.

The only time that a lawyer gets payment is when you receive a settlement or a jury award. Then, they accept a portion of your compensation to cover the cost of their services.