A pedestrian has little protection when a car comes careening toward them. In many cases, pedestrians do not have adequate time to get out of the way and avoid a collision, even if they have a chance to see the vehicle coming. Worse, pedestrians may suffer severe injuries due to the size and weight of the vehicle and the force behind it in an accident.
Your injuries often mean high medical bills, lost time at work that can lead to income disruptions, and the ongoing suffering that comes with severe injuries. This suffering includes both physical pain and the emotional anguish that can occur when you cannot participate in the activities you usually enjoy or otherwise lose your independence due to serious injuries.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian in a car accident, it’s important to understand that you have legal options to pursue compensation for your losses. Contact a pedestrian accident lawyer to discuss your case and explore your options.
Drivers in many states must carry PIP insurance in addition to the liability coverage they must, according to the law, carry on their vehicles. PIP insurance can provide considerable benefits to injured parties.
If you carry PIP insurance on a vehicle, you may have the right to use that coverage to cover the early costs associated with any car accident injury, including injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. PIP coverage can prove essential to accident victims that have it since it will immediately kick in to cover your initial costs after an accident, regardless of who caused that accident. PIP claims can help provide compensation for some of the biggest financial losses that may accompany your accident.
The biggest benefit of PIP insurance comes as you start facing high medical bills after a pedestrian accident. Unlike an injury claim, your PIP policy will not require you to go through an extensive investigation process or a long wait for the insurance company to review your claim.
Instead, you can quickly use your PIP coverage to cover the cost of medical treatment needs, including:
- Emergency medical care, including ambulance transport
- Surgeries and treatments
- Durable medical equipment
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Any follow-up appointments with your care provider
Knowing that you have coverage for your medical costs can provide immense peace of mind after a damaging pedestrian accident.
PIP insurance also provides compensation for any wages that you lose due to injuries from a pedestrian accident. Depending on your injuries, you may have to spend a long time out of work because of the accident.
In some cases, including injuries like spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injury, you may have ongoing work-related challenges for the rest of your life. While PIP coverage will not cover the full cost of long-term work losses, it can help provide you with the immediate compensation you need to cover the fact that you cannot work for some time after the accident.
In addition to covering the costs a victim may face after a pedestrian accident, a PIP claim can help provide compensation for the financial losses a family may face due to losing a loved one.
That may include:
- Final medical costs
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Loss of the loved one’s income
The benefits covered by your PIP plan may depend on how much coverage you selected when you chose your policy. While some people may carry only minimum PIP insurance, others will carry extensive benefits designed to protect them and their loved ones in the event of a devastating accident.
When Do You Have the Right to File a Personal Injury Claim?
You will, in general, have the right to file a personal injury claim any time the negligence of another party causes you to suffer serious injuries in an accident, including a pedestrian accident.
After a pedestrian accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim if:
- You do not have PIP insurance. Even in states that require PIP coverage, many people do not have a registered vehicle and therefore do not carry PIP insurance. Minors, for example, frequently do not carry that type of insurance coverage.
- You have medical costs that exceed your PIP insurance. In most states, once you exceed the protection offered by PIP coverage, you can pursue further compensation through a personal injury claim.
- You suffered permanent disability in the accident. In cases where you will suffer ongoing medical costs or have lifelong losses because of your injuries, you will generally have the right to file an injury claim to help you pursue compensation.
Talk to a car accident lawyer to file an injury claim after an accident since a lawyer can give you more information about how you can best handle your claim.
What Compensation Can You Get Through a Personal Injury Claim After a Pedestrian Accident?
The compensation you can recover for pedestrian accident injuries may depend on several factors, including who caused your accident and who bears liability for it. Some drivers may carry better insurance policies than others. Furthermore, if you have the right to file a claim against someone other than a driver who may bear liability for your pedestrian accident, it may increase the compensation you can recover since other entities may carry additional protection.
However, your compensation for a pedestrian accident will generally include several basic elements.
Your Medical Costs
As with a claim through your PIP insurance provider, when you file a personal injury claim after a pedestrian accident, you generally have the right to include your medical bills as a key part of that claim.
If you have severe injuries and the high medical bills that often accompany them, you may have the right to claim more compensation than if you suffered relatively minor injuries. Talk to your lawyer about your current medical expenses and any ongoing medical costs you anticipate. Generally, a personal injury claim aims to compensate you for all those losses.
Your Wage Losses
Dealing with severe economic losses after a pedestrian accident can lead to immense financial challenges. Depending on the extent of your pedestrian accident injuries, you may spend much time out of work.
As part of your injury claim, you can pursue compensation for the financial losses that resulted from your pedestrian accident, including the time you had to spend out of work right after the accident, the time you missed at work because of follow-up procedures and appointments, and any permanent losses to your income because you could no longer work in your preferred industry.
Your Pain and Suffering
While PIP insurance does not provide compensation for your pain and suffering, a personal injury claim will generally include compensation for the non-financial areas of loss you may have suffered. Talk to a lawyer about how you have fared in the aftermath of your accident and how your injuries have impacted every area of your life.
You may, for example, want to discuss:
- Your loss of independence because of pedestrian accident injuries
- Your loss of enjoyment of life due to your injuries
- Missed opportunities and activities resulting from your injuries
- Changed relationships because of your accident
Your lawyer can help you look closely at how your accident impacted you and how you can best include compensation for those non-financial elements of suffering in your claim.
Loss of a Loved One
If you lose a loved one in a pedestrian accident, you may have the right to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim cannot bring back your loved one, but it can help you recover from some of the financial challenges you may have faced after your accident.
You may seek:
- Compensation for final medical costs
- Compensation for funeral and burial costs
- Compensation for the loss of your loved one’s income
- Compensation for the services your loved one provided for the family
- Compensation for the loss of your loved one’s presence
A lawyer can help provide more information about when you have the right to file a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in a pedestrian accident.
Who Bears Liability in a Pedestrian Accident?
To file an injury claim against the party that caused your pedestrian accident, you must identify the party that bears liability for the accident. The liable party may include anyone, or any entity, that caused or contributed to the accident.
By working with a lawyer, you can better understand who may have caused or contributed to your accident.
- A reckless or inattentive driver. Pedestrian accidents often occur because a driver does not pay adequate attention to everything happening around him. When a driver fails to pay attention, resulting in a pedestrian accident, he will likely bear liability for that accident. A driver who fails to follow the rules of the road, including adhering to traffic signs, may also bear liability.
- The party responsible for a dangerous stretch of road or intersection. Sometimes, the city is liable for failing to take care of a dangerous intersection or improve pedestrian infrastructure. Filing a claim against the city can prove difficult, so injured pedestrians may want to work closely with a lawyer from the beginning of the claim process.
- The employer of a driver on the clock who caused an accident. In some cases, employers, especially delivery services, may have unreasonable policies that push their drivers to engage in reckless driving behaviors. For example, the company might push drivers to meet set, tight delivery times, which could cause them to exceed the speed limit to meet those strict deadlines.
- The manufacturer of a vehicle that fails, causing a pedestrian accident.
- The owner of a poorly-maintained vehicle that fails, causing a pedestrian accident.
Identifying all parties that share liability for a pedestrian accident can prove critical since you want to maximize the compensation you can recover for your injuries.
How Do You Know What Legal Path to Take After a Pedestrian Accident?
After a pedestrian accident, many victims have more than enough on their minds as they manage their recovery without worrying about the legal path they need to take. However, filing an injury claim or using your PIP coverage can help provide financial help and considerable peace of mind as you manage your recovery.
Talk to a Lawyer
As soon after your pedestrian accident as possible, get in touch with a pedestrian accident lawyer who knows the legal system and can help you understand your rights.
A pedestrian accident lawyer can explain:
- Whether you have PIP coverage and what it will cover.
- When you have the right to file a personal injury claim.
- Who likely bears liability for your accident, including both the driver that likely bears the liability and any other parties that may have contributed to the accident and your injuries.
- How much compensation you should expect for your pedestrian accident injuries.
A lawyer can also help investigate your pedestrian accident and provide more information, evidence, and support.
Track Your Costs
Keep up with all the expenses that accompany your pedestrian accident recovery. You may start thinking you have sustained only minor injuries or that your costs won’t rise that high, only to later discover that you have substantial expenses and ongoing financial challenges. By tracking your expenses, you can also provide a closer look at what compensation you deserve.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, do not wait. Talk to a personal injury lawayer in New York as soon as possible to get more information about your next steps.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.