When a vehicle weighing several thousands of pounds collides with a pedestrian, the resulting injuries could be catastrophic or fatal. These collisions are also incredibly one-sided. The driver and occupants of the vehicle almost always walk away unscathed, while the pedestrian is forced to suffer the most severe consequences. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced Valparaiso injury attorneys of Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers right away for help.
To receive the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to, it’s in your best interest to hire an attorney with specific experience handling these types of cases. At Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers, we are highly qualified personal injury attorneys who are ready to fight for you. Give us a call today at (219) 286-7361 to schedule your free consultation.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
Being struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian is terrifying. Even if the vehicle is traveling at a relatively low speed, these accidents can cause serious injuries like broken bones and concussions. If a vehicle is traveling at a higher speed, the accident can have devastating results such as paralysis, dismemberment, and death. These accidents can lead to high medical bills and lasting mental trauma.
A pedestrian accident attorney will help ensure that you get the most compensation possible. Your first step towards compensation is determining what kind of insurance settlement is possible. In theory, the insurance company of the driver who hit you should cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, or losses, such as pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
However, in practice, insurance companies do anything they can to reduce or deny your claim. They will likely try to argue that you were partially at fault for the accident. A pedestrian accident attorney knows the laws that govern accidents between pedestrians and vehicles. They will also be able to carry out an independent investigation to gather any evidence of the driver’s fault that may be missing from police reports or witness statements.
You should never accept any payment from an insurance company without consulting a lawyer. Once you accept a payment, it will be extremely difficult or impossible to receive any further compensation, even if your injuries persist and you require continued medical care.
If you are not able to receive an adequate insurance settlement, we may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit, which is a legal claim against the at-fault driver. We will work with you to establish your options and decide your best path forward.
Why Should I Choose Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers?
Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers is proud to offer the best pedestrian accident representation possible. We treat our clients like people, rather than numbers, and our clients consistently give us stellar reviews for our hard work, integrity, and successful results. We work as hard as possible for our clients, and it pays off: we continue to win cases worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
You may be worried about how you will pay for a lawyer. At Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers, we want all accident victims to have equal access to representation, regardless of financial means. We understand that medical bills can create huge financial stress after an accident, and we don’t want to add to that. That’s why we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that instead of billing you for the hours we work on your case, we take a percentage of your overall winnings at the end of your case. There are no bills or fees along the way, and if we lose your case, then you don’t owe us any money. We are proud to help make access to legal representation more equitable in this way.
Pedestrian Accident Responsibility
Pedestrians have legal responsibilities to keep themselves safe. For example, a pedestrian who is struck while jaywalking will likely be ineligible for compensation from the driver or their insurance company. In fact, if a jaywalker causes a driver to suddenly swerve to avoid them and the driver then causes an accident, the jaywalker could be held responsible for the accident and be liable for compensation.
In situations where a pedestrian is following all laws and behaving in a safe manner, it is quite likely that the driver was responsible for the accident. There are a variety of causes of pedestrian accidents — perhaps the driver was making a left-hand turn and didn’t check if there were pedestrians in the crosswalk, or maybe the driver was texting and didn’t see you enter an intersection.
In order to prove that the driver is at fault, your lawyer will complete a full and independent investigation. We will review police reports and witness statements, and will also conduct our own research to ensure there is no missing information, such as a video recording or another eyewitness. Our lawyers have the resources and experience necessary to verify that all the evidence is discovered.
Making an Insurance Claim
When the driver is at fault for the accident, their car insurance will be required to pay for your damages, such as medical bills and lost wages. However, some drivers have insurance policies with very low levels of liability insurance. Indiana requires that drivers have $25,000 of liability insurance, but it’s possible that the cost of your medical treatment, alone, exceeds $25,000. Due to the seriousness of pedestrian accidents, it’s not uncommon to have extremely high medical bills.
In this situation, you would need to turn to your personal uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, which is mandatory for most Indiana car insurance plans. However, it’s entirely possible that you do not own a vehicle and thus do not have this kind of insurance. In this situation, we may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
It’s important to understand that insurance companies are incentivized to give you the lowest settlement possible. Insurance claim adjusters (company representatives who investigate the accident) will find any way possible to reduce or deny your claim.
Your lawyer will know how to stand up to the insurance company and increase your chances of getting a better settlement. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney will have a good idea of the amount of compensation you should receive based on your circumstances and will be able to advise you on when to accept money from an insurance company and when to keep negotiating.
As mentioned above, you should never accept money from an insurance company without consulting with an attorney. When you accept an insurance settlement, you will be required to sign an agreement releasing the driver from liability and the insurance company from any further payment. Even if your injury worsens and you require additional medical care, you will be on your own to pay your medical bills.
Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal claim that you make directly against the at-fault driver. Personal injury claims have a few advantages over insurance company settlements. For example, if your insurance claim does not cover your non-economic damages, you will be able to make a case for compensation in your lawsuit.
Non-economic damages are those for which money is an approximate substitution. Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, mental trauma, among others. Economic damages, on the other hand, are things like medical bills and property damages.
The legal system recognizes that while money may not take away your pain or restore your quality of life, it can play a significant role in making you more comfortable and minimize financial stress, which is why non-economic damages exist.
In order to make a case for non-economic damages, we recommend starting a journal in which you record every time the effects of your accident prevent you from living your life the way you did before the accident. This can be physical, like if you are in continuous pain, or mental, like if you feel anxiety when walking through a crosswalk. We also may have a mental health professional evaluate your mental wellbeing and then testify to any negative mental effects of your accident.
In some situations, both the pedestrian and the driver may have contributed to the accident. If a person was struck by a speeding driver while jaywalking, then both parties were breaking the law. In cases like these, a court will look at all the evidence and decide to what extent each party was responsible. If, for example, the pedestrian is found 25% responsible while the driver is 75% responsible, the driver will have to pay 75% of the pedestrian’s damages.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, you are likely feeling scared and overwhelmed. Your physical pain and injuries might make it hard to get out of bed, let alone fight a hostile insurance company. You deserve compensation that allows you to rest and recover as much as you can. Recovering from a pedestrian accident is difficult — you shouldn’t have to deal with financial and legal stress on top of it. At Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers, we are proud to help you shoulder this burden and get you the justice you deserve.