Can You Claim After Being Hit By A Car?
In an ideal world, the streets and roads would be safe for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Unfortunately, it is not always the case. More than 6,500 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2020 — an increase from the previous year. Additionally, more than 54,700 pedestrians experienced injuries in traffic accidents in 2020.
Risk Factors in a Pedestrian Accident
When a vehicle and a pedestrian are in an accident, it isn’t hard to tell that the pedestrian is much more vulnerable to injury and death. Many factors can lead to an accident between a car and a pedestrian, but some are more common than others.
It stands to reason that the faster a car is moving when it collides with a pedestrian, the more likely the person will end up with serious injuries.
Did you know, however, that a pedestrian can sustain severe injuries even at low vehicle speeds? An impact speed of only 16 miles per hour puts a person at an average 10% risk of serious injury. At 31 miles per hour — a speed very close to the limit in many metropolitan areas — the risk increases to an average of 50%. Tragically but not surprisingly, the risk of severe injury increases to an average of 90% when a vehicle’s impact speed is 58 miles per hour.
Blood alcohol levels were a risk factor in nearly half of all pedestrian accidents in 2019. About 13% involved a driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. This level is illegal for drivers in almost every state.
Pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur in urban locations than rural areas. Metropolitan areas have a higher concentration of both vehicles and pedestrians. Additionally, accidents are more likely at night when it is hard for drivers to see pedestrians.
Areas away from intersections are riskier locations for pedestrian accidents. Drivers move slower through intersections and are likelier to pick up speed along the road or highway. They may also be more watchful for pedestrians at crossings than along an open stretch of road.
Adults over 65 and children under 15 are more likely to die in a pedestrian accident.
Other factors in pedestrian accidents can include:
- Broken traffic lights
- Poorly placed crosswalks
- Driver distraction
- Poor weather conditions
Filing a Claim After a Pedestrian Accident
Personal injury law includes the idea that people have a reasonable duty of care in particular circumstances. Duty of care requires people to pay attention, use caution and be watchful of others. They should do so to the level a reasonable person would rise. People who do not meet this standard may be found negligent.
Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty of care. Drivers must obey traffic laws and maintain awareness of their surroundings to fulfill them. Likewise, pedestrians must abide by the rules of the road. They should avoid jaywalking and being in places where pedestrians aren’t allowed.
Who You May File a Claim Against
If a car hits you while you are on foot — walking, jogging, hiking, sitting, etc. — you may have a claim against the driver. Your claim usually goes through the driver’s insurance company.
Sometimes traffic control equipment or road conditions play a part in an accident. You may also have a claim against the city or state entity responsible for maintaining the roadways.
Understandably, you may be unsure whether you have a case after an accident. You can benefit from discussing your situation with a personal injury lawyer. Attorneys are familiar with the laws surrounding pedestrian accidents, and they can help you determine if you have a case.
Statute of Limitations
You don’t have all the time in the world to file a claim for damages after an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a claim. While most states allow two to three years from the accident date to file a claim, some are as short as one year. Others allow five or six years.
A few exceptions to the statute of limitations exist. They generally allow for extensions if the victim is a minor or mentally incapacitated. They may also grant an exception if the defendant (the entity you file a claim against) left the state for a specified time after the accident.
Because states have statutes of limitations, it is good to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A year (or two or three) can seem like a long time. However, the claims process can be lengthy, and the sooner you get started, the better.
Damages Available After a Pedestrian Accident With a Vehicle
An injured pedestrian may receive a range of damages after winning a claim against a defendant. Damages are monetary compensation for losses. They may help pay for:
- The loss of income resulting from the accident
- The loss of the ability to work following the accident
- Current and future medical bills
- Physical and mental pain and suffering from the accident or medical treatment
- Subjective losses, such as emotional distress and the inability to enjoy life
- Wrongful death compensation for survivors of a fatal pedestrian accident
How Much Compensation You May Receive
The amount of damages you receive after you win varies greatly. No two accidents are alike. Your personal injury lawyer may be able to help you get an idea of what to expect based on the following:
- The extent of your injuries
- Insurance company limitations
- Your chances for recovery
- The percentages of fault for each party
How To Avoid an Accident With a Vehicle
It is good to know that if you’re ever in an accident as a pedestrian, you can get help from an attorney and possibly recover damages. However, the best-case scenario is to avoid getting injured in the first place.
Pedestrians can take proactive steps to avoid an accident with a car. One of the most important things you can do is to cross the street at an intersection or crosswalk. These are the places drivers expect to see pedestrians, and they are more likely to drive through them with caution.
Some other things you can do as a pedestrian include:
- Using a sidewalk or walking path when one is available
- Walking on the shoulder of the road, facing traffic, if no sidewalk exists so that you can see oncoming cars
- Never assume the driver sees you
- Making eye contact with the driver
- Wearing brightly colored clothing and avoiding dark clothes while walking at night
- Wearing reflectors
- Avoiding the use of earbuds or electronic devices that can distract you from paying attention to traffic
- Obeying traffic and pedestrian signals even when you don’t see oncoming cars
How Mike Morse Law Firm Can Help
You may have a lot of questions after a pedestrian accident. The attorneys at Mike Morse Law Firm focus solely on aiding the injured. We can help you navigate the complex landscape of personal injury cases.
Begin with a free case evaluation to find out how Mike Morse Law Firm can help. You only pay if we win, giving you peace of mind as you pursue your options. Fill out our online form or call our office today to learn more.