How Long After A Pedestrian Accident Can You Sue?
Personal injury cases are all subject to statutes of limitations. These can vary based on the type of injury and the state where the accident occurs. Most states require injured persons to file a claim within one to three years from when the incident happened. At three years, Michigan has one of the most generous statutes. Even so, time flies while battling severe injuries and evidence erodes with time. Consequently, injured persons should file a claim as soon as possible.
Why Injured Pedestrians Should File a Claim as Soon as Possible
After a pedestrian accident, your priority is recovering from your injuries, but you can still proceed with the process of filing a claim. An experienced attorney can focus on this critical task while you focus on your health.
It’s easier to collect evidence shortly after an accident.
Witnesses are more likely to remember the details of an incident shortly after it occurred. Your attorney might persuade police officers to investigate a case more thoroughly when requested promptly. In these circumstances, your attorney will have access to more accurate information if you wait too long.
Your attorney may help you avoid costly mistakes.
Some victims of pedestrian accidents land in the hospital for an extended period. Consequently, they may leave essential tasks to their family members, who sometimes make mistakes. Accepting low settlements or making a problematic statement on record are two big mistakes that could cost you.
You might receive compensation more quickly.
The longer you take to file a claim, the longer you take to receive it. This could stall the compensation you need to cover a growing pile of bills. Having the money you need to cover these expenses could give you and your family better peace of mind.
You might have better access to the health care you need.
In 2020, CNBC reported that nearly one in four Americans chose not to receive the medical care they needed because of the cost. You might find yourself faced with similar considerations, or you might choose cheaper and less effective methods because of cost. The sooner you receive compensation, the faster you can access the care you need.
The Expenses You Might Face While Waiting for Compensation
Accidents are devastating; they are also expensive. The more severe the injuries, the more likely that they will cost you high medical bills while making it difficult for you to earn a living.
Depending on your injury, you may need to spend significant time in the hospital or receive continuous care from a rehabilitation specialist. Even relatively minor injuries could require several doctor’s appointments and a prescription for painkillers. Major injuries could lead to long-term or permanent disabilities.
The crash might have forced you to miss work due to an inability to do so or because of the medical care you need to receive. The bills continue to pile up during this time and your family’s lives may change for the worse. Remember that even minor injuries can be challenging if they keep you from work for several weeks or more.
You could have lost expensive personal items during the pedestrian accident. Examples include the following costly items:
- Wedding ring
These could cost several thousand dollars each. You deserve compensation for your loss.
Sometimes, the persons eligible for filing wrongful death claims also sustained injuries in the pedestrian accident. While grieving the loss of your loved one, you might also have the difficult job of paying for burial expenses.
How the Severity of the Accident and Your Injuries Affect Compensation
Injuries and the severity of the accident will not always work together. For example, a relatively minor accident resulting in broken bones or concussions might be worse than a catastrophic pedestrian crash if you have pre-existing health complications that may complicate treatment and recovery. Nevertheless, severity can have a few effects.
If you sustained minor injuries, your attorney might resolve compensation faster. He or she has all or most of the information necessary to estimate the case’s value and you will likely return to work soon. In contrast, more severe injuries might lead to lengthier negotiations and possible trials. The insurance company might want to dispute the prognosis for future medical problems.
The compensation you receive tends to correspond with the extent of your injuries. Minor injuries might only amount to several thousand dollars to cover medical bills. In contrast, severe injuries might lead to five-figure compensation or higher. If the court determines gross negligence played a role, punitive damages could take the compensation value into the millions.
The types of damages also differ based on the severity of your injuries. For example, most people who experience catastrophic accidents or injuries also experience emotional and mental distress. This can range from PTSD related to the incident or the mental stress of adjusting to long-term injuries.
People who sustain minor or major injuries may file personal injury claims. The survivors of pedestrians who succumb to their injuries may file wrongful death claims. These are similar but different cases, especially when calculating damages. State laws also determine who is eligible to file a claim on behalf of the deceased person.
Factors That Cause Pedestrian Accident Cases To Go To Trial
Most personal injury cases end in a private settlement. So, what causes a small percentage of negotiations to fail and end up in court?
High Exposure to Liability
If you were partially responsible for the crash, the insurance company might use that fact against you. They might use it as a negotiating tactic by offering less compensation and implying you deserve less because of your role in the crash. The insurance company will likely try to overstate your role to reduce its own liabilities in the matter.
Your lawyer may hire expert witnesses to reconstruct the incident and determine who was at fault. The insurance company, in turn, might also gather information to dispute this finding. Because the goal of these negotiations is a fair settlement, hard lines of evidence might force the court to determine liability.
Different State Laws
Some states allow higher monetary compensation in wrongful death cases than others. Others might allow for comparative negligence while some do not. Insurance companies often attempt to spin cases so that laws work in their favor. This can lead to court battles where they have less leverage. State discrepancies can also exist if the driver carries insurance from another state.
How the Mike Morse Law Firm Can Help
If you have sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident and want to file a claim, reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help ensure that all relevant evidence is collected straight away and help you avoid costly mistakes while focusing on your well-being. This expert legal guidance could significantly increase your chances of receiving the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
Our experienced attorneys at the Mike Morse Law Firm have recovered more than $1.5 billion for pedestrian accidents and other personal injury incidents. Request your free case review to see what our team can do for you. We charge no fees unless we win your case.