In America, pedestrians are exposed to serious danger on a regular basis. Thanks to nearly a century of political lobbying by entrenched interests in the automotive industry, most of the country is built for cars — not people.
This dangerous pedestrian landscape means that “pedestrian hit by car” cases are extremely common. Worse still, when a pedestrian is hit, they tend to suffer severe — sometimes even fatal — injuries.
But not all is lost. It’s possible for a pedestrian (who was hit by a driver) to collect significant compensation for their injuries, especially if it was a hit-and-run accident.
Curious to learn more? Let’s take a closer look at these types of cases, and what sorts of compensation might be available.
Do Drivers Owe Pedestrians Duty of Care?
ALL drivers — whether they’re working for a company or not — owe pedestrians a “duty of care.”
In other words, drivers have to exercise “reasonable” care (under the circumstances) to avoid causing injury to pedestrians. By default, this means following the rules of the road and taking steps to identify and avoid pedestrians, such as those crossing the roadway at a crosswalk.
Breaching this duty of care (i.e., by speeding through a crosswalk and not paying attention to pedestrians) can give rise to liability. Those who are injured may then sue the driver for damages as compensation.
Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault?
While it is important for drivers to be mindful of pedestrians, there are instances where pedestrians are at least “partially” at-fault for the accident. Like drivers, pedestrians have a duty of care, too. They must adhere to the rules of the road to prevent accidents (and they must pay attention to their surroundings so that they can react appropriately).
For example, suppose that a pedestrian is intoxicated at night and starts wandering into traffic. If a driver hits this individual (despite their best efforts to avoid a collision), the pedestrian is likely to be found partially at-fault for their own injuries.
But here’s the thing. Even if you’re “partially” at-fault, in most states, you’re still entitled to sue for damages. The only thing that changes is that your total compensation is reduced by your percentage fault.
For more details, it’s worth consulting a qualified pedestrian accident attorney. They’ll be able to identify your potential fault and provide an initial estimate as to the compensation that you can expect to recover in a lawsuit. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get started.
Can a Pedestrian Sue if They Get Hit By a Car?
Pedestrians have a legal right to seek compensation for injuries caused by at-fault drivers. The most common reasons drivers are found to be at-fault in pedestrian accidents include (but are not limited to):
- Failing to yield to pedestrians when appropriate
- Failing to notice crossing pedestrians
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving without exercising normal caution
- Failing to comply with street signage
- Intentionally trying to harm pedestrians while behind the wheel
- And more
What Should a Pedestrian Do After Getting Hit By a Car?
Though there are a number of steps that you can take at the scene of the accident (i.e., obtaining contact info of the defendant and eyewitnesses, taking photographs of the accident scene, waiting for law enforcement, etc.), those are all secondary. The single most important thing you should do — if you’re severely injured — is secure immediate medical attention. Get to a hospital and have a physician evaluate and treat you as necessary.
Even if you’re not sure whether you’ve been injured, it’s worth going to the hospital within the day. Many injuries aren’t “obvious” but are revealed after extensive diagnostic tests.
Failure to secure medical treatment in a timely manner can be used against you by the defendant, so don’t make assumptions about whether you do or do not need it. Just get this step done.
Throughout this entire process, you’ll also want to get in touch with a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer. Why? Your attorney will notify insurers of the accident and make sure that all communications run through them (this prevents any disclosures that could weaken your case and payout).
Your attorney will also begin to gather evidence. They’ll obtain copies of your medical records, the police report, and your work records (if you have to take time off of work after the injury). They will also interview witnesses, work with experts to investigate the accident scene, and more.
As with most personal injury cases, pedestrian accidents are typically settled out of court. In some cases, however, the driver refuses to settle (or doesn’t make a reasonable settlement offer). At this point, you’ll likely want to push forward to trial.
Skilled attorneys prepare for this possibility and are ready to do so on your behalf.
What Damages Can Pedestrians Claim After Car Accidents?
Injured pedestrians have a right to claim a variety of damages, depending on their particular losses.
Economic damages cover the “monetary” losses related to the accident. These damages include the following:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Loss of future income
- Property loss
- And more
Non-economic damages cover the physical, psychological, and lifestyle-associated impacts of the accident. These damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- And more
Making an argument for economic damages generally depends on detailed documentation, while non-economic damages are more “freeform.” Skilled car accident attorneys know how to advocate for significant non-economic damages, and develop persuasive strategies for pushing those damages up.
Find a Car Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
If you’ve been injured by a vehicle in a pedestrian collision, NOW is the time to take proper legal action. It’s important to understand that you only have a limited time within which to bring your lawsuit, so don’t delay.
We look forward to assisting you.