Were you hit by a car while crossing the street? You are not alone. Cars hitting pedestrians is shockingly too common in Florida and our news channels are filled with sad stories with tragic endings.. Florida is the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians according to a study by Smart Growth America. These accidents involving pedestrians almost always result in significant injuries or death.
In my career, I have handled countless accidents involving pedestrians. Most of the time my clients are simply crossing the street when they are hit by a car that didn’t see them. Sometimes, they are simply walking along the side of the road and are hit by a careless car making a turn. Regardless of the situation, the pedestrian always suffers injury.
If your loved one was killed by a car, that claim is called wrongful death. Many families contact me to set up these claims for their relatives. These cases are sad, but normally resolve quite quickly. However, this article is primarily focused on those who have been injured as a pedestrian by a car.
What Are the First Steps After the Accident?
Medical treatment should always be your first priority. Do not worry about the legalities. Go to the hospital. Rest. Recover. Once you are well enough, contact the police department to get a copy of the accident report. My office can also help with that. When there are serious injuries, it can take some time for these reports to be completed. Then, notify your own car insurance company and the company for the car that hit you. The reason why you have to contact both is found below.
Who Pays For the Injuries from the Pedestrian Accident?
There are usually at least two layers of insurance issues after a pedestrian accident. Since Florida is a no-fault state, if you have your own car insurance (or you live with a relative with car insurance), your first $10,000 of medical bills are paid through your own company. This is paid by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. But, the main claim is against the car who hit you. I am able to assert a claim for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These are usually significant sums of money. It is through the car that hit you that I can put a lot of money in your pocket.
How Long Will the Case Take?
Pedestrian accident cases usually settle without a lawsuit. Because the injuries are normally severe, the insurance companies try to settle. Most of my pedestrian accident cases settle within 6 months of the accident. The longest part of the process is getting the medical bills and records from the hospitals.
What Are Common Injuries After a Car Hits a Pedestrian?
In my experience, broken bones are the most common injury after a pedestrian is struck by a car. Next on the list are road rash burns and lacerations from striking the ground. Finally, I see a lot of neck and back sprains, strains, and other disc injuries from the force of the impact. If you were treated at the hospital by an orthopedic surgeon, you will need to follow-up with him or her for those specific injuries. As for the rest of the problems, I will be able to find you a doctor who specializes in these types of injuries from pedestrian accident cases.
What Happens if I Wasn’t in a Crosswalk?
I have many cases where my client wasn’t in the crosswalk and was hit by a car. I have settled cases for hundreds of thousands of dollars when my client was cited for jaywalking. The issue is whether there was liability on behalf of the driver of the car. Most insurance companies simply do not want to fight this battle. When the injuries are severe, a jury feels sympathetic and the insurance companies know it.
In cases when my client is not in a crosswalk, it can be argued that the driver had ample time to stop to avoid the crash had he or she been paying proper attention. This is especially true when the accident happens during the day.
What Happens if I Was Walking Against Traffic?
Simply because a pedestrian was walking against traffic is not a major problem to asserting a claim. It is normal for people to walk on both sides of the road. Drivers have an obligation to look both ways. What I frequently see is that the driver of the car only looks in the direction of oncoming traffic and never sees the pedestrian coming in the opposite direction. If this happens, the driver of the car is at fault and the injured pedestrian has a good claim. I have been successful with this argument over and over. I rarely have insurance companies even put up a fight in this scenario.
How Long Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer?
The final step in the process is to speak to a pedestrian accident lawyer. While you technically have four years to bring a claim, if you wait that long, no lawyer in their right mind would take your case. My advice is to speak to a lawyer as soon as the insurance companies start calling. I like to control the flow of information and the accident investigation. The only defense to these cases is to try and blame you for the accident, so it is better to get ahead of that argument.
The other time sensitive matter is coordinating the medical care. Some doctors that you see at the hospital do not specialize in pedestrian accident cases. That means that they might not help your case or might be very expensive. I like to be able to give my clients options about treatment.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been struck by a car while crossing the road, you may have a valuable case. I have had much success in recovering money even when my clients were partially at fault. If you have a broken bone, had surgery, or have any visible injuries, make sure that you take a lot of pictures showing what you went through. These pictures are very powerful.
My consultations for pedestrian accident cases are always free of charge so feel free to contact me with any questions.