What to Expect in Your Pedestrian Car Accident Settlement

An Unexpected Accident

When Alison moved closer to work, one of the things she was most excited about was getting to walk to and from the office everyday. At 33, she was starting to become much more conscious of her diet and exercise. Her parents were getting older and suffering from health complications – many of which could have been avoided had they taken better care of themselves. Alison wanted to avoid the same problems. She had decided that even though her apartment was going to be more expensive, it would be worth it to be able to get to walk to work every day.

What Alison had not anticipated was just how few pedestrians there were in her area, and how drivers seemed to be inexperienced with dealing with people walking. More than once she had to stop mid-stride as she entered a crosswalk because a driver failed to yield to her.

In spite of Alison's efforts to look out for other drivers, like all pedestrians she was limited in what she could control. Only a few months after she began walking to work, a distracted driver hit her in a crosswalk. She never saw it coming.

She had become familiar with her route and the particular stoplight she was at, and she was careful, as always, to look in all directions before she stepped off the curb. But the driver that hit her was moving so quickly, and barely slowed down as he moved to make a right turn, that she failed to notice him. One moment she was walking to work, the next she was in the hospital.

The impact with the car and the ground broke Alison's left leg and right arm. She sustained a severe concussion, but was fortunate to have no apparent brain injury. The accident left her in the hospital for several weeks, and she was unable to go back to work for a month following her release from the hospital. Even after her broken bones healed, she suffered from ongoing pain in her neck and lower back.

Alison's health insurance covered the majority of her medical bills, and the insurer of the driver offered to pay her a settlement which would cover her lost income and the remainder of her medical bills. But Alison's mother encouraged her to talk with a personal injury lawyer before accepting the settlement. Instead of taking what the insurer offered, Alison chose to pursue a lawsuit for her missed work, and more importantly, for her pain and suffering. Ultimately this was the best decision, as she won significantly more compensation from her lawsuit than she would have gotten from the original settlement.

Pedestrian Car Accident Settlements – What You Need To Know

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, injuries are almost inevitable. Cars and other automobiles are so much heavier than the human body that most pedestrians suffer some sort of injury. How severe the injury is can depend on several factors – speed of impact, angle of impact – but few pedestrians escape unscathed from such an accident.

If you or someone you care about has been in a pedestrian accident, it is important that you understand the basics of how pedestrian accident settlements work. You will be going through a process following the accident that should result in you being compensated in some way for your injuries. Where the compensation comes from, and how substantial it is, can vary. By being aware of the different possibilities, you may be able to influence the final outcome and ensure that you get the compensation you need and you deserve.

First Things First

Following an accident where you are hit by a car, the standard process is first and foremost get medical care if you need it. Following this you contact the police (if they have not arrived already) as well as your own insurance company and the insurance company of the driver. You may also contact an attorney to ensure that you avoid compromising your position during the process.

As long as all of these steps have been taken, all parties that may be financially responsible for your accident will have the necessary information to determine a settlement.

Who Pays The Settlement?

Assistance From Your Medical Insurance

If you have medical insurance, your insurance provider will most likely pick up the initial cost for treating your injuries. Ideally, your medical insurance provider will take care of your medical bills and will then pursue compensation from an auto insurance provider to cover these costs.

Auto Insurers

As long as the driver who hit you has auto insurance, you can seek compensation from his or her insurer. If the driver does not have insurance, but you have your own auto insurance, your insurance should compensate you based on your uninsured motorists coverage.

As long as the driver who hit you is at fault and has insurance, the driver's insurer will be the party you will discuss the settlement with.

Uninsured Pedestrian And Driver

If you do not have insurance and the driver does not have insurance, your only option for compensation is pursuing a lawsuit against the driver. Unfortunately, such lawsuits are only viable if the driver has enough assets to make pursuing legal action worthwhile – which is rare for uninsured motorists.

Factors In Your Settlement

Pedestrian accidents are not always straightforward, especially when it is time to determine who will be financially responsible for your injuries and other damages. Both your insurance company and the driver's insurance company – as well as each of your attorneys if you have them – will be looking closely at a number of things, including:

  • Who was at fault – Insurers will investigate the accident to determine if you were in any way responsible for your injuries. In most pedestrian accidents the driver is fully at fault, but not always.
  • The severity of your injuries – How badly you were hurt plays a big part in how much you are compensated.
  • How likely you are to recover – If your injuries will be with you for the rest of your life, the settlement amount tends to be higher.
  • How the injuries affect your ability to work – Your injuries may keep you out of work for a short period of time. They may also inhibit you from working how you once did, or at all, for a short time or for an extended period.

Settlement Options

Once the insurance company has calculated the amount it believes is adequate to cover your medical care, lost work, pain and suffering, etc., it will present you with a settlement offer. Keep in mind that the settlement will be limited by many factors, including the extent of coverage the driver has and the financial interests of the insurance company. Insurers are in business to make money, and therefore pay only what they feel they have to.

If you are unhappy with the settlement offer, you can attempt to negotiate. Negotiations can sometimes be successful, particularly if you have a competent attorney representing you. Through negotiations you may be able to reach a more acceptable offer. If not, you always have the option of pursuing legal action against the driver and the insurer. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you on the possibility of a successful lawsuit based on your circumstances.