I Was Hit in a Crosswalk. Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Pedestrians are not as likely to be part of an accident as drivers but the risk is well-pronounced for this group as well. Even if you’re traveling on foot, far from the clutches of accidental risk for road crashes, you’re not immune to its effects. People do get injured, even killed, in road accidents which they had no part in causing, the negligence of a driver can lead to catastrophic consequences for other people, and the law dictates that they be made to pay for it. As an injured pedestrian struck by a car, motorcycle, van, or any other motor vehicle while using the crosswalk, you’ll most probably be preparing to sue the negligent driver for their lack of seriousness.
Of course, there can be multiple liable parties in this case as well. The local administrative bodies, for instance, are required by law to make roads safe for all; this means that if the traffic lights were not working properly, or if there weren’t any warning signs for the driver, or if the street lights were not working, you can sue the local municipal authorities as well for failing to keep you safe. Whatever the case, the best approach would be to start preparing from the earliest point, ideally, right from the moment, the accident happened (if you can). Victims of pedestrian accidents should also not delay seeking counsel from a pedestrian accident attorney from McDonald Worley so you can plan your next steps more effectively.
The short answer to the question in the title – yes, you can sue if you were hit on a crosswalk, but how exactly, read on to find out:
What To Do Immediately After A Pedestrian Accident?
This section only applies in case if you’re in a state of following through with the recommendations. In some situations, doing so is impossible, i.e. if you’re badly injured and have to be rushed to the hospital, But presuming that the accident was of moderate intensity and that you can muster up your will and strength to do a couple of things on the spot before seeking medical assistance, then go for it. Your immediate actions will matter a great deal in the long run.
You have to take care of the following:
- Take photographs of the accident scene
- Make videos if need be
- Ask the liable driver for their details
- Note down the car license plate number
- Note down the details mentioned on the driver’s license
- Ask them about their insurance provider
- Avoid admitting guilt, even a fraction of it
- Don’t say sorry just to be nice (some people tend to do so even when they did nothing wrong)
- It would be best to not discuss guilt at this stage
- Also, call the police and file a report for the crash – don’t leave before the officers do
- Gather contact information from all eyewitnesses willing to cooperate (ask them politely, they will most surely agree to help)
In case of a drunk driving crash, it would not be wise to confront the other driver because alcohol lowers the inhibitions and things can get from bad to worse soon. In such cases, note the car’s license plate number; that would be sufficient. Also, note if there were any surveillance cameras in the area, they can become a factor later on.
For the rest, an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can guide you with your questions about pedestrian accidents insurance claims (in wrongful death claims, lawyers have to start without this firsthand evidence).
Seek Medical Help As Soon As Possible
Ideally, you should rush to seek medical aid as soon as possible – there can’t be delays here if you wish to get compensated fairly for your losses. Any delays on your part will be seen as evidence pointing toward the contrary to your claims, i.e. the insurance adjuster will comment that if you were indeed as badly hurt as you claim, then why delay seeking medical attention? Your timeliness here will make all the difference.
You should first get diagnosed for the extent of your injuries, usually, pedestrian accidents can leave people with brain injuries, spinal injuries, neck injuries, broken bones, muscle injuries, internal organ damage, and more. A medical professional will be more than equipped to discover the full extent of the damage and start the medical treatment. In severe cases, you’ll have to be rushed to the emergency room, but in moderate cases, you can visit the doctor on your own accord.
As for who will cover the expenses, well, that is a bit complicated. Firstly, there are two types of states in this regard: no-fault states and at-fault states. In the former case, the traffic accident victims must cover their expenses via their auto insurance policy, while in the latter case, which is more prevalent, the liable party (the at-fault driver) must pay for the losses. However, even in no-fault states, you can sue the responsible party if they caused excessive damage.
If the health insurance company coverage fails to cover the initial expenses, the victim may have to use additional insurance to deal with the expenses.
Whatever the case, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to assess your options before you make a final decision.
Seek Consultation From A Lawyer
Next, you need to plan your approach to the case. If you have gathered all the primary evidence and have done some research, at this stage, you’ll be convinced that the time is ripe to seek some guidance from a legal professional. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis which means that even if you lack the resources to pay them, they will take up your case and represent you. Besides, the initial consultation session is free, so there’s nothing to worry about there. You should share all the details of your case with the lawyer, leaving no part out of your briefing – your lawyer must know everything to be able to help you.
The economic damages covered by compensation include the costs of recovering from pedestrian injuries, property damage (your belongings), loss of income, and so on.
Compensation for pain is covered by the non-economic damages.
File Your Claim Against The Careless Driver
All drivers (regular driver, bus driver, commercial vehicle driver, truck driver, other motor vehicle operators, etc.) owe pedestrians a duty of care and if they fail to uphold it, i.e. driver negligence leading to a car-pedestrian accident, then they’ll be considered liable for the damages caused. This is especially true for people on a marked crosswalk who have the right of the way which the driver must yield, as per the traffic laws, but also holds in general as well (for an unmarked crosswalk).
Your lawyer will submit a request for compensation to the liable party’s insurance company. The abundance of evidence against the liable driver will make your case stronger, and since in such cases the drivers are usually the ones to be blamed, the odds will be in your favor. Just let your lawyer do the talking because the way you present your facts will also be very important.
If the settlement negotiations fail, then you can move on to a lawsuit.
File Your Claim Against The Municipality
The other important party in this regard can be the municipal management authorities, for failing to keep the roads safe. But a basic principle applies here as well: firstly, the threat must be real, then the authorities must know about it, and then they must have had adequate time to resolve the issues. If all of these conditions are satisfied, then the authorities will be also be considered liable.
The factors to note here are:
- The layout of the roads
- Traffic light/signal for the oncoming traffic
- Stop signs and other traffic signals
All of these are important variables…
Also, note that the statute of limitations for government agencies is very limited so you should rush for legal counsel and pursue timely legal action.
Most people hold back from contacting lawyers fearing that they can’t afford the services. But this should never keep you from reaching out to the experienced personal injury attorneys at McDonald Worley because we work on a contingency fee basis which means that you won’t have to pay a penny before you get your fair settlement for the case.
If something like this happens, don’t delay contacting us for legal consultation, our initial consultation services are free and will give you an idea of what your options are in the matter. Plus, discussing your case with expert lawyers will also give you a sense of confidence and calm about the matter.
The exact details of every personal injury claim are different thus a generic work pan never works in practicality, these general guidelines were merely meant to give you a sense of direction. You should discuss the rest with your pedestrian accident lawyer, before deciding how to act next.
Contact us today without any obligations to discuss your case!