Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?

Walking down the street or running a quick errand should not give you cause for concern. Unfortunately, drivers who don’t watch what they’re doing or pay attention to the environment around them pose a very real threat to pedestrians, seriously injuring hundreds of people every year in Washington State alone.

In addition to the physical injuries they suffer and the costly medical bills that arrive after treatment, pedestrians involved in traffic accidents often experience severe emotional distress. And though you might hope a pedestrian accident claim is an open-and-shut matter, that’s rarely true.

Faced with all these challenges and stresses, the best step you can take on your own behalf is to work with a high-quality attorney. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can handle all the legal work in your case while you focus on your medical treatment.

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Common Legal Issues in Pedestrian Accident Claims

Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

The aftermath of a pedestrian accident isn’t just about treating your injuries. Those who walk this path alone often find themselves up against challenges they never expected. Following are some common hurdles you might encounter as you seek compensation for your injuries and other accident-related losses, as well as information about how a pedestrian accident attorney can help you.

Determining Fault:

One of the first and biggest roadblocks to getting the compensation you need is figuring out who bears the responsibility for your injuries. In pedestrian accidents, there’s often a lot of back-and-forth about who had the right of way or whether one of the parties involved broke the law.

A lawyer can gather evidence, like traffic camera footage or witness statements, to build a strong argument supporting your claim.

Dealing With Insurance Companies:

Insurance companies often give pedestrian accident victims a hard time. They have teams of lawyers and adjusters aiming to reduce your compensation as much as possible. They might say the accident was your fault or offer a settlement that’s way too low.

A lawyer can fight these battles for you, making sure the insurance companies don’t take advantage of your inexperience.

Assessing Damages Correctly:

How do you accurately determine how much a pedestrian accident cost you? There are medical bills, of course, but what about the time you had to take off work? Or your pain and suffering?

A lawyer has the know-how to determine exactly what type and amount of compensation you deserve so you don’t settle for less than you’re entitled to.

Meeting Legal Deadlines:

The clock for filing a lawsuit starts ticking the moment your accident happens. There are deadlines established by each state’s statute of limitations that dictate how long you have to file suit against the at-fault party. Miss a crucial deadline, and you could lose your chance to recover compensation in court. A lawyer can keep track of these deadlines and take care of filing all your paperwork on time.

Proving Negligence:

To win your case, you have to prove that the other person was negligent—in other words, that they weren’t careful and caused your accident. This isn’t always easy to do, especially on your own. Lawyers are pros at proving negligence and making sure the other side’s mistakes don’t get brushed under the rug.

Negotiating Fair Settlements:

Most cases settle out of court, but that doesn’t mean you should accept the first offer that comes your way. Lawyers know how to negotiate with the other side to get a deal that covers all your needs, both now and in the future.

Risks of Not Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Pedestrian Accident with a car

If you try to handle your own pedestrian accident case by yourself, you will put yourself at a serious disadvantage from the start.

Some potential risks of going it alone in a pedestrian accident case include:

  • Accepting Lowball Offers: Without a lawyer, you might not know the true value of your claim. This means you’re more likely to say yes to an offer from an insurance company that’s much lower than what you could actually get. Insurers expect people who represent themselves not to realize this, but a lawyer would spot a lowball offer from a mile away.
  • Missed Details: Law is all about the little things—small details that can make or break your case. If you don’t have the training or experience to look for these critical details, you might miss something important, such as a piece of evidence that could show you did not cause your injuries.
  • Paperwork Problems: Legal paperwork is confusing and full of deadlines. Filling something out wrong or turning it in late could cause delays or lead an insurance company or court to dismiss your claim outright. Lawyers handle these forms daily and know how to avoid these costly mistakes.
  • Being Outmatched: If the other side has a lawyer and you don’t, they have you outgunned. They have someone who knows the law inside and out, and you’ll be figuring it out as you go. That’s an uneven fight and one you will likely lose.
  • Stress and Time: Dealing with a legal case takes a lot of time and energy. Without a lawyer, all that stress falls on you, which can affect your health and recovery.
  • Underestimating Future Costs: You might think about the medical bills you have now, but what if you need more treatment later on? Lawyers think ahead and fight for compensation that covers your present expenses and any you might have down the road.
  • Going to Trial Unprepared: If your case goes to trial, you need to be ready. This means understanding legal procedures, knowing how to question witnesses, and making your case to a judge or jury. This is second nature to a seasoned lawyer, but it’s a daunting challenge for someone without that training.

The Bottom Line: You Need an Attorney for a Pedestrian Accident Claim

You have one shot at recovering compensation after a pedestrian accident and must make the most of it. Furthermore, you must see that any insurance settlement or jury award you receive covers your past and future needs.

But how can you handle the complexities of a lengthy legal case without a lawyer’s help?

Your priority is your health, and your attorney can handle the rest while you heal. Not hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer is a risk you cannot afford.

When to Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

The best time to contact a pedestrian accident attorney is as soon as possible after the collision. Critical evidence can disappear or deteriorate within hours or days, and you want to give your lawyer as much time as possible to build a robust case.

Waiting too long to speak to a lawyer can significantly reduce your chances of recovering fair compensation for your injuries.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

One of a pedestrian accident lawyer’s essential jobs is to identify what caused the accident so they can hold the liable party or parties accountable. Knowing the common causes of pedestrian wrecks also helps you better understand who you could hold legally responsible for your injuries.

Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:

  • Distracted Driving: Drivers not paying attention to the road often fail to notice pedestrians, leading to accidents. Texting, eating, or any other distraction can pull their focus away from the task of driving where it should be.
  • Speeding: When drivers go too fast, they have less time to react to pedestrians crossing the road. High speeds make stopping in time or maneuvering safely much more difficult.
  • Failing to Yield Right-of-Way: Many pedestrian accidents happen because drivers ignore crosswalks or signals that give pedestrians the right to cross. Drivers who don’t respect these rules put pedestrians at risk.
  • Impaired Driving: Alcohol or drugs impair a driver’s ability to make good decisions and react quickly, which can cause pedestrian accidents. Impairment can significantly reduce a driver’s ability to judge distances and spot pedestrians.
  • Poor Visibility: Accidents are more likely when drivers can’t see well, like at night, in bad weather, or at poorly lit crossings. Pedestrians are harder to spot, and drivers have less time to stop or avoid collisions because of their reduced field of vision.
  • Ignoring Traffic Signals: When drivers run red lights or stop signs, they can collide with pedestrians legally using the crosswalk.
  • Turning Vehicles: Drivers focused on making turns may not notice pedestrians crossing the street. The heightened attention to oncoming traffic or signals can cause drivers to overlook someone walking.
  • Backing-Up Accidents: Vehicles backing out of parking spaces or driveways may hit pedestrians, especially when drivers do not check their rearview mirrors or cameras. These accidents occur frequently in parking lots and residential areas.

Who’s Liable for a Pedestrian Accident?

After a pedestrian accident, pinpointing who caused it is a key step in your claim. An attorney will sift through the details to determine who should pay for your injuries. Here’s a look at some of the commonly liable parties in pedestrian accident claims:

The Driver:

If a driver hits you because they did not follow traffic laws, they can be liable for the accident. Their actions behind the wheel are often the focus when investigating to discover who is at fault for a pedestrian crash.

The Company Employing the Driver:

When a driver who is on the job hits a pedestrian, the business they work for might be liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. Companies have a responsibility for their employees’ actions on the job.

The Vehicle Manufacturer:

If a car’s brakes or another critical part failed and caused the accident, the company that made the car might be liable. Car makers must make sure their vehicles are safe and free from defects.

The City or Municipality:

Problems with the road itself, like poor lighting or a missing stop sign, may have played a role in the accident. In these cases, the government agency responsible for building or maintaining the road may be liable for the crash.

Common Injuries From Pedestrian Accidents

Another reason to hire an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer is the catastrophic injuries these collisions often cause. The more severe your injuries, the more you need an attorney who can skillfully and thoroughly explain their extent to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

Some common injuries from pedestrian accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries, including partial or complete paralysis
  • External injuries to the head and face
  • Severed, crushed, or amputated limbs
  • Internal bleeding
  • Injuries to internal organs
  • Broken bones
  • Road rash
  • Muscle sprains, strains, or tears
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Psychological trauma (anxiety, insomnia, depression, PTSD, etc.)

Frequently Asked Questions About Pedestrian Accident Claims

Tatiana Boohoff - Attorney for Pedestrian Accident
Tatiana Boohoff, Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

One advantage of hiring a personal injury attorney is that they can answer your questions about your case or the legal process. That said, here are some of the most common questions people ask about pedestrian accident claims and their answers.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

An attorney will need to review your case before they can give you an estimate of its potential worth.

Working with an experienced lawyer allows you to pursue compensation for the losses related to the accident, such as:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost earnings from missing work
  • Reduced future earnings due to an injury or disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life due to an injury or disability
  • The cost to repair or replace damaged personal property

How Long Does a Pedestrian Accident Claim Take?

Every personal injury case is different, which makes it difficult to say how long a typical claim takes. Most cases resolve within a few weeks or months, but some may take a year or longer, especially if the case goes to trial. In general, working with a capable attorney shortens your case’s length and makes reaching a favorable outcome easier.

How Much Does a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Cost?

Most pedestrian accident attorneys do not charge any upfront fees. Instead, they only get paid if you recover compensation for your injuries.

Once you receive your insurance settlement or trial award, your attorney collects an agreed-upon percentage of your compensation as their fee. This approach helps anyone who needs high-quality legal representation to afford it.

December 17, 2023
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