In one recent year, over 7,000 pedestrians died from motor vehicle crashes. That’s approximately one fatality every 75 minutes, and pedestrians account for about 17 percent of crash fatalities. In addition to these fatalities, there were an estimated 104,000 pedestrian emergency department visits for non-fatal crash-related injuries in the same year.
Pedestrian accident victims and the loved ones of those who have died deserve compensation for their damages. It’s usually best to pursue that compensation through an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who can work towards settling the injury claim on your behalf. Pedestrian accident attorneys are skilled negotiators who can use your claim’s strengths to your advantage to maximize the compensation available to you. So how long do pedestrian accidents take to settle? Read more below.
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If you have a pending pedestrian accident claim, it’s understandable to want to know how long your case will take. You want to pay your bills and move on from this difficult chapter of your life. However, predicting how long pedestrian accident claims can take is difficult. Each is unique, with its own factors that can increase or decrease the time the claim takes to settle.
Some claims take as little as a few weeks, while others can go on for months or even years. When you first meet with a pedestrian accident attorney, they can evaluate the specifics of your accident and injuries and provide a rough estimate of how long your claim may take to settle. Still, you should keep in mind that this is only an estimate. It may take the time they say, or much longer or shorter.
Many factors can increase or decrease the time frame for settling a pedestrian accident case. You can discuss with your attorney how the following factors might impact your pedestrian accident claim.
The parties involved in the claim can also impact the timeline. For example, a pedestrian accident that involves numerous vehicles or pedestrians will be more complicated with multiple injury claims, insurance companies, and personal injury attorneys. In addition, some insurance companies may take longer than others to fully process a claim.
The amount of damages the injured party claims can also impact the timeline. Some pedestrian accident cases include injuries that are simple, acute, and will heal quickly. However, other injuries can be lifelong and require much more compensation. In cases like these, it’s not uncommon for each party to go repetitively back and forth, making several attempts at agreeing on a settlement amount.
For victims with severe injuries, it’s usually best to wait to settle the claim until they reach maximum medical improvement, which can take months or even a few years. Their prognosis may initially be unclear, but they still understandably want their settlement amount to include all their accident losses and expenses. Reaching the point that they can obtain the necessary information and documentation to fully calculate their losses can take time. Unfortunately, this can lead to delays in the settlement process.
Every insurance company is different. Many will fight the liability of their insured even when the writing’s on the wall. Some are more reasonable and willing to quickly increase offered settlement amounts if it’s clear that their insured is liable, and there’s no way they can try to argue that fact. Others might be more familiar with your pedestrian accident attorney and know that they will take a case to trial if they don’t offer a reasonable settlement, which can make them offer you a fair settlement quicker.
Even simple personal injury cases involve multiple parties. A delay in response from a single party can increase the time it takes to resolve a pedestrian accident injury claim. Some insurance carriers can take several weeks to respond to filed claims or to issue payments. Their attorneys can take longer to submit required documents to your attorney or the court. While you can’t control the actions of others, your attorney can ensure that they are following the law.
Your actions can also significantly impact how long your pedestrian accident claim takes to settle. The good news is that you can control your own actions. For example, a settlement will take longer if you wait several months or a year after your accident to contact an attorney. Instead, you can expedite your case and maximize your compensation by contacting a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
If your attorney needs you to sign paperwork or help them get additional information, your prompt and thorough cooperation will also help make your claim move faster. Ensure that you meet any deadlines they give you for completing paperwork to help speed up your case.
Hiring the right pedestrian accident attorney can make all the difference in the timeline of your case.
You want to hire an attorney who:
Attorneys who only dabble in pedestrian accident claims or who don’t have time to work on your case now likely won’t be as effective as those who do. Even though you’d like to get your claim resolved quickly, you also don’t want a lawyer who will quickly give in to any low settlements the insurance company offers.
Most pedestrian accident cases use negligence to determine fault. If one party wasn’t acting as a reasonably prudent person should in a similar situation, negligence might apply to the claim.
The elements of negligence include:
The statute of limitations simply refers to a legal deadline. Every state has a statute of limitations that applies to personal injury cases such as pedestrian accident claims. Some are one or two years, while others are as many as four. Claims against government entities often have a shorter timeline, such as six months to one year.
This is the deadline by which you must file a lawsuit in the appropriate jurisdiction. If your settlement negotiations fail, you or your attorney must make the filing for a lawsuit within your state’s applicable statute of limitations. If you do not file your case on time, the court will likely dismiss it at the request of the at-fault party’s insurance company and attorneys.
Under some circumstances, the clock for the statute of limitations can be “tolled” or paused. For instance, if the at-fault party leaves the state or the injured victim is a minor child.
The statute of limitations is another reason why speaking with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident is so important. After you hire one, they will need time to work on your case, giving it a strong foundation. They will also need time to attempt to negotiate a full and fair settlement on your behalf. You also may not be aware of the specific deadline that applies to your case. If you wait too long to contact an attorney, it can be too late.
Pedestrian accident victims are typically eligible for compensatory damages. These damages compensate or reimburse them for their losses and injuries resulting from the accident. There are two types of compensatory damages: special damages, also known as economic, and general or non-economic damages.
A pedestrian accident injury case may recover compensation for:
Special damages are typically easier to prove as they will have receipts, bills, or wage loss statements showing the exact amount paid or the amount of financial loss.
On the other hand, general damages aren’t as easy. They are subjective and can include:
Calculating some damages, including diminished earning capacity and pain and suffering, can require complicated investigations and may extend the claims timeline. For example, to prove diminished earning capacity, your pedestrian accident attorney may need to hire specialists, such as actuarial accountants, to help determine the amount of compensation you should be entitled to receive.
However, it’s crucial that if you deserve these damages, you receive compensation for them. You don’t want to skip out on them just to settle your case sooner unless you and your attorney agree that doing so will be in your best interest.
Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages don’t compensate a victim, though the victim typically receives the funds. Instead, a civil court judge can award punitive damages in cases where the at-fault party’s conduct was especially wanton and without regard for others’ safety. For example, an intoxicated driver who hits a pedestrian can be subject to punitive damages. These types of damages punish the wrong-doer and help prevent them and others from repeating the same behaviors in the future.
Believe it or not, all parties can benefit from an out-of-court settlement regarding personal injuries. For example, a negotiated signed settlement can decrease the time spent in court for everyone involved and reduce many legal costs and expenses.
In addition, it can stress injury claimants less to settle their claims out of court since they don’t have to go before a judge or a jury. For at-fault parties and their insurance companies, it can help save their reputation. All parties can also benefit from not having some of their personal information as a part of a public, permanent court record. It’s also less risky and gives each party more control over the outcome to reach a settlement agreement and avoid the courtroom.
Settling a case outside of court also helps free up the court for cases that need them the most. However, agreeing to a settlement offer is not always possible.
A small percentage of pedestrian accident cases will end up going to trial. Although, some can settle immediately before or during the trial. If your claim doesn’t settle or seems like there’s no hope of a settlement, your pedestrian accident attorney can prepare you and your case for trial.
Suppose you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident. In that case, it’s crucial to protect your rights as soon as possible. The quickest and most effective way to do this is to meet with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible.
Most injury attorneys offer free initial case consultations for injured parties and work only on contingency fees. As such, you don’t need any money to get your claim started. In fact, you won’t pay your attorney until they secure compensation on your behalf. If they don’t settle your claim or receive a court award, you owe them nothing for their services.
You have nothing to lose by getting the legal help that will maximize your settlement for pedestrian injuries. Start protecting your interests today by seeking a free case evaluation as soon as possible. Contact us at Boohoff Law today to get your consultation.
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