How to file a personal injury lawsuit for pedestrian accidents
Pedestrian accidents are life-altering on many fronts. First of all, the injuries will cause short-term disruptions to your life as you seek the medical attention that you need. Secondly, the long-term effects on your mental state and the possible changes to your employment from the accident can be long-reaching. Not to mention the fact that the cost of medical care could leave you financially stretched and unable to pay your bills.
To help you recover from a pedestrian accident – physically, mentally and financially – you can file a personal injury lawsuit. There are a few steps you should take following an accident to protect your ability to file a lawsuit and your chances of winning.
Steps to take after a pedestrian accident
- Call the police. You should get a police report on file for the accident to properly document what happened.
- Document the scene. If you’re able to do so, collect information about the driver of the car and their insurance information. Take photos of the scene. One thing to keep in mind is that municipalities can be at-fault for accidents such as these so document everything.
- Seek medical treatment for your injuries. It’s extremely difficult to prove injury unless you have a medical diagnosis. Call an ambulance and head to the hospital for an evaluation if you ever find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident.
- Hire an attorney. Once you are well enough, you should seek a personal injury attorney with experience in pedestrian accidents. An attorney will ensure you take the appropriate next steps in protecting your rights and your way of life.
- Do not speak with the insurance company. Allow your attorney to do the talking whenever you can and when you must speak, make sure your attorney is present. This will protect your rights and your ability to file a lawsuit if you’d like to.
Filing a lawsuit against a driver
Generally, the driver is always at-fault for pedestrian accidents. This is even true in many cases where the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk. The law requires that drivers be alert and stay aware of hazards while at the wheel. Drivers are legally required to see what’s in front of them, including pedestrians.
Accidents that take place while a pedestrian is in a crosswalk are even more clearly the driver’s fault. Discuss the full details of what happened during the accident with your attorney to learn whether or not you have a case.
Virginia law requires that motorists yield to pedestrians at all times. It also states that pedestrians should not “carelessly or maliciously” affect traffic in a negative way. So there is some responsibility that the pedestrian does take on, but the law favors pedestrians throughout the commonwealth.
Filing a lawsuit against a municipality
The local city, township or other municipality is responsible for ensuring that the area is safe for pedestrians and motorists. When the municipality fails to install traffic signals or creates a road structure that somehow hinders visibility or clarity, they can be at fault for an accident.
At times, traffic signals fail and confuse motorists and pedestrians. In these situations, if an accident were to occur, the municipality can be at fault. Additionally, there have been other cases where the municipality didn’t consider visibility when installing a crosswalk. If a crosswalk is around a corner where the motorists cannot see pedestrians, that is a hazard.
Allowing bushes or other shrubbery to hinder visibility can also cause accidents. Any plants or trees near intersections must have proper upkeep to ensure motorists and pedestrians can see one another.
Damages you can seek in a pedestrian accident
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you can seek compensation for your injuries. The amount of money you can seek in damages is directly tied to the extent of your injuries and your specific circumstances. Here are some types of compensation you can seek:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages, including future lost wages if you’re no longer able to work like you were before
- Pain and suffering from your injuries and the ordeal
- Loss of your enjoyment of life as you went through the experience and medical treatment
Your personal injury pedestrian accident attorney can work with you to seek the appropriate funds based on your accident. That’s why having a competent and knowledgeable attorney is so important to winning your case and protecting your way of life. Don’t accept your injuries and the bills that come with them following a pedestrian accident.