As a pedestrian hit by a car, you likely have many questions about your next steps. How can you protect yourself? What financial protection do you have? If the driver’s negligent actions caused your pedestrian accident, you might have the right to file a pedestrian accident claim for compensation for the damages you sustained. But just how much compensation should you expect?
The average settlement for a pedestrian hit by a car may depend on several critical factors related to your accident and injuries. Our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers
break it down below.
What injuries did you sustain in the accident?
Pedestrian accidents frequently mean severe injuries, many of which have long-term consequences. In a low-speed collision, you might merely suffer broken bones
or injuries like severe road rash, which can have a high rate of infection. On the other hand, at a higher rate of speed, you might suffer more serious injuries like traumatic brain injury,spinal cord injuries
, and severe crushing damage, for example.
Severe injuries typically lead to much higher settlements, in general, than minor ones since you will have fewer expenses directly related to the incident. Suppose, for example, that you suffer a broken arm in your accident: you will likely have relatively few medical bills, and you will presumably go back to work fairly quickly. Even if you need surgery to set your arm properly, or if your injuries require physical therapy, you may still find that you experience far lower medical bills than someone who sustains severe injuries in a pedestrian accident.
On the other hand, what if you suffered much more serious injuries in your pedestrian accident? If your pedestrian accident causes a head injury, the road to recovery may be a long one: ongoing medical procedures, occupational therapy, and a lot of missed time at work while you try to recover. If you lose an arm due to your pedestrian accident injuries, you may have an extended hospitalization, amputation, stump revisions, and the cost of a prosthetic, physical and occupational therapy.
Medical Bills Matter in Pedestrian Accident Claims
When it comes to pedestrian accident claims, your medical bills can prove essential to establishing the full extent of the damages you faced. If you have minor injuries and minor medical bills, you likely have fewer other financial losses, as well. On the other hand, if you have immense medical bills from your accident, you may find that you experience other more significant losses, both financial and non-financial.
Keep track of all medical bills related to your pedestrian accident so that you can refer back to them as needed. You may need to keep all those bills in one place so that you can easily produce them for the insurance company or as you speak with your lawyer.
Items to Include in Pedestrian Accident Medical Costs
To clearly define the medical costs you have faced due to your pedestrian accident, review all your accumulated medical bills.
Your medical costs may include:
- Emergency ambulance transport
- Treatment in the emergency room
- The cost of any procedures you needed to treat your injuries
- Long-term care, whether in-home or in a facility while recovering
- Durable medical equipment
- Therapy, including physical and occupational
You may want to talk to your lawyer about any psychological impact from the accident, including the cost of mental health counseling and medications, to include as part of your claim.
How much time did your pedestrian accident injuries force you to miss from work?
Severe injuries can interfere substantially with your ability to generate your regular income. If you work as a contractor or freelancer, you may find that you cannot keep up with your usual workload while recovering. If you work for a company, your return to work may depend on your employer’s specific policies related to injuries, as well as your recovery.
Does your employer have policies that prohibit you from coming to work while injured?
Some employers may have specific policies that require injured employees to remain out of work until they fully recover. In some jobs, your injuries could make you a hazard to others, like out on a warehouse floor or construction site. Some employers might not want to take the risk that your job duties will cause you to worsen your injuries inadvertently. Sometimes, your employer might want you to focus on your recovery rather than your work tasks.
However, your employer’s policies could cause you to continue to lose income during this difficult time in your life.
Do your injuries prevent you from taking care of your job duties?
How much your injuries impact your ability to work may depend on the injuries you suffered and the type of work you usually perform. Sometimes, your employer might make modifications that will enable you to take on some or all of your usual work responsibilities despite your injuries. In some cases, your injuries might not prevent you from performing your work tasks; however, you may need time off to recover.
Sometimes your specific injuries may interfere substantially with your actual job duties and prevent you from earning a wage.
Suppose, for example, that you work in data entry. A broken leg wouldn’t interfere much with your ability to do your work. You might even have the ability to work from home during your recovery, allowing you to remain more comfortable while still generating an income for yourself.
On the other hand, if you break your arm, you could find it much more challenging to take care of your usual work tasks. Similarly, a broken leg could interfere substantially with a job that requires you to go out on a warehouse floor or engage in manual labor.
If your injuries prevent you from performing your job duties, it may take considerably longer to get back to work, and you may have more missing wages.
Do you need time to recover from your injuries?
Most minor injuries do not keep people from work for very long since they do not cause substantial limitations. On the other hand, more severe injuries may stop the injured party from working for an extended time while they recover. Will you require additional time for recovery? What about follow-up appointments? Do you need future procedures to minimize pain or maximize recovery, but that will stop you from generating your usual income?
These are important factors to consider when calculating the income you have lost from your accident and how it will impact the compensation you deserve from your car accident claim.
How did your accident affect other non-financial areas of your life?
Most pedestrian accident claims include a category for “pain and suffering.” Pain and suffering include all the non-financial elements contributing to your difficulties and struggles after the accident.
Typically, pain and suffering do not include items that have a direct financial correlation. If you have damaged property or other direct financial losses, you can notify your lawyer about those losses and include them as part of your claim. Pain and suffering, on the other hand, cover the non-financial elements of your losses.
Have you suffered considerable physical pain because of your accident and your injuries?
Many injuries can cause substantial physical pain. In some cases, that pain may linger for weeks or months. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may experience pain that remains for the rest of your life. You should consider this long-term pain in calculating your non-financial damages.
What limitations do you have as a direct result of the accident?
Some injuries can cause permanent limitations. Your injuries may prevent you from engaging in many of your favorite activities or enjoying time with friends and loved ones the way you did before the accident.
The impact your injuries and limitations have on your life may depend heavily on your lifestyle before the accident and the activities you usually enjoy. Suppose, for example, that you suffered a spinal cord injury
in your pedestrian accident.
If you previously lived a very active lifestyle, including regular running or biking, you would likely experience a significant loss if you could no longer participate in those activities.
On the other hand, if you typically spend more time playing video games or watching movies, you may find that the loss of that mobility has less of an impact on your personal life.
Did you have any emotional trauma related to the accident or your injuries?
Sometimes, a pedestrian accident itself can cause immense emotional trauma. It can make it difficult for you to walk down the street, especially in heavy traffic, or pass the accident site, even in a vehicle. Other times, the emotional trauma from your pedestrian accident may relate directly to your injuries: for example, the struggle to accept a loss of independence.
A lawyer can help you calculate the value of the pain and suffering you faced after the accident. The calculation of pain and suffering may occur on a per diem rate, which allows a lawyer to calculate a specific compensation amount based on the suffering you have faced each day. Alternatively, they may calculate using a percentage of the total compensation you need to pursue to cover other, more tangible expenses, including medical bills and lost wages.
Who caused your pedestrian accident?
The party that caused your pedestrian accident may have a significant impact on the compensation you can recover for the injuries you sustained in the accident.
If the driver of a passenger vehicle caused your accident, and that driver carries only minimum auto insurance, the insurance policy may limit your recovery. The compensation you can recover for your injuries will likely be limited to the amount of coverage, despite the considerably higher losses you may have faced.
On the other hand, many entities and drivers may carry substantially higher-value policies. For example, if your pedestrian accident involved a commercial driver, you may find that the driver has substantially larger insurance coverage. Uber and Lyft drivers may also have coverage under an umbrella policy covering all drivers who contract for the company when they have active rides. Many employers who hire drivers for any reason, including construction and delivery companies, may also have higher-value policies.
Furthermore, if an entity other than the driver contributed to your pedestrian accident, you may have the right to pursue additional compensation from that party.
Suppose, for example, that you have an accident with a delivery driver whose company strictly penalizes any late delivery. That driver caused the accident because he was speeding to make a delivery. The employer might share some liability for the accident due to the dangerous policy that incentivized risky driving. The employer may have a high-value insurance policy that you can make a claim against to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Likewise, if you have a pedestrian accident caused by mechanical failure in the driver’s vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer may bear partial liability.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to Learn More
With no definitive, one-size-fits-all answer regarding the compensation you can recover from a pedestrian accident, a lawyer offers your best look at how much compensation you really deserve. Contact
a personal injury lawyer
near you to discuss your right to compensation following an accident.