Pedestrian deaths as a result of accidents have soared since prior to the Covid pandemic, according to statistics collected by Westat. A comparison of the first six months of 2019 with the same period in 2022 showed an additional 519 lives were lost, or an increase of 18%. For the whole of 2022, 1.04 people died in every 100,000, whereas the figure was 0.9 in 2019. During the latter year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that one such accident occurred in each seven-minute slot, with someone losing their life in every eighty-five-minute period.
Pedestrians being seriously injured or killed in accidents with cars has become a crisis. Yet, many pedestrians that this has happened to are not aware of their legal rights or how to institute a claim when the other party is responsible for the accident. Below we look at your rights as a pedestrian involved in a traffic accident and how you can get redress.
What You Can Claim in a Pedestrian Accident
The pedestrian who has been injured due to a car crash can get a lawyer and open a civil case. This can be against the municipality where the accident took place and/or the driver of the vehicle. You may be awarded monetary compensation, have any loss of wages reimbursed, claim for medical expenses, and ask for an award for pain and suffering.
Civil claims are different from criminal charges. You don’t have to win a criminal case in court to apply for civil damages. The driver charged in a criminal case may get a prison sentence or probation, have their license suspended, or be given a fine. The courts may order compensation for you even in a criminal hearing.
Injuries You Have the Right to Claim for
You have the legal right to make a claim in a civil case when you are a pedestrian that was injured in a vehicle accident, where the driver of the vehicle was at fault. Although accident scenes and particulars differ, there are certain injuries that are often seen in these types of incidents. These include death, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, damage to soft tissues, burns, fractured or broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and mental trauma.
Pedestrians who have been the victim of a vehicle-pedestrian accident need to have a medical assessment done immediately, or as soon as possible after the incident. Shock and wildly circulating adrenaline can prevent awareness of even serious injuries at the scene or just after being brought to the emergency room. This will also give you vital evidence for your case in court. New symptoms may only start making their presence known much later and warrant another visit to a medical practitioner to be evaluated.
Compensation You Have the Right to Claim
While it is reiterated that each accident scene involving a pedestrian and a vehicle is not identical, and circumstances will vary, there are common rights you have that determine what you can claim compensation for.
Some of the costs you may have incurred from the accident include being attended to and transported by an ambulance and its crew, being seen and treated by the emergency room staff, time spent in hospital, surgery, physio, medical devices, and specialists’ (including psychologists’) and doctors’ fees.
Loss of Income
You may have experienced a loss of income from the time since the incident until you were able to work again. This would also have used up your sick leave, limiting the days you have available for illnesses that may occur, or perhaps vacation days as well. In some instances, employees are still in recovery from the accident when annual promotions are being awarded and may miss out on getting a bonus. There may be contributions or benefits that are lost during this time. Some pedestrian victims are unable to work again and need to receive compensation for the loss of future earnings and promotions.
Pain and Suffering
Most pedestrians who have survived a pedestrian-vehicle crash experience pain and suffering after the accident. There is physical pain and there is emotional pain. The victim’s life may have been changed forever. This may mean a loss of enjoyment in life, sadness over being in a wheelchair, grieving for lost opportunities, unrelenting chronic pain, and the inability to manage the tasks of daily living.
Ensuring the Best Possible Outcome in your Civil Claim
If you want to ensure the best possible result for your civil case and uphold your legal rights, you need to collect as much evidence as possible, as soon after the incident as you can. Take copious photos of the scene, traffic signs and road markings, anything like a tree that impeded visibility, and of the vehicle that collided with you. Be sure to get these pictures or videos from all angles. Record items such as skid marks photographically and write down the names of any potential witnesses to the accident. Take notes of everything you can remember about the accident. Keep this handy to remind yourself of events when you appear in court.
Remember to report the incident to your insurer. You are required in insurance policies to do so. If you fail to do this, your cover might be compromised.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Who Can Help You Fight for Your Rights
You are legally entitled to pursue a legal claim as a pedestrian who has been the victim of a collision with a vehicle and has experienced loss or costs as a result. This is best handled by an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases. You can also institute a civil claim against a driver in such incidents where the death of a loved one has occurred. At M Smith Law, Boston, we will play a key role in getting you the best possible compensation for a vehicle-pedestrian claim.
If you have had an accident as a pedestrian where the other party is fully or partially at fault, get in touch with our law firm to find out how to claim compensation. We are available online at the following address: 15 Broad St #800 Boston, MA 02109. Alternatively, call now for a free consultation on (617) 263-0860.