Sadly, pedestrian accidents occur often since drivers are not vigilant enough when it comes to keeping a lookout for runners and walkers. The accidents take place even though pedestrians usually exercise appropriate caution. Further, an accident between a car and a pedestrian usually results in the pedestrian coming off worse.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports that between the period of 2000 – 2008, just over 18,000 pedestrians were injured and more than 1,300 were killed in vehicle accidents. While these kinds of accidents can occur for a broad variety of reasons, they are often the result of driver negligence. But, pedestrians who have been hurt might be legally entitled to pursue a claim against the responsible parties and seek compensation for their damages. A skilled pedestrian accident attorney in Georgia can assist with the case and collect the necessary evidence.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Injuries?
Some of the most common causes of such accidents include:
- Distracted drivers
- Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way
- Drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Disobeying signs and traffic signs
- Drivers speeding and losing control of their vehicle
- Drivers losing control of their vehicle and veering off the road
Furthermore, pedestrians could also be at fault for causing an accident if they failed to look both ways before they crossed a street, or if they tried to cross outside of a designated crosswalk or at a non-intersection.
While both pedestrians and drivers can be held liable for causing a pedestrian accident, these kinds of accidents tend to occur when a driver is irresponsible or negligent behind his or her wheel, and a pedestrian is more likely to sustain significant injuries, or loss of life, in an accident, since there is little to cushion the impact of the car or diffuse the force of the crash. While compensation can vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case, often, the more severe injuries and the greater economic and noneconomic losses incurred, the greater the amount of compensation that will be awarded. A dedicated pedestrian accident lawyer will help a plaintiff build a strong case to seek maximum compensation.
Recovering Damages from a Pedestrian Accident
The debilitating, severe, and sometimes permanent injuries that can arise from such accidents on our roads can result in substantial financial losses to the person and their families. But, Georgia law provides an injured pedestrian with the right to recover his or her damages from the person responsible for the accident. These damages may include, but may not be limited to:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Other economic losses
The spouse of an injured person is further entitled to recover for the loss of the services of the spouse.
While financial recovery cannot repair the damage done to a pedestrian, it can help to ease the monetary burdens created when someone is hurt. It is important to talk to a pedestrian accident attorney to establish a case and ensure a claim is filed within the required statute of limitations.
When an accident occurs, the insurance company for the truck, motorcycle or automobile driver will begin an investigation right away. The insurance provider will also attempt to limit the recovery of the pedestrian to the lowest amount they can possibly devise. The insurance providers have established specific and elaborate procedures for handling such claims, particularly during the early stages of the claim. To avoid settling for a small amount of compensation, an injured pedestrian should talk to a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Straight after the accident, the insurance provider usually takes recorded statements from everyone involved in the accident, interviews any witnesses that may have witnessed the accident, takes photographs of the scene, and obtains a police report in an attempt to establish the extent of the pedestrian’s injuries. Typically, the insurance company can get all of this done within the first week after the incident, if not within 24 hours after the accident.
The tactics used by insurance companies can vary, but many insurance providers try to reach a swift settlement with pedestrians. They do this so as to avoid responsibility for any future medical expenses, lost wages, and any other damages that could develop down the line. A pedestrian accident attorney can help injured pedestrians falling into this type of trap. Sometimes, when a pedestrian is injured, it can take months to properly and fully assess their injuries, and then, the person may require surgery or another kind of extensive treatment, and if they choose to settle early, they may not be able to afford their treatment.
Further, injuries might leave a pedestrian permanently disabled, even once they have undergone corrective surgery. So, the true value of an injury claim from such an incident may only be assessed once a physician has established a firm outlook. In the state of Georgia, there is a two-year statute of limitations, or period of time, in which a pedestrian has to file a lawsuit for a personal injury claim. Therefore, it is important to seek the help of a pedestrian accident lawyer, while it is just as important not to rush into a settlement with the insurance company representing the driver.
It should be noted that there are other significant issues that may develop for pedestrians who are injured in an accident with a truck, car, or motorcycle. For example, the pedestrian’s health insurance company pays for the medical bills, but often they will seek reimbursement from the settlement with the driver’s insurance company or the pedestrian’s own insurance company. There are certain limitations on health insurance companies’ rights to obtain reimbursements, so it is important to discuss such claims with a Georgia pedestrian accident attorney.
Furthermore, if a pedestrian was on the job when he or she was injured, their workers’ compensation insurance provider may try to obtain reimbursement of their payments for lost wages and medical expenses. There are also significant limitations on the workers’ compensation insurance companies’ rights to receive such reimbursement. These are important points that an injured pedestrian needs to understand before agreeing to any kind of settlement with the driver’s insurance carrier.