Pedestrian Accidents: Why You Need a Lawyer Immediately
While it is often ignored in accident statistics, pedestrian calamities are very common. More than 221 people succumbed to pedestrian accidents in New York in 2019. Interestingly, the general perception that pedestrian accident victims largely contribute to these accidents’ occurrence isn’t accurate. Recent police figures show that pedestrians are to blame for less than 5% of these accidents in the state. If you or a loved one suffered injuries on the road, consult a pedestrian accident attorney in New York to guide you through the restitution process and secure adequate financial compensation.
Pedestrians Can Also Be At Fault in Accidents
Vehicle drivers and pedestrians have the duty of reasonable care to all road users. This means pedestrians can be at fault for pedestrian accidents if they don’t act responsibly. However, even if pedestrians’ negligence can be blamed for the accident, vehicle drivers must also be blamed in pedestrian-car accidents.
Pedestrians can contribute to the accident by:
- Jaywalking – pedestrians should observe traffic rules, such as crossing at designated zones
- Failing to ensure the road is clear before crossing
- Ignoring traffic signals when entering a crosswalk
- Walking or crossing a street while intoxicated
- Darting into the road
- Distracting drivers and other road users intentionally
A Lawyer Can Build a Solid Case Using Evidence
Unlike the driver, pedestrians experience the accident’s full impact because they aren’t wearing any protective gear. Hence, pedestrian-car accidents often lead to life-changing injuries and fatalities, making it necessary for victims to seek compensation. Given the complexity of the matter, victims should consult competent legal aid who will assemble a plea by focusing on the following.
1. Determining Fault
Pedestrians caught jaywalking, using their cell phones, or entertaining other distractions while walking along the road can be held liable for the accident. However, contributing to the accident doesn’t mean you won’t receive compensation for your injuries and property damage. In most cases, auto drivers are also at fault for speeding, making an illegal turn, or driving irresponsibly.
If your lawyer can prove this in court, you will receive some compensation as per the statute of comparative fault. This statute allows pedestrians and other victims to receive part of the compensation even if they contributed to the accident. However, they should prove their actions didn’t solely cause the accident and that the driver also has some degree of fault.
A pedestrian attorney can use witness testimony, crime scene evidence, and medical records to determine the drivers’ fault in pedestrian accidents.
2. Calculating Damages
Determining monetary sums of lost wages and medical bills is relatively easy. However, putting a price tag on emotional distress, pain, and suffering is difficult. In most cases, insurance companies offer victims low pay-outs that are worth less than due to pain and mental agony. An experienced attorney understands personal injury laws and can help you calculate and fight for total compensation.
3. Guidance on The Legal Merits of The Case
Most victims of pedestrian accidents often don’t know where to begin, especially if they’ve suffered severe injuries or lost a loved one. Seeking medical attention or mourning the departed person is undoubtedly the first reaction. However, most people don’t know their legal rights after the accident.
Your hired pedestrian accident lawyer can recommend the best steps moving forward. They evaluate all the case details to determine your compensation chances and who to sue for liabilities.
4. Staying on Top of Deadlines
All personal injury cases should be filed within a given period, often referred to as the statute of limitations. New York laws require personal accident victims to file injury claims within three years. Hiring a lawyer immediately gives you enough time to collect evidence and prepare the case while recovering.
5. Negotiating with Insurance Companies
As mentioned, insurance companies often try to downplay the severity of victims’ injuries to offer low pay-outs. If an insurance adjuster offers a settlement before calculating your damages, you won’t likely get a good deal. Insurance companies hire experienced lawyers to defend their cases and question your legibility. Therefore, you should hire an experienced pedestrian lawyer to negotiate their initial offer and handle their defences.
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