In 2021, over 7,000 pedestrian fatalities occurred. Unfortunately, a vast majority of these are entirely preventable. Most pedestrian accidents are serious, and it’s not uncommon for victims to suffer major bodily injury.
When seeking compensation, there are a few errors in pedestrian accident lawsuits people tend to make. Let’s explore some of the most notable to avoid during your pedestrian accident case.
1. Not Calling the Police
This is one of the most serious mistakes people make. If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, it’s crucial to call the police as soon as possible.
This is true even if you don’t feel injured. When the police arrive, they will assess the scene and create a written report that documents everything. This information will come into play later on during your case.
In court, the word of a law enforcement officer carries much more weight than other witness testimonies. Tell the officer exactly what happened, such as which direction you are traveling, how the other driver reacted to the accident, etc. Be sure to get the name of the officer in their badge number so you can obtain the police report.
2. Neglecting Medical Care
Not all injuries are visible. In fact, it’s possible to have serious internal issues that worsen over time. There’s also a chance that you might not experience complications until days or weeks after the accident. This is particularly true when considering head trauma.
It’s important to seek medical care as soon as you can after an accident. Not only does this screen you for underlying health problems, but it also establishes injuries that occurred. To clarify, let’s assume that you wait too long to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
The other party may argue that you weren’t initially injured but later decided to claim that you were hurt. The medical information you document will play a large role in the outcome of your case.
3. Not Taking Pictures
Pictures of the scene can tell a lot on their own. Unfortunately, many people forget to take photographic or video evidence after an accident.
This is often understandable, as pedestrian accidents can be traumatizing. In some cases, someone might go into shock and completely forget about the scene itself.
If possible, use your smartphone to capture the state of the scene after the accident. Look for details like skid marks on the road, damaged property, etc. You can also take photos of your shoes/clothing. Those involved in a pedestrian accident often end up with ripped shirts/jeans, for example.
4. Admitting Guilt
Many people admit guilt without even realizing it. Let’s take a look at a brief example.
David is using a crosswalk to get from one side of the road to the other. However, he is texting on his phone while crossing. Suddenly, he is struck by a moving vehicle. In a daze after recovering from his fall, he immediately tells the other driver that he’s sorry and that he didn’t see the car coming.
Even a simple statement like this could place the blame on David even though he was using the crosswalk. The other party could argue that although David was using the crosswalk, he was crossing at an inappropriate time and that is why he apologized after the incident. Those involved in a pedestrian accident should never admit guilt in any form.
In fact, it’s best to avoid talking about the accident from your point of view entirely until the police get there. Witnesses often record incidents like these, and there’s a good chance that someone will have your admission of guilt on video.
Witnesses also tend to stick around to talk to law enforcement, and they may provide police officers with evidence of your admitting fault. This could paint the scenario in a highly unfavorable light.
5. Not Acquiring Contact Info
If the driver remains at the scene, you should always acquire their contact information. Ask for their name and insurance info, as you will need these to progress with your case.
If they refuse to give this information to you, let law enforcement know about this when they arrive. Police officers will obtain this information on your behalf and provide it to you. If the driver doesn’t remain at the scene, get their license plate number if you can.
You can also ask nearby businesses, witnesses, etc., if they happened to record or see the incident. At the very least, try to remember the make and model of the car so that you can provide this information to the police.
6. Signing a Medical Release
After accidents like these, insurance adjusters often ask you to sign an authorized release of medical records. Unfortunately, this is not a situation that is in your best interest. Adjusters do this to protect the insurance company.
If you sign a medical release, you may inadvertently provide access to all of your medical records. Insurance companies can then pick and choose the information they can leverage to pay you less.
In some cases, they can deny your claim entirely. This is something you want to avoid at all costs, as it can make an already complicated situation much worse.
7. Giving a Recorded Statement
Insurance adjusters often ask to record conversations between themselves and the victim. These conversations are then transcribed into written documents and are later used in court. It’s not uncommon for people to make statements that damage their case.
This is especially true if the conversation occurs shortly after the accident when they are still in shock. Even a sentence or two could derail your chances of having a favorable outcome.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to agree to give a recorded statement to settle your claim. Politely decline this request if an insurance adjuster asks you.
8. Taking a Quick Settlement
Pedestrian accidents can be mentally fatiguing and stressful. Many people simply want to put the situation behind them. For this reason, they often settle for much less than they could otherwise get.
Accepting a quick settlement is one of the worst actions you can take, as it often takes time for all of the post-accident complications to arise. For example, you might experience serious migraines, a loss of balance, etc., four weeks after the accident.
If you had already settled, you wouldn’t be able to receive compensation for these issues. In some situations, you might find yourself with substantial medical debt that you can’t overcome.
9. Waiting Too Long
If you wait too long to sue, you may no longer have a case. No matter the outcome of the accident, you won’t be able to hold the other party accountable.
How long you have to sue will depend on the state in which the accident occurred. Some states have a longer statute of limitations than others.
Research info about the lawsuit filing deadline after the incident so you know when you need to take action. This is crucial information to keep in mind, so don’t neglect it.
10. Not Hiring the Right Attorney
Hiring the wrong attorney will only serve to hold you back. You might not get the settlement you deserve. You might not even when the case. Instead, it’s in your best interest to work with a reputable professional who can handle your situation.
Finding a Lawyer
It can seem difficult at first to find the right lawyer. However, there are certain attributes you should consider during your search.
Let’s look at some of the most notable.
Do they have a strong reputation in the industry? What do other clients have to say about their experience with them? Check past reviews and testimonials so you can gain insight into what you can expect.
This will help ensure that you choose the ideal candidate for your situation. Keep an eye out for how the attorney responds to criticism.
If they get defensive or aggressive, it’s in your best interest to look elsewhere. Otherwise, you may experience the same issues. You can read more information here.
Their Level of Experience
Working with an unexperienced attorney isn’t always a bad decision. However, they’ll be much less likely to achieve the outcome you desire.
It’s always better to work with a lawyer that has years of experience in this area of law. If they don’t specialize in pedestrian accidents, keep searching until you find someone who does.
You’ll want to work with a lawyer who understands the nuances of a case like this.
Are They Communicative?
How easy is it to get in touch with them?
This is one of the most important details to consider when making your decision. The last thing you want is to be left in the dark while your case is ongoing. It’s not practical to expect your attorney to respond 24/7.
However, they should get back to you promptly when you have questions or concerns about your case. In some situations, they might even allow you to contact them after business hours.
Check Their Billing Structure
Some attorneys operate on a contingency basis. This means that they don’t require an upfront payment to represent you.
Instead, they will take a portion of your winnings as their compensation. If they don’t win your case, you won’t have to pay anything.
Other attorneys charge clients by the hour. Regardless of how they bill you, make sure you have a strong understanding of this information. This will help you budget for their services and avoid financial surprises.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Some of the most common injuries are broken bones, scrapes, and bruises. Many pedestrian accidents result in the victim hitting the pavement after being struck by the vehicle. Depending on how fast the car was going, these injuries could range from mild to severe.
The size and weight of the vehicle also play a large role. In some cases, pedestrians can experience traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding. Both of these require a diagnosis from a medical professional, which is why it is so important to seek medical attention right away.
Mild pedestrian accident injuries resolve within a week or two. Serious accidents could leave victims with injuries that take months or even years to fully heal.
Tips For Staying Safe
As a pedestrian, you should never assume that drivers are going to do what they should. This is one of the biggest mistakes that accident victims make.
For example, let’s assume you’re crossing the street in a location where oncoming traffic has a stop sign. You shouldn’t assume that oncoming drivers will slow down and stop. They could be distracted, going too fast to slow down in time, etc.
A situation like this could easily result in serious injury. To better protect yourself, only cross busy streets in locations that are designated for pedestrians.
Not only will this help you stay safe, but you can also avoid getting a ticket for jaywalking. Finally, be sure to wear light-colored clothing when walking in dark areas.
Sometimes, drivers simply don’t see the pedestrian until it’s too late. You should never be in a situation where you are crossing a dark road while wearing all black, for example.
Avoid These Errors in Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits
Getting the compensation you deserve is only possible if you avoid the above errors in pedestrian accident lawsuits. This will help ensure that the situation resolves in your favor.
From here, you can work on getting your life back on track. Our blog has many other lifestyle articles that can help you make better decisions in the future. Be sure to check them out today!