How Much Compensation for You Get for a Pedestrian Accident?
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents and deaths are on the rise in the United States. In 2022, more than 7,508 pedestrians were struck and killed by drivers. This is the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1981, amounting to 20 deaths per day.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re entitled to receive fair compensation for your injuries and trauma.
Fortunately, hiring a pedestrian accident attorney can help you fight toe-to-toe with powerful insurance companies for the damages you deserve. However, before you hire a lawyer, you may be wondering how much compensation you may receive for your accident.
In this guide, we’ll provide the information you need to figure out this answer for yourself and hire a reputable lawyer.
The Dangers of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents in Orange County are significantly more dangerous than standard vehicular collisions. While car and truck accidents have deadly instances, pedestrians don’t have any protection if they’re struck by heavy vehicles traveling at high speeds.
As a result, pedestrian accidents result in painful and life-threatening injuries. In some cases, pedestrian accidents can cause permanent medical complications. The most common pedestrian accident injuries are:
- Ligament and muscle trauma
- Broken bones
- Pelvis fractures
- Vertebrae, skull, jaw, and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Dealing with any of these injuries requires a long and difficult recovery process, resulting in expensive medical and rehabilitation bills. In addition, victims may lose substantial time at work, leaving them without any way to pay their debts.
Being a victim in a pedestrian accident is a traumatic experience. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident to no fault of your own, you shouldn’t be responsible for handling these consequences alone.
Hiring a lawyer and filing a pedestrian accident claim will put you in the best position to collect damages to satisfy your financial responsibilities.
What Factors Affect a Settlement’s Value?
There are a wide range of factors that will affect the value of your possible settlement. These primary factors that will influence a settlement’s value include:
- Insurance coverage
- Fault and liability
- Severity of injuries
- Law firm reputation
- Risk tolerance
Let’s explain each factor below.
One overlooked factor that influences a settlement’s value is the other driver’s insurance coverage. When you purchase a car insurance policy, it is designed to cover the damages of the other driver if you’re at fault.
This means that if you’re struck by an oncoming driver, your insurance company may be required to pay your damages. However, the extent of this payment is based on your coverage amount.
For example, if you purchased a car insurance policy with $250,000, your insurance company will pay up to this amount if you’re liable for a car accident.
If your injuries warrant a settlement higher than the other driver’s coverage amount, you may need to file a lawsuit against the driver’s personal assets. This is especially true if the other driver didn’t have car insurance in a pedestrian accident.
Ultimately, you can’t control the level of car insurance someone else has. Nonetheless, their coverage amount will impact how you can collect your total settlement.
Fault and Liability
It’s important to point out that California is an at-fault state. This means that a person responsible for causing a car accident can be required to pay damages to the victims.
As a result, insurance companies and attorneys are highly invested in proving who is truly at fault for car accidents. If you can successfully prove that the other driver was completely at fault for your accident, their insurance company will negotiate a settlement with you.
However, California also upholds a comparative fault system. This means that two parties can receive a percentage of the fault for a car accident.
For example, if a driver ran a stop sign and hit a pedestrian legally passing a crosswalk, they may be assigned 100% fault for the accident. However, if a driver ran a stop sign and hit a driver illegally passing a crosswalk, both may share fault in the accident.
As a result, the fault you share in a pedestrian accident (if any) can affect your ability to collect a settlement offer.
Severity of Injuries
The extent of your injuries will directly impact the settlement you receive from an insurance company. For example, if you get a broken arm after a pedestrian accident, you may receive far less than someone who is diagnosed with a TBI.
The severity of your injuries can be legally classified as both tangible and intangible. For example, broken bones and lacerations count as tangible injuries.
Pain and suffering are classified as intangible injuries. Depression, pain, anguish, and other mental disorders all count as pain and suffering, which can drive up the value of a potential settlement offer.
The old adage, “You get what you pay for” applies to the lawyer you hire to represent you. Insurance companies are armed to the teeth with experienced attorneys.
If an insurance company’s attorney team sees weakness in your lawyer, they won’t hesitate to avoid meaningful settlement talks and even take your case to trial. However, if you hire a reputable pedestrian accident attorney, you can level the playing field.
Successful lawyers are able to negotiate effectively on your behalf and keep deliberations honest.
Risk tolerance refers to the injured party’s ability to turn down a settlement to pursue a verdict. This happens if you’re not satisfied with a settlement offer and pursue legal proceedings.
If you don’t hire an attorney, you will likely have a lower risk tolerance than someone who has a lawyer. A person suffering from painful injuries may want to settle quickly with an insurance company if they don’t have a lawyer present.
For them, their medical bills and lost wages are piling up and they need immediate relief. Often, they don’t want to take the chance of receiving anything at all, especially if the insurance company threatens to pull the settlement.
When you hire a great attorney, an insurance company will take your claims seriously. They won’t be too eager to force you to settle and will have to consider their own expenses for going to court.
Most pedestrian accident attorneys don’t charge their clients a dime unless they win. On the other hand, insurance companies have to pay their lawyers by the hour and per court appearance.
If you are serious about getting fair compensation and have a solid claim, an insurance company is likely to settle to save money and avoid paying a much higher settlement if they lose in court.
How to Maximize Your Potential Settlement Offer
You can play a role in determining the value of your settlement offer. This will depend on several factors and strategies, which we will explain below.
Get Medical Attention
In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, you should immediately go to the hospital to receive medical attention. When your doctor gives a diagnosis, make sure to follow their treatment directions closely.
Your diagnosis, treatment, and level of care will be added to your medical report. This medical report can be referenced later to prove the extent of your injuries.
One of the most common strategies of the opponent law firm is to undermine your injuries and discredit your claim. If you are proactive in seeking medical attention, your medical report can be used as irrefutable evidence to reinforce your claim.
Hire a Lawyer
Insurance companies spend a lot of money on annual legal fees. These lawyers are prepared to represent their clients at the settlement table and in court. There isn’t anything their attorneys would love than you fighting them yourself.
If you’re serious about receiving fair compensation for your injuries, you should hire a lawyer right away. Here are some reasons why:
- Almost all car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win. It costs you little to nothing to hire a lawyer, which means you have nothing to lose.
- The insurance company of the other driver is bound to contact you after the accident. Speaking to them can cause self-incrimination on your part and your words could be against you if you pursue a claim. Hiring a lawyer makes sure this doesn’t happen.
- Hiring an attorney increases your chances of getting a cash settlement. Generally speaking, when you hire a lawyer, it shows an insurance company you aren’t messing around.
To maximize your chances of filing a successful pedestrian accident claim, you should hire a proven lawyer to represent you.
Evidence will drive the outcome of your claim, at both the settlement table and in court. In civil cases, the plaintiff (the injured party) must meet the preponderance of evidence to submit a successful claim.
To put it simply, you must establish a burden of proof that shows there is greater than a 50% chance that your claim is true. This only happens if you have evidence to back your claim.
There are many ways you can collect evidence to back up your claim. The most common kinds of evidence are:
- Photos and Videos: If possible, you should take pictures of the scene of the accident, the wreckage, and your clothes. Photos will usually show how severe the accident is. Your lawyer can also help you collect video footage from traffic cameras if they’re nearby and operational.
- Police Reports: When police officers are called to the scene, they will interview the victims and any witnesses and create a report. Your lawyer can request a copy of a police report to support your claim.
- Medical Reports: Your medical report is put together by your doctor and will contain your recent injuries and level of treatment. Having a medical report makes it difficult for an insurance company to refute your claim.
- Witness Statements: If anyone witnesses a pedestrian accident, they may be called to give a statement or testimony.
- Expert Testimony: Your doctor or another expert can provide testimony to prove the basis of your claim.
If you can gain enough evidence to meet your burden of proof, the insurance company will likely move to settle out of court.
Pursue the Highest Settlement Possible
Getting to the settlement table with an insurance company is only half the battle. The other half is negotiating with them to determine a fair settlement that covers your past, present, and future damages.
Many insurance companies want to get a settlement done as quickly as possible. This way, they can lowball you with a nuisance value settlement offer and avoid going to court.
Any lawyer worth their salt will see through this tactic and make sure they stand firm on a reasonable settlement. The best lawyers don’t mind going to court if it means they can collect a fair settlement on your behalf.
Insurance companies know this, and if you hire a highly qualified lawyer, it’s likely they’ll give in to your demands.
Contact Bentley & More LLP to Schedule a Free Consultation
Overall, the amount of compensation you can receive for a pedestrian accident will depend on a variety of factors. One of the factors you can control is the lawyer you choose to represent you.
If you’re ready to file your claim and hire one of the best personal injury lawyers in Southern California, give us a call today at (949) 870-3800. You can also contact us today to schedule a free consultation.