I Got Hit By a Car While Walking—What Are My Options?
A pedestrian hit by a car faces very serious injury risks.
Think about how much protection vehicles provide the people traveling inside—layers of fiberglass, metal, and plastic surround you, and safety features such as airbags, seatbelts, and crunch zones provide additional layers of security.
And even with all that protection, vehicle accidents still frequently leave car drivers and passengers with very serious or fatal injuries.
A pedestrian getting hit by a car has none of that protection. Recent New Jersey State Police statistics show that almost 200 pedestrians were hit by a car and killed in New Jersey in 2020.
You may be thinking, I got hit by a car while walking and was left with serious injuries, so what should I do? The first thing is that you should know your legal options.
I Got Hit By a Car. Can I Sue?
There is a good chance that you can sue if you were hit by a car. Negligent drivers cause the majority of pedestrian accidents. Drivers in New Jersey are expected to follow certain laws regarding pedestrians and exercise due care for any pedestrians. Examples of things drivers must do include:
- Stopping for pedestrians walking in crosswalks,
- Obeying speed limits,
- Taking extra precaution when turning right on red,
- Not blocking a crosswalk,
- Stopping behind a stopped school bus with the lights flashing; and
- Not trying to pass a vehicle stopped in a crosswalk.
In return, however, pedestrians must also take care to look out for their own safety when walking near a roadway.
Some laws apply to pedestrians. While drivers must be careful not to hit pedestrians while driving, the law also requires pedestrians to yield to drivers if they are not crossing a road at an intersection and to walk on sidewalks when they are available. If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians should walk along the extreme left side of the road, facing traffic. Drivers cannot be careless, and pedestrians must look out for themselves.
What Are My Legal Options If I Got Hit by a Car While Walking?
If you were hit by a car, your first option for compensation is to pursue compensation from the auto insurance company of the driver that hit you. However, your situation might also involve other defendants.
For instance, if an unsafe condition contributed to the accident, the property owner or municipality might also be a party to the lawsuit. Your pedestrian accident attorney will be able to tell you if any other parties share some degree of responsibility for your injuries.
Keep in mind that personal injury legal claims commonly settle outside of court before they go to trial. Or when they do go to trial, they often settle before the trial ends. Your attorney will investigate your claim and attempt to negotiate with the defendants to reach a fair settlement for your damages.
Litigation is very expensive and time-consuming, so a settlement agreement is usually the best option for all parties. Many people don’t want to—or can’t—wait to pay their bills, so the quicker the settlement, the better.
However, you also deserve fair compensation for your losses. If your attorney and the defendants cannot agree on a reasonable settlement amount, you have the option of going to trial, where a jury typically decides the outcome and the amount of your damages.
What Is the Average Pedestrian Accident Settlement?
There really is no such thing as an average settlement for getting hit by a car because of the fact-dependent nature of every accident. The damages involved depend mostly on the actual costs involved, also known as economic losses.
Economic costs can vary widely depending on the injuries involved and the person’s circumstances. Economic costs include things like your past and future medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and costs of any necessary home or car modifications because of your injuries. They are easily calculated because there are bills, pay stubs, or other documentation.
Non-economic losses are more subjective. These are intangible damages that don’t have a numerical value. Examples of non-economic damages are physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental distress.
Your legal options change depending on the amount of your damages. A drawn-out litigation process won’t make sense for someone whose damages would be less than the cost of the trial.
On the other hand, someone who’s suffered catastrophic injuries is not going to be made whole by a small settlement offer. Your attorney is the best resource to help you figure out how much your case is worth. They will be able to advise you what a good settlement would be, or if it would be a wise move to move forward with litigation depending on your potential compensation.
If I Was Hit by a Car While Walking, Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
It is essential to hire an attorney with experience handling pedestrian accidents if you were hit by a car. The people who hit you and their insurance companies, do not want to pay you for your injuries.
Every party you sue will likely have their own attorney to help them pay as little as possible on your claim. Insurance companies, in particular, have attorneys with plenty of experience handling claims like yours.
You just don’t have a fair chance of getting compensation for your damages without a knowledgeable attorney to represent your rights.
If You Were Hit By a Car, Contact O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble
If you or your loved one was a pedestrian injured in a vehicle accident, you must act quickly to begin your legal claim. Choosing your personal injury attorney is a crucial decision. The legal team of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble is familiar with the severe injuries that often result from pedestrian accidents.
We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We will represent you to the best of our abilities to obtain a fair settlement, and we are not afraid of litigation if necessary. Please contact us today to schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys to speak about your case.