New Jersey Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Pedestrians involved in vehicle accidents can face very serious, and often fatal, injuries. Someone’s body is simply no match for the weight and force of a moving vehicle. According to the New Jersey State Police 2020 Fatal Crash Report, there were 38,680 motor vehicle fatalities in the United States even though there were fewer people on the roads due to the pandemic. Of those fatalities, 587 occurred in New Jersey, with 179 being pedestrians. The National Highway and Safety Patrol estimated that in 2019, 76,000 pedestrians were injured across the nation.
If you suffered injuries as a pedestrian in a motor vehicle accident, you deserve compensation for your damages. A New Jersey pedestrian accident attorney can help you with your personal injury lawsuit. This is a short guide to pedestrian accident claims.
What Are Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
Pedestrians’ injuries in motor vehicle accidents are often very serious. A person’s body simply cannot withstand being hit by vehicles that weigh several thousand pounds or more. Basically, any kind of injury is possible, though some of them are more common than others.
Injuries to the Lower Extremities
In pedestrian accidents, a car will likely come into contact first with a person’s lower body as they are walking or standing. Lower body injuries can include anything from crushed bones or fractures to the legs and pelvis to torn ligaments and muscles.
Injuries to the Neck, Face, and Head
A pedestrian could possibly injure this area of the body if they hit the hood of the car and the windshield. Or they could be tossed and smack their head on the pavement. Common head and neck injuries include gashes to the skull, jaw or other facial bone fractures, and lacerations.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Spinal Cord Injuries
It is very easy for a pedestrian to injure their spinal cord during an accident. Spinal cord injuries include slipped discs, damaged vertebrae, and severed spinal cords. Severe injuries to the spinal cord can cause partial or complete paralysis.
Any severe head trauma can lead to a concussion for the person. Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries, happen when the brain suffers a jolt after a head collision. Concussions can cause long-term adverse health effects. Severe traumatic brain injuries can be fatal.
How Long Do I Have to File?
Every state has a statute of limitations that tells you how long you have after a pedestrian accident to file your personal injury claim against the negligent party. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations is two years. That means that an injured pedestrian has two years from the date of the accident to begin their legal claim.
If you don’t file suit within the limitations period, it is very likely that you will recover nothing, especially if the insurance company is being hesitant in negotiations. And just because you file suit doesn’t mean that negotiations stop and your case is headed to court. Filing just preserves your right to take your case to court; it doesn’t stop the settlement process. But you should contact a New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. The less time that passes after your accident, the better your chances of a successful outcome in your lawsuit.
Who Do I Sue?
There can be more than one defendant involved in a pedestrian accident case. Who you would sue for compensation depends on the facts of your accident. Your pedestrian accident attorney will investigate the matter to determine all of the parties that might be liable for your injuries and other damages. Some possible defendants include:
- Any motor vehicle driver whose negligence contributed to the accident;
- The vehicle manufacturer, if the accident happened because of a defect, for example, improperly designed or manufactured brakes that fail;
- A negligent mechanic, if a crucial vehicle repair was not done properly;
- The negligent driver’s employer, if it was a commercial vehicle or bus; or
- A rideshare company, for example, Lyft or Uber.
More often than not, personal injury claims go through the other parties’ insurance companies.
They are also more likely to settle outside of court, as litigation is not always the smartest option.
What Compensation Can I Get After a New Jersey Pedestrian Accident?
The value of a pedestrian accident lawsuit depends upon the facts. There is no such thing as an average pedestrian accident settlement amount.
Having said that, there are two broad categories of damages that compensation fall under.
Economic losses are actual costs related to the accident. They include past and future medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. Generally, they are easily estimated because they are provable by bills and other documentation.
Non-economic losses don’t have a numerical value. They include compensation for physical pain and suffering, mental distress, and emotional trauma. The value of non-economic damages depends on a variety of factors, such as the victim’s age, health, and lifestyle. Personal injuries lawyers are skilled at calculating this type of damages.
Modified Comparative Fault
Pedestrian accidents are more likely to be caused by negligent drivers than by the pedestrians themselves. Drivers must be careful not to hit pedestrians, and they must be especially aware around areas of high foot traffic such as crosswalks or near elementary schools. However, pedestrians must also take care to look out for their own safety when they are walking near areas meant for cars, such as roadways and parking lots.
New Jersey follows a modified comparative negligence scheme regarding fault in accidents. The insurance company or the court will figure out how much each party was at fault in the accident, based upon the facts. Plaintiffs in New Jersey personal injury claims cannot recover compensation if they are more than 50% at fault for the accidents.
Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Though you do not necessarily need an attorney to deal with the insurance companies, it is not smart to proceed without one. The defendants’ attorneys and insurance companies will have plenty of experience in dealing with accident claims like yours. They want to pay you as little as possible to make your claim go away. You need a skilled pedestrian accident attorney in your corner to ensure that these parties do not take advantage of you. It would be almost impossible to receive fair compensation on your own.
Your attorney will deal directly with the insurance company, defendants, and other attorneys on your behalf. They will protect you from making statements to these parties which could jeopardize your claim. They will investigate your accident and help you figure out a fair value for your damages. If they are unable to negotiate a fair settlement that compensates you for your losses, your attorney will litigate your claim in court.
If You Were Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in New Jersey, Contact O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble
We understand how overwhelming the legal system can be. Our staff and experienced personal injury attorneys are prepared to fight to get you fair compensation for your injuries. We handle all personal injury cases, including commercial truck accidents, car accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Our firm has a stellar record of success. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your pedestrian accident claim.