Pedestrian deaths have increased in the US in recent years. According to the latest Governors Highway Safety Association report (GHSA), pedestrian deaths totaled about 6,000 in 2017. Several thousand pedestrians get injured due to vehicle accidents.
Injuries sustained in an auto accident can be serious. Pedestrians who suffer due to the negligence of a driver are entitled to a financial compensation.
In case you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you should immediately contact an experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyer. In this blog, you will learn important information regarding pedestrian accident cases.
About the Duty to Care
Drivers and pedestrians both have the duty to take reasonable care to avoid accidents. Failure to take care will result in negligence. Some of the actions that contribute to the negligence of the driver include the following.
· Distracted driving
· Failing to yield at crosswalks
· Failing to signal when making a turn
· Disobeying traffic signals
· Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
· Not obeying the traffic light
· Not regarding traffic or weather conditions
Drivers have a special duty to care for children. This is because children are at the greatest risk of being run over by a vehicle. Children can be unpredictable. Also, since they are small they have less visibility. That's why the law requires a greater duty to care in the presence of children. For example, a driver is required to slow down when driving near a playground, schools, parks, or residential areas.
Apart from the driver, pedestrians also have a duty to care. They have to take reasonable care for their own safety. In case a pedestrian does not take due care when crossing the street, it may result in contributory negligence. This means that the pedestrian has contributed to the accident. As a result, the compensatory amount will be reduced. Some of the cases of contributory negligence include ignoring the green signal, entering into a busy traffic, darting in front of a car, and not using the crosswalk.
Pedestrian Accident- Misdemeanor or Felony?
A pedestrian accident can be considered as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the extent of the damage. Generally, injury in a pedestrian accident, caused by a driver's failure to fulfill duty to care, results in a misdemeanor charge.
However, if the accident results in a death of a person, it can result in a felony charge. Also, repeated drunk or reckless driving offenses can result in a felony charge. In case of a third drinking under the influence (DUI) offense, the driver will be charged with a felony even if no injury or property damage has occurred. A felony charge will increase the chances of a positive case outcome for the plaintiff or the injured pedestrian.
Factors that Affect the Outcome of a Pedestrian Accident Case
Various factors affect a pedestrian accident case. Some of the factors that can affect a pedestrian accident case include the following:
· The seriousness of the injuries - Serious injuries tend to have larger settlements.
· Lost Income - Lost wages due to injuries also affect the outcome of the settlement amount.
· Medical costs - The duration and cost of medical treatment also affect the pedestrian accident outcome. Less weight is attached to treatment by non-physicians such as acupuncturists, chiropractors.
· Temporary or permanent injury - Whether the injury was temporary or permanent also affect the pedestrian accident case. Permanent or long-term injuries typically fetch higher settlements.
· Impact on daily activities - The impact of daily activities will also affect a pedestrian accident case. If the injury has resulted in difficulty in performing routine tasks, it can increase the likelihood of a higher settlement amount.
· Emotional pain - The emotional pain associated with the injury also affects the case. However, negotiating for non-physical costs is not easy. It requires the services of an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.
· Lost opportunities - If the injured person had a job or study offer that was rejected due to the injury, it could affect the settlement amount. If the injury prevents the injured person from earning a living, it can also jack up the settlement amount.
· Fault of pedestrian - In case the pedestrian was partly responsible for the accident, the settlement outcome will be reduced.
When You Should Take the Case to Court?
Keep in mind that there are some instances in which it's not feasible to take a pedestrian accident case to the court. The first course of action is to try to come to a settlement with the driver's insurance company. If the settlement offer is adequate, it's better to accept the offer.
But how do you know whether the settlement offer is adequate?
A settlement offer is adequate when it covers the financial, emotional, and physical hardships due to the injury. Calculating the financial cost of injury is easy. You just add the medical expenses and lost wages due to the injury. But calculating non-financial costs is not that easy. You should get the help of an experienced attorney to know whether the settlement offer made by the insurance company is adequate.
An experienced attorney will use per diem method or a multiplier method to calculate the settlement amount.
In case the settlement amount is not adequate, the attorney will recommend taking the case to the court. To provide negligence of the driver, the attorney will assess different pieces of evidence. The attorney will interview witnesses, look at CCTV footage of accident (if available), review medical reports, salary slip, and other evidence to establish the negligence of the at-fault driver.
At Christopher Jackson Law, we have a team of experienced legal experts who can help you in your pedestrian accident case. We specialize in pedestrian accident cases in Kentucky. Our legal professionals will guide you on how to go through the steps required for filing a case in the local court.
If you reside in Kentucky, and you have any questions regarding the pedestrian accident case, you can contact us today for a free, initial consultation.