Walking is our most basic form of travel. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly more risky. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, during the 10-year period from 2009 to 2018, the number of pedestrian fatalities has increased by 53%. A pleasant walk with your dog, an enjoyable shopping spree, standing at the bus stop to meet your child getting off the school bus, or just a satisfying stroll in the outdoors, can turn into a life-changing nightmare if you or a loved one is hit by a vehicle. If this happened to you because a driver has been negligent or willfully careless, you shouldn’t feel that you have to deal with all of the consequences by yourself. As an injury attorney will know, you have enough to worry about in trying to recover and get your life back to normal. A Decatur pedestrian accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve and that fairness requires.
Kinds of Pedestrian Injuries
Of course, a fatality isn’t the only possible outcome when a car, van, truck, or even a motorcycle hits or runs over a pedestrian. And, you don’t have to be out for a walk to be considered a pedestrian. For the purposes of accident personal injury law, an injury victim who was not in another motor vehicle at the time of the accident is considered a pedestrian — for example, cleaning the ice off your windshield, changing a tire, riding in a wheelchair, etc., would all qualify. And, when a pedestrian, under any circumstances, is struck by someone in any kind of vehicle, it’s usually the pedestrian who’s injured. The responsible and negligent driver usually walks away. They may not even stop — a hit and run. The pedestrian on the other hand, often suffers serious and life altering injuries, even when hit at slow speeds. These can include:
- deep cuts or lacerations
- muscle sprains or other soft tissue injuries, like severe bruising (contusions)
- broken bones or other severe orthopedic injuries like tendon ruptures
- dental or other facial injuries
- eye injuries and loss of vision
- internal bleeding or other organ damage
- head trauma, like concussions or more severe traumatic brain injury
- neck or spine injuries, including paralysis
- in the worst case, wrongful death
These injuries can lead to lifelong changes, including disfigurement, months or years of rehabilitation, and even permanent disability. You should have an experienced attorney in your corner to make sure that you get what you deserve for the injuries you’ve suffered.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Negligent and careless driving can take many forms, all equally dangerous when a pedestrian is struck:
- running red lights or stop signs
- failure to heed pedestrians in or stop at crosswalks
- making illegal turns or failing to signal
- speeding, especially when ignoring school zone signs
- distracted driving (for example, eating or texting while driving)
- driver fatigue, or falling asleep at the wheel
- drunk driving or drug impaired driving
- parking lot pedestrian injuries are common when a driver reverses without checking for them
- vehicle malfunctions, such as defective or bad maintenance of equipment like lights, brakes, tires, etc.
- reckless and aggressive driving, such as passing another car stopped at a crosswalk
- sadly, nowadays some pedestrians are are even deliberately and maliciously hit by vehicles.
A knowledgeable and experienced attorney, working for you as early as possible, will help you determine the responsible party and get just compensation for the negligence.
Pedestrian Accident FAQs
What should I do after a pedestrian accident?
The actions you take if you or a loved one was struck by a vehicle affect not just health, but also your ability to get fair compensation for the injuries. Some suggestions:
- Get all the medical care you need to get better. Get evaluated as soon as possible and follow the medical advice you’re given.
- Don’t let the fear of costs or the uncertainty about who will be responsible for payments prevent you from getting proper evaluation and treatment.
- Keep track of all the providers you see, so your attorney can accurately account for all of your medical expenses. This obviously includes ambulances, emergency rooms, hospitals, and physicians. But forget dentists, physical therapists, chiropractors, counselors or psychologists, visiting nurses, home health aides, etc. Keep receipts for things like prescriptions, and medical equipment like canes, crutches, braces, wheelchairs, etc.
- Keep track of all other economic losses and expenses resulting from the injuries: lost work or wages, and expenses for services you can’t do now, such as pet care, lawn care, household cleaning, etc.
- As soon as you can, write down as much as you can remember about the accident itself. Make notes of any conversations you had with people involved in the accident or with witnesses. Preserve any evidence, such as clothing and physical items present at the scene, and any photographs of the site or your injuries.
- Certainly report the accident to your car insurance agent promptly. But remember that insurance companies and adjusters have a goal to minimize any claim payments. Never admit any fault or give a written or recorded statement to any insurance provider without legal advice from your own attorney. That is the only one that will truly act in your best interests. Just report the basic facts about the accident – the who, where, and when. Let the details wait until you’ve consulted with your lawyer.
- A common mistake is to try to have all medical care billed primarily to the driver’s auto insurance company. In general, it’s best to provide your own health insurance information as the primary insurer and have them billed directly. This will usually result in a better recovery for your medical costs.
- But, don’t make the biggest mistake of all. Avoid the natural temptation to sign for a settlement quickly, but prematurely — before all injuries, damages, and losses have become apparent, and before eventual outcomes become clear. Insurance companies may quickly offer a sum of immediate cash to get you to sign a settlement to resolve the case. Consulting with an experienced personal-injury attorney will almost always result in negotiating a better settlement for you.
What kind of damages can be recovered?
A skilled personal injury attorney is critical to ensuring that you recover for all of the damages allowed under Illinois law. These include:
- the expense of any necessary medical care, treatment, or services you have received or are reasonably certain to need in the future
- the value of any wages, profits, earnings, or benefits you lost because of the accident or are likely to lose in the future
- if there is evidence that life expectancy has been shortened by the injuries, this has been recognized as a separate compensable damage
- the cost of caretaking expenses or other necessary help resulting from the injuries, now or in the future
- compensation for “loss of normal life”, things you can no longer do — any temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy your life, including the ability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life
- reimbursement for current or future disabilities resulting from the accident injuries
- compensation when the injury puts you at an increased risk of future harm
- disfigurement is recognized as a separate element of damages in Illinois when scarring or other kinds of disfiguring injuries occur.
- compensation for pain and suffering you experienced because of the injuries
- an award for emotional distress caused by the injury
- if, you lost a loved one, you’re entitled to compensation for the wrongful death caused by the responsible party.
What kinds of insurance coverage are there when a vehicle hits a pedestrian?
There are a number of possibilities, and I can help guide you through all of the options available for recovery from insurance companies. Some of the most likely sources of coverage include:
- You can probably recover from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance on their auto policy.
- You may have uninsured or under insured coverage (UM/UIM) on your own auto insurance policy that often provides coverage even when you weren’t driving in your car, but were injured by a car while walking or riding your bicycle
- You may have medical payments coverage (med pay) on your own auto policy that may provide coverage if you’re hit by another car while a pedestrian.
- If the at-fault driver was driving a work vehicle or operating a vehicle in the course of their job, you may be able to recover from their employer’s liability insurance
- If you’re struck as a pedestrian in the course of your work, you may be eligible to recover from your company’s workers compensation
But remember that any insurance company will try to minimize claim payments. Your best bet to get fair compensation is to let an experienced accident injury attorney represent your interests.
What can a Central Illinois pedestrian accident lawyer do for you?
You already know that dealing with the aftermath of a pedestrian accident is complicated, and you have already felt the stress caused by the disruptions in your life. Don’t deal with this by yourself. You have enough to do to make sure that everyone gets well and back to as normal a life as possible. We know the law and have the experience to deal with the insurance companies and all of the paperwork. We can carefully listen to you to evaluate your situation, gather the evidence, prove fault, collect all the documents to fully assess your damages and losses, build your case, make your claim, and work to successfully resolve it in your favor. We are often able to resolve these cases through negotiation, without the need to go to court.
How much will it cost to get representation by a legal professional?
We usually represent clients in these cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no charges to you upfront and we are only paid from the settlement if and when there is a successful recovery for you. That means that you can afford to get the representation you need now to go up against the insurance companies and their legal teams.
A Decatur Pedestrian Accident Attorney is Here to Help
Contact a Decatur pedestrian accident lawyer for a no obligation, free legal consultation. The sooner you reach out, the faster we can get to work for you, protect your interests, and let you focus on your recovery and getting your life back.