Many injuries suffered by pedestrians in car accidents involve serious medical expenses. In some states, a person struck by a vehicle can file an insurance claim against the driver to recover compensation.
What Is Liability?
Liability is the legal responsibility to pay for injuries caused by an accident. Courts determine liability by applying one or more negligence rules (carelessness). For example, if someone sustains severe spinal trauma in a pedestrian accident due to a car driver’s distracted driving, that person could pursue compensation from the vehicle driver through the driver’s no-fault insurance. Similarly, if a pedestrian is injured from a poorly maintained or lit roadway, they could claim local governments or state agencies.
Business owners frequently take out liability insurance to insulate themselves against legal risk if a public member injures themselves. A company’s liabilities may be current or non-current, depending on the situation. The former includes short-term financial obligations expected to be paid within a year. The latter includes long-term debts and contingent liabilities. These are based on future events and depend on the outcome of a lawsuit.
How Do I Know Who Is Liable?
Pedestrians are susceptible to severe and debilitating injuries in collisions with motor vehicles. They cannot control how drivers operate their cars without learning pedestrian rights and duties to help reduce their risks. Consequently, they often sustain catastrophic injuries that leave them with enormous medical bills and significant expenses.
In some states, pedestrians may qualify for personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover immediate medical costs following a crash. PIP acts like a health insurance policy with no co-payments or deductibles. Most hospitals, emergency rooms, orthopedists, and rehabilitation centers accept PIP insurance claims.
However, disabling injuries expected to last over one year require long-term disability coverage, typically available from employers. Ultimately, claimants must work with an experienced lawyer to identify all liable parties who will cover the medical expenses. This enables them to pursue compensation to pay these costs. Moreover, they can file a negligence lawsuit against the responsible party if they do not receive sufficient settlement offers.
Who Pays for Medical Expenses in a Pedestrian Accident?
Medications, hospital visits, and other medical costs can pile up quickly for pedestrians injured in car accidents. These expenses can be overwhelming for families primarily focused on their loved ones’ immediate healthcare needs. Many injured in pedestrian-car accidents are unaware they can claim compensation for medical expenses and non-economic losses like pain and suffering. The most important step is to speak with an experienced lawyer before speaking with anyone else’s insurance company.
In addition to PIP insurance coverage, you might be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills from the at-fault driver. It’s also important to note that private health insurance policies often include “priority liens” on settlements or judgments, requesting a percentage of your financial recovery before paying the rest. This can significantly reduce the amount of money you might be able to recover from a liability claim.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
Pedestrians must obey traffic laws, be aware of their surroundings, and use crosswalks. Drivers should slow down in residential neighborhoods, be mindful of pedestrians, and never drive while drunk. Drivers should also know about blind spots and check mirrors before backing up a vehicle.
If a driver injures a pedestrian while driving, their car insurance should cover the injured person’s medical expenses and other losses. In other states, where car insurers are required to offer PIP coverage for pedestrians injured in crashes, this should be the case even if the driver was found to be at fault.
However, proving that the defendant breached a duty of care and caused injury will require a thorough investigation of the accident scene, the evidence presented in police reports, witness testimony, and other relevant information. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help. In some cases, multiple parties may be at fault, and recovery depends on each party’s percentage of liability under comparative negligence rules.