Frequent Legal Questions: Pedestrian Accidents
Injury victims need accurate information on how to pursue their accident claim. If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you may have a lot of questions. Below are some of the initial questions that many of our clients have when they first contact Davis Law Group. The questions below may address some of your initial concerns.
If you don't find the answers to your questions here, feel free to contact us at any time to speak with someone about your case. There is no obligation in setting up a free consultation with our attorneys.
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How Do I Find The Right Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been involved in a serious accident as a pedestrian, the injuries you’ve suffered are likely severe and life-changing. If the accident was someone else’s fault – for example, a speeding or distracted driver hit you while in a crosswalk – you may be entitled to money.
If the above applies to you, it’s a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney to fight for you. But how do you know what you’re looking for, and will the attorney have your best interests in mind throughout the process? Answering these questions requires doing your due diligence and making an informed decision.
Here are some tips for finding the right pedestrian accident attorney to represent you.
1. Start looking for an attorney ASAP: Once your well-being is secured and you’re able to process the magnitude of the situation, it’s a good idea for you or someone you love to begin looking for an attorney. The sooner your attorney can open your case and evaluate evidence and interview witnesses, the better.
2. Consult with several attorneys before making a choice: While it’s important to begin the process quickly, don’t rush out and hire the firm personal injury lawyer you find. This decision may be one of the biggest of your life, and you want to make sure you hire the right attorney for your case.
3. Find out how many cases like yours the attorney has handled: When consulting with potential attorneys, look at their track record when handling cases such as yours. There are huge differences in the knowledge needed to handle different types of accidents, and an attorney’s ability in one area might not translate to what you need most. Also, look at how many cases like yours the attorney has taken to trial (and did they win). The right attorney shouldn’t be afraid to take a case to trial.
4. Look at the attorney’s online reviews: Google and Facebook are two good places to look for this. An attorney’s past clients should give you an idea of what you would be getting.
5. See what kind of resources you attorney has: Pedestrian accidents can be complex and take years to settle. Your attorney should have the financial resources to hire experts, take depositions and invest in your case. The right attorney will see your case through to the end to secure you the best possible result.
Contact An Attorney After A Pedestrian Accident
If you have been injured as a pedestrian in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. The Washington State pedestrian accident attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., are available today to speak to you about your pedestrian accident. Call us at (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, over 76,000 people are injured in pedestrian accidents every year. Many of those accidents are due to negligent or illegal behavior by drivers.
Unfortunately, many of pedestrians injured in traffic accidents are unaware of their rights and do not seek settlements for medical costs, lost income and other costs. Pedestrians have rights, and if you’ve been injured, you might be entitled to a settlement.
Some people are hesitant to hire a pedestrian accident attorney because they believe it is too costly. With mounting medical bills and your own recovery to worry about, you may think hiring a lawyer is just another cost. What you may not know is that pedestrian accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay anything until a settlement is reached.
You don't pay your attorney unless they win your case. A contingency fee lawyer requires no payment until they obtain a favorable verdict or settlement. This arrangement is best for pedestrians who were injured or families who lost loved ones in accidents. You don't have to be rich or go into debt to hire a highly skilled legal professional.
Seeking a settlement from a negligent driver that hit you is difficult without legal assistance. It can be a challenging and ineffective process if you choose to handle your own case, not to mention you might be forfeiting thousands of dollars in the process. Research has shown that accident victims that hire a lawyer receive on average 3.5 times more in settlements than those who handle the case themselves.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a pedestrian in Washington State, contact attorney Chris Davis and the experienced legal staff at Davis Law Group, P.S., today. Call (206) 727-4000. You can also use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page. Your personal injury case evaluation is free and confidential.
How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After A Pedestrian Accident?
Even at low speeds, accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles can be serious and life-altering. The victims of these accidents are often left with many questions, and the lawyers at Seattle-based Davis Law Group, P.S., usually hear, “How will my medical bills be paid?”
The answer to that question is usually complex and sometimes confusing. Hiring the right personal injury attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of pedestrian accidents can help you figure it out.
In general, there are four primary ways a pedestrian who has been hit by a car can get their medical treatment paid for.
- The driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage
- Your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage
- Your health insurance
- Medical treatment on lien
The Driver’s PIP Coverage
If you’re hit by a driver in Washington State, they have a responsibility to pay your medical bills with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage is regardless of fault, meaning if your medical treatment is reasonable, necessary and accident related, PIP will cover it.
Your PIP Coverage
If the driver who hit you doesn’t have PIP coverage – Washington State requires insurance companies to offer PIP coverage, and if you choose to reject it, it must be done so in writing – your own PIP coverage becomes primary. Again, if your medical treatment is reasonable, necessary and accident related, PIP will cover it.
Even if you can use PIP insurance to cover your medical bills, you should still use your health insurance. The main disadvantage with health insurance is you are still required to pay copays and deductibles for your treatment, and are sometimes limited to in-network providers.
Treatment On Lien
If there is no PIP insurance or health insurance available, pedestrian accident victims can usually find a provider that will treat them on lien. This means there is a lien (claim) on the total settlement. Sometimes providers require a letter of protection – basically a guarantee – from an attorney that they will receive payment upon resolution of the case. While not the best option, this still allows for victims to receive treatment.
Hire An Attorney After A Pedestrian Accident
If you have been injured by a motor vehicle while crossing the street, walking on the sidewalk, or acting in any other pedestrian setting, it is important that you contact an experienced Washington State pedestrian accident attorney for assistance in filing a claim and seeking the compensation you deserve.
The right pedestrian accident lawyer can help by compiling the evidence necessary and by negotiating with insurance to reach a proper settlement amount. To learn more or discuss your case, contact Davis Law Group and schedule a case evaluation. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page today.
What Are The Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Most pedestrian accidents could be prevented if drivers paid more attention to the road. In many cases, drivers may not even realize that pedestrians have the right of way, and that motor vehicles need to yield to people in crosswalks and high-traffic areas.
Pedestrians may also be able to prevent some accidents by wearing reflective clothing, using only marked crossings, and paying close attention to their surroundings. Unfortunately, no matter how attentive a pedestrian is, they may not be able to get out of the way of a speeding car in time.
Some of the most common causes of pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accidents are:
Inattention: The driver failed to check for a pedestrian before driving through an area, even if it was clear from signage, lights, and road markings that a pedestrian might be there. Increasingly, pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accidents are being caused by drivers who took their eyes off the road to play with their phones, talk to their passengers, or use their GPS devices.
Unmarked Crosswalks: A large percentage of pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. It’s only natural that pedestrians need to cross the street—but when they have to navigate without clear crosswalk markings and signals, tragedy is often the result. Pedestrians may be able to mitigate some risks by crossing at a marked crosswalk if one is available nearby. However, drivers should still watch out for pedestrians as they pass through intersections, even if they don’t see a clearly marked crosswalk.
Left-Hand Turns: When a driver is turning left, they must pay close attention to oncoming traffic. While a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection with the signal, they usually look straight ahead, not to their side. All too often, that means a driver turning left accelerates straight into a pedestrian. To prevent this, drivers need to make sure that the area they are turning into is clear, and pedestrians should look to the side to make sure no one is turning left. In areas with a high rate of pedestrian casualties, experts recommend switching alternating crossing lights out for four-way “pedestrian scrambles.” This alternate traffic signal pattern shuts down all motor vehicle traffic in an intersection, allowing pedestrians to cross the street in any direction, including diagonally.
Right On Red: Many motorists who are turning right at a red light don’t fully stop and check their surroundings. They come to a rolling stop, glance toward oncoming traffic to make sure they have enough space to pull out, and accelerate. This maneuver often means that drivers cut off or slam into pedestrians who are trying to cross in front of their vehicles.
Dark Clothing: Unfortunately, many intersections aren’t well lit after dark. Walkers and bikers in black, grey, dark brown, or dark blue clothing may be difficult to see against the black surface of an asphalt road at night. In Washington state, many pedestrian accidents could be avoided if pedestrians were more easily visible to drivers. If you plan to go walking late at night, it’s a good idea to choose bright colors and reflective outfits. If you’re frequently travelling as a pedestrian after dark, it may be time to invest in a reflective vest, a wearable flashing light, or reflective strips for your jacket.
Is there a rule about walking in a crosswalk with a flashing red hand and the seconds ticking down?
Once the "don't walk" symbol begins to flash, it is no longer lawful to leave the curb and begin crossing. After the flashing "don't walk," a solid "don't walk" is displayed on the signal at the same time the traffic signal turns amber for vehicles. The transportation department figures the amber light should be long enough for vehicles to clear the intersection, or for motorists to complete a turn without competing with pedestrians in a crosswalk.
What sorts of damages should a settlement for a pedestrian or crosswalk accident cover?
The costs of a pedestrian accident can be huge. A settlement can help a victim cover medical bills, lost income, lost benefits, lost future earning power, and rehabilitation costs. In addition, the settlement is meant to compensate for some of the pain and suffering the crosswalk or pedestrian accident has caused.
Why are pedestrian accidents and fatalities increasing?
According to analysts, pedestrian deaths rose an estimated 10 percent in 2015 over the previous year. The study was based on state traffic fatality data from the first half of 2015; if the trends they discovered held steady in the second half of the year, 2015 would make the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian deaths since the current federal system for monitoring traffic deaths was created in 1975.
But why are pedestrian deaths rising? Analysts pointed to a variety of factors that are putting more pedestrians and drivers on the road.
Lower gas prices and unemployment mean more miles driven
Among other factors, analysts pointed to the fact that people who may have chosen to take public transit or stay at home in previous years are now back behind the wheel.
Gas prices plummeted in 2015, making driving a significantly more affordable activity than it has been in recent years. The average price of a gallon of gasoline rose to $4.50 in 2008 and hovered in the $3.50-$4.00 range in recent years, but plunged below $3.00 in 2015 and may fall well below $2.00 in 2016.
Since the economy made a significant recovery in 2015, people who might otherwise have stayed at home are commuting again, and people who may not have been able to afford cars in previous years bought vehicles in 2015. Consumer confidence rose in 2015, and confidence in the economy often translates into sales of new vehicles. Car sales surged in 2015, and May of 2015 saw the strongest monthly pace in car sales since July 2005. Pickups, SUVs, and crossover vehicles were popular picks due to low gas prices. These large vehicles are known to be more deadly for pedestrians, since they have far more mass, and their high, blunt hoods are more likely to strike a pedestrian’s head (an often fatal injury) than their legs (a dangerous but far more survivable impact).
More people are walking
Warm weather and unusually short winters across North America may have resulted in more people getting out of their cars and walking on days when they might otherwise have driven. After several years of brutal, snowy winters, the American Northeast experienced record-breaking highs during the winter months. Even Alaska reported a warmer winter than average.
Smart phones are winning out
While cell phones have been around for a while, smart phone ownership rose significantly in 2015. While total cell phone ownership only rose 2 percentage points from 2014 to 2015, smart phone ownership jumped 4 percentage points in the same time frame. A whopping 68% of American adults owned a smart phone as of July 2015. That means that the majority of American drivers now have a potentially distracting device on or near their person when they’re behind the wheel.
Can a pedestrian accident victim still make a claim when crossing the street without a crosswalk?
In some cases, yes. There are laws that govern pedestrian accidents that occur outside of a crosswalk. Of course, if you were crossing a street without the help of signals or a crosswalk, an insurance provider may attempt to discredit your claims.
What are my responsibilities as a pedestrian? What if I am involved in a pedestrian accident?
As a pedestrian, you have a duty to obey all traffic and pedestrian signals and signs. If you do not follow the law, you can be cited for jaywalking. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident with a motor vehicle you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the driver of the motor vehicle even if you are partially responsible for your pedestrian accident.