Pedestrian accidents claim the lives of many adults and children each year and result in devastating injuries such as spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and head injuries, to name just a few. Victims who have been hit by a car may often be confused and insurance companies are often quick to try to settle for a small sum very early on to prevent larger claims. Victims of pedestrian accidents may have these questions when making legal decisions:
1) Can a victim still make a claim when crossing without a crosswalk?
Answer: Yes. There are laws that govern pedestrian accidents such as these. Of course, if you were crossing a street without the help of signals or a crosswalk, an insurance provider may want to discredit your claims. If you have suffered an injury, you need to speak with a qualified attorney who can represent your case. A good attorney will be able to get you compensation for lost income and medical bills in this situation in many cases.
2) When should a victim accept a settlement?
Answer: It is important not to accept any settlement until any medical injuries have been examined by a qualified doctor and have been resolved and you have spoken with an attorney. If you are offered a settlement, it is tempting to accept the offer right away, but by doing so you may not get all the money you need to pay for medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. It can take weeks or even months to get a good sense of the extent of your injuries and therefore the costs you may incur from an accident.
If you accept a settlement before speaking with a qualified attorney, you will most likely not get all the money you are entitled to under the law. A good attorney can carefully consider your case and ensure that you have adequate compensation to cover all the complex costs associated with the accident. Keep in mind, too, that most insurance companies will automatically offer a very low settlement amount to anyone who is not represented. Speaking with an attorney costs nothing and at least ensures that you have all the legal information you need to make an informed decision about your settlement.
3) What sorts of damages should a settlement for a pedestrian accident cover?
Answer: The costs of a pedestrian accident can be immense for a victim, and a settlement is meant to cover some of these costs. 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 accident has caused.
4) What should a victim do if approached with a settlement by an insurance company?
Answer: In many cases, an insurance company will approach a victim and offer a settlement. Often, this settlement is offered quite quickly after an accident, when the victim is frightened and worried by medical costs. It is not a good idea to accept the first offer made, however, even if it appears generous. Soon after an accident, it may be hard to estimate the full cost of medical expenses and damages. The settlement may be far less than is needed for a victim to recover fully.
If you are approached by an insurance company after an accident, the proper response is to thank the insurance company and to retain any written information about the settlement offer but to ask for some time to review the offer. In many cases, the insurance company may place pressure on you to sign or may tell you that the offer is only valid now. Do not believe this. Even if you do not sign right away, you can still get a settlement – and often a much fairer settlement than you are pressured to accept. A good policy is not to sign anything and to get in touch with a qualified attorney who can advise you on your course of action.