How Long Do Pedestrian Accident Claims Take to Settle?
A pedestrian accident is disconcerting, disruptive, and life-altering for the victim involved. Such an incident can catapult an individual on a walk into a cyclone of legal and medical challenges. The legal process following an injury sustained in a pedestrian accident often entails filing a pedestrian accident claim—a procedure many find bewildering and time-consuming.
By exploring the intricacies of pedestrian accidents, the necessary steps to take after an accident, and the detailed process of filing a claim, you can prepare for what may lie ahead and set realistic expectations for how long your claim may take to resolve. Your claim, however, will proceed more efficiently and result in more compensation if you hire a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer to handle it for you.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
The root causes of such accidents often involve the negligence of one or multiple motorists. Negligent behaviors a driver may exhibit or engage in during the accident may include distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, failure to yield, or driving under the influence. Inadequate street lighting, lack of pedestrian signage, or defective car parts can also play a role in these unfortunate incidents.
A pedestrian accident lawyer can look at the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the accident to identify any potential liability of another actor beyond the at-fault driver.
Proving liability in a pedestrian accident case is vital to pursue compensation against the parties responsible. Most people file a claim against the driver who caused the accident and their insurer. There may, however, be others you can hold liable to compensate for your losses, such as other parties involved in the collision or those responsible for outside elements that contributed to the accident.
The Potential Effects of Pedestrian Accidents on Victims
The physical and emotional toll on victims from a pedestrian accident is often substantial. Injuries from a strike from a car can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe or catastrophic injuries, such as broken bones, spinal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. In serious accidents, the victim may suffer fatal injuries from the excessive force and devastation of the collision.
In addition to physical injury, victims of pedestrian crashes frequently suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. The trauma arising from the accident and the extensive and painful recovery of the resulting injuries can linger for a long time, significantly diminishing the victim’s quality of life and freedom to resume enjoying their life.
Pedestrian accidents also have profound financial implications for the victims. Medical expenses can skyrocket, especially when the injuries are severe and require surgery and lengthy hospital stays. Medical costs can include emergency room visits, surgery costs, hospitalization, medication, and ongoing physiotherapy.
Victims often cannot return to work immediately, causing a loss of income. The longer the victim takes to recover from their injuries, the longer they cannot earn money to provide for their needs. This problem increases when the injury leads to temporary or permanent disability, drastically affecting the victim’s earning capacity for the remainder of their life.
The burdensome financial effects are enough to cause overwhelming stress and uncertainty for the victim and their family. Seeking compensation with a pedestrian accident lawyer who can file a legal claim is vital in regaining financial control and ensuring the victim can afford the care they need for recovery.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics in the U.S.
The alarming frequency of pedestrian accidents underscores their seriousness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports indicate emergency departments treated more than 104,000 pedestrians for non-fatal crash-related injuries during one year. More than 7,000 pedestrian fatalities also occurred during the same timeframe.
These staggering numbers call attention to the widespread problem of pedestrian accidents on the roads within our communities and the urgent need for victims to seek justice through an accident claim or lawsuit.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident
As you find yourself in the unfortunate scenario as a victim of a pedestrian accident, you must act quickly to ensure you receive proper medical attention. You must also set yourself up for a successful accident claim process and protect your rights in dealings with other parties, such as the insurance company and driver at fault.
Follow Up With Your Care Team for Treatment Until You Reach Maximum Recovery
Seek medical attention immediately following a pedestrian accident, and follow through with the treatment advised and prescribed by your medical care team, including rehabilitation and therapy.
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, have a medical professional assess your condition. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and delaying treatment can exacerbate your condition and complicate the claims process. Proper documentation of all your medical treatment is also crucial, as it forms an integral part of the evidence in your claim.
Collect Evidence of the Accident and Your Resulting Injuries
Evidence is the crux of a pedestrian accident claim and case. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case is. Keep copies of medical records detailing the extent of your injuries and employment records demonstrating your lost income. Collect any photographs or videos relating to the accident or your injuries, and secure a copy of the police report if it is ready.
Start a Journal
A detailed journal about the accident and your recovery is a beneficial resource as you complete the claims process. Note details of the accident, daily pain levels, emotional effects, the influence of your injuries on daily activities, and progress or setbacks that occur during rehabilitation. This journal can provide a comprehensive record of how the accident has upset your life, offering critical proof of your case.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer To Represent You
Prioritize contacting a pedestrian accident lawyer to represent you. Navigating a pedestrian accident claim is complex and time-consuming; a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer can provide critical guidance, advocate on your behalf, and ensure that all necessary steps take place to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies often attempt to minimize or deny claims, so having a knowledgeable legal representative can significantly increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
The Process of Filing a Pedestrian Accident Claim
The first step toward seeking justice after a pedestrian accident is to understand the process of filing a claim. Although each case varies according to the circumstances of the accident and the subsequent injuries sustained, having a solid grasp of the general procedure can help you set your expectations and better prepare you for the journey ahead. These steps occur with your attorney handling and managing your case.
Filing the Claim
A pedestrian accident claim starts with you notifying the at-fault party’s insurance company about the incident. This entails providing detailed information about the accident, the injuries sustained, and evidence supporting your claim. The insurance company will then assign a claims adjuster to your case to investigate the accident, determine liability, and evaluate the extent of your damages.
This process can be quite demanding and often requires extensive communication and negotiation between your lawyer and the insurer. After reviewing all the information and evidence, the adjuster typically makes an initial settlement offer. Your pedestrian accident lawyer can discuss the offer with you to ensure it adequately covers your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any other damages you have suffered.
The Role of Insurance Companies
Insurance companies play a major role in the pedestrian accident claim process. The insurer wants to minimize the payout, so their interests do not align with yours. Enlist a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer to negotiate effectively on your behalf and protect your rights during the process.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Settle a Claim or File a Lawsuit
Hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer is instrumental in navigating the legal landscape of filing a claim or, if necessary, going to court. They can ensure the correct and prompt filing of all paperwork, gather necessary evidence, handle negotiations with the insurance company, and, if needed, prepare for a lawsuit.
If the negotiation process fails to yield a fair settlement, you may need to escalate the matter to a lawsuit. This process is far lengthier and requires the experience and background of a pedestrian accident lawyer to present your case competently and convincingly before a judge or a jury.
Factors Influencing the Duration of a Pedestrian Accident Claim
The duration of a pedestrian accident claim can differ significantly depending on various factors. While it is difficult to pinpoint an exact timeline for pedestrian accident claims due to their unique nature, most claims typically resolve within a few months to a year. Complex cases, however, can extend beyond this timeframe. Factors such as legal representation, the readiness of all parties to negotiate, and the willingness of insurance companies to pay can influence the duration of the claim process.
The Severity of Injuries and Complexity of the Case
The nature and extent of your injuries directly influence the duration of your claim. Cases involving minor injuries can resolve relatively quickly, especially if liability is straightforward. If you have severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and long-term care, your case could take longer, as it is important to know the full extent of the injuries and their effect on your life before settling.
Determining Fault and Liability
If the other party disputes liability or multiple parties caused the accident, the claim can take longer to resolve, as you may need extensive negotiations or a lawsuit to settle disagreements.
Negotiations With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are notorious for prolonging claim processes, as they scrutinize every detail of the claim and may offer a lower settlement than you deserve.
If negotiations break down and your case proceeds to court, the timeline can extend further. Court proceedings can prolong the settlement process due to the backlog of cases, the need for multiple hearings, and other legal formalities as you prepare for a trial and once the trial is underway.
The Risks of a Quick Settlement
While a quick settlement can offer immediate financial relief, rushing through the process can leave you short-changed in the long term. This is especially true if you have sustained severe injuries that require ongoing medical care or have long-term effects on your ability to work and day-to-day activities.
A premature settlement can also prevent you from receiving compensation for future medical bills related to your injuries, leaving you with the burden of meeting these financial requirements. Patience and thoroughness, therefore, are essential throughout the process.
Always call a lawyer before speaking with the insurance company about any settlement. Doing so ensures that you have a professional effectively representing your interests, you understand the consequences of your actions, and no one pressures you into accepting a lowball offer that will not cover your losses.