If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to recover compensation for all of your losses. The amount of the recovery will depend on three primary factors:
- the severity of your injuries,
- whether you were partially to blame, and
- the other party’s insurance coverage or ability to compensate you for your losses.
You may be entitled to a few thousand or over a million dollars.
What are some common pedestrian injuries after a car accident?
Car accidents involving pedestrians are some of the most severe types of crashes possible. The potential victims in a pedestrian accident have very little protection from the force of the collision. This often results in serious injuries.
Potential victims in a pedestrian crash include:
- stationary bystanders,
- bikers, and
These people have very little protective equipment. The force of even a small car can cause devastating injuries, including:
- broken bones, most often involving the:
- wrists, and
- life-threatening cuts and lacerations,
- traumatic brain injuries (TBIs),
- internal injuries,
- whiplash, and
- spinal cord injuries.
These injuries can be life-threatening or life-altering. They generally require extensive medical treatment. They can be extremely painful and disabling and can prevent you from earning a living after the accident.
What compensation is available after a pedestrian accident?
If you have been hit and hurt in a pedestrian accident, you deserve compensation for all of your losses stemming from the accident. This is not restricted to your medical bills. It also includes your professional losses, such as
You are also entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
If the pedestrian or traffic accident victim suffers a fatal injury, it can lead to a wrongful death claim. With the help of a car accident lawyer, the victim’s loved ones can file a personal injury lawsuit on the victim’s behalf.
Is there a way to calculate an average settlement amount?
You can estimate the amount of compensation that you can expect using an auto accident settlement formula, like the multiplier method. The multiplier method is used by personal injury attorneys and insurance adjusters to inform their settlement negotiations.
The multiplier method takes your economic damages and adds them to your economic damages times a number between 1 and 5.
Your economic damages are those that can be easily stated in a number of dollars. They include things like your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
These are then multiplied by a number between 1 and 5 to estimate your pain and suffering. The number will depend on how severely the accident has affected your life. The more it has changed your life, the higher the number.
Your economic damages are then added to this estimation of your pain and suffering.
For example: Mary is in a crosswalk when she gets hit by a car. She ends up being paralyzed from the waist down, with significant accident-related disfigurements. Her medical expenses total $700,000 and her lost income totals $200,000. This puts her economic damages at $900,000. Mary’s personal injury lawyer and the insurance adjuster agree to give the accident a multiplier of 4.5. This estimates Mary’s pain and suffering losses at $4,050,000. Added to her economic damages, this means that a fair settlement offer would be around $4,950,000.
However, your compensation may be reduced by 2 factors:
- your share of fault for the accident, and
- a lack of insurance coverage.
Can a pedestrian hit by car be partially at fault for their personal injuries?
Yes, pedestrians can be partially at-fault for a pedestrian accident. While drivers have a duty of care to keep pedestrians safe, a pedestrian’s negligent or reckless actions can contribute to their motor vehicle accident injuries. If you were partially responsible for the accident, your compensation can be reduced or barred entirely.
Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way. However, they can behave negligently and contribute to a pedestrian accident. Some examples of a pedestrian’s negligence that causes a crash includes:
- violating traffic laws,
- crossing the road where there is no crosswalk,
- not looking both ways before crossing,
- crossing the roadway at night or where it is foreseeable that the driver would not see you,
- running into the roadway,
- darting out from between cars in a parking lot, and
- playing in traffic.
If you behave negligently and that contributes to the accident that hurts you, your state’s shared fault rules will apply. In most states, they will reduce your compensation. In others, they will bar you from recovering any compensation at all.
Most states use the rule of comparative negligence when the victim was partially to blame. Comparative negligence requires the jury to assign all parties in the accident a percentage of fault. The victim’s compensation is then reduced by their share of blame. There are 2 types of comparative negligence states:
- pure comparative negligence states, like California and Florida,1 which always reduce the victim’s compensation by their share of blame, no matter how high it was, and
- modified comparative negligence states, like Texas,2 that completely bar the victim from recovering anything if he or she was more than half at-fault.
A few states, like Virginia,3 use contributory negligence rules. In these states, victims are barred from recovering anything if they contributed to the accident at all.
For example: Paul is an adult who lives on a main road with a 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. He dashes into the street to save a turtle and gets hit by a car. A jury decides that he has suffered $100,000 in legal damages. However, the jury also decides that Paul was 60 percent responsible for the crash. In a state that uses pure comparative negligence rules, Paul would recover a $40,000 payout. In a state that used modified comparative negligence or contributory negligence, he would recover nothing.
Even though shared fault rules only get applied by a jury, they can influence a car accident settlement. If there is evidence that an injured pedestrian was partially to blame, like if the police report says that you jumped out in front of the vehicle, the driver’s auto insurance company will offer a lower settlement amount.
Can a lack of insurance coverage reduce my pedestrian accident settlement?
Yes, if the at-fault driver or party does not have enough liability insurance, it can make it impossible for the injured person to recover what they deserve. The victim’s insurance may cover up the shortfall, but oftentimes it does not.
If a driver hits you as a pedestrian, you would start your personal injury case by filing an insurance claim against the driver’s insurance company. All drivers are required to carry at least a minimal amount of liability coverage. However, those minimum amounts are extremely low. They may not cover all of your losses. If you suffered a serious injury, the liability coverage may only cover a small portion of your losses before you hit the policy limit.
In these pedestrian accident cases, you would have to turn to your own insurance policies to cover your losses. If you have car insurance, it may cover you as a pedestrian. However, you would generally have to rely on the following types of coverage:
- personal injury protection (PIP),
- medical payments coverage (Med Pay), or
- uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage.
If you do not have these types of coverage, you may not succeed with your pedestrian accident claim.
You may also have to rely on your health insurance. However, this will only cover the costs of your medical attention and care. It will not cover your lost wages or your pain and suffering. You will also still have to pay for your deductible and co-pays out of your own pocket.
If all of the sources of insurance coverage have run dry, the only party left is the driver. You can still hold them personally liable for your losses. However, most people do not have the assets to cover all of your losses. If there is not enough insurance coverage to pay for your losses, it can be difficult to get fully compensated.
A pedestrian accident lawyer from a reputable law firm can help. By establishing an attorney-client relationship with a pedestrian accident attorney, you can get the legal advice necessary to file a successful personal injury claim.
- Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 13 Cal.3d 804 (1975) (California) and Florida Statutes 768.81.
- Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 33.001.
- Coutlakis v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 796 S.E.2d 556 (2017).