As a pedestrian, you have certain rights that are meant to ensure your safety when using the street or sidewalks. Unfortunately, accidents can occur and the incident may require a day in court to get what is owed to you. Examples of pedestrian accidents that can result in lawsuits include:
- Hit-and-Run accidents
- Intersections/street crossings
- Back-over or parking lot accidents
- Reckless driving
- Premises liability
If you are the victim of any of these accidents, you will need to consult with a personal injury attorney. The following guide can help you better understand the situation.
Pedestrian Vs. Car
Most pedestrian accidents fall under the pedestrian vs. car heading. For the pedestrian to be innocent of any wrong-doing, the driver of the vehicle must have broken a traffic law that lead to the accident. In some cases there may first be a criminal trial for the driver before there can be a civil trial. This means you may not be able to sue for personal injury immediately.
Unlike other types of pedestrian accidents, premise liability suits do not have to involve a driver. These are the accidents that occur when you are walking in an area and suffer an injury due to unsafe conditions. For example, if a business owner fails to fix a broken slab on their sidewalk, leading to you falling and getting an injury.
One of the first steps of your legal team is to prove liability. In many cases the liable party is obvious – it is the driver of the vehicle or the owner of the property. In other cases it may not be as cut and dry. For example, if the car that hit you was first struck by another car or was swerving to avoid another driver, the driver of the other vehicle may be responsible. In some cases, more than one driver may be held responsible. Your lawyer will help you determine liability.
Duty of Care
As a pedestrian you can also be liable for your accident, which means you may not be able to sue another party. Duty of care means that you were following all pedestrian laws and took reasonable steps to assure your safety before the accident occurred. Jay walking, for example may mean that you didn’t practice proper duty of care so that you were the actual negligent party in the accident.
If you are in a pedestrian accident, your first step is to get treatment and file a police report. Make sure that you keep all invoices and paperwork from both the hospital and the police, since these will be the first documents used to start building your case. Your next call should be to our law offices for a consultation. We will begin to assemble all the information necessary to begin your lawsuit.
What to Expect
There are several steps in the pedestrian accident lawsuit process. The first stage is fact-finding and recording details of the accident. You will put together your deposition, which is your sworn statement as to how the events unfolded and the results of your injuries. You will also need to provide documentation of everything in the deposition, including police reports, treatment receipts, and proof of lost wages.
Following the actual filing of the case, one of several things may occur. The case may be dismissed, such as when there is insufficient evidence to proceed. Or, the other party may request a settlement. You are not required to accept a settlement and you should consult with your attorney before proceeding. If neither of these occur, then the case will most likely go to civil trial.
If you are awarded damages in the trial, the next step will be either appeals or collections. The other party may have the right to appeal the verdict if they can prove to the court that there was an error in the trial. In this case the process will start over.
Otherwise, you will enter the collection phase of the proceedings. In most cases your lawyer will handle this. The payment will be made directly to them. They will then deduct their fee from the settlement and then present you with a check of the remainder. Often, legal fees are included in the settlement request so that you will not lose any of your portion.