As a pedestrian, you should never be struck by a vehicle. Unfortunately, unpredictable accidents may happen, and it’s normal to feel lost and confused when they do. Being a victim of a pedestrian accident can upend your life, but know that it doesn’t have to stay that way and you are not alone. You can protect your health and finances by contacting a personal injury lawyer who understands the legal issues around this type of incident.
Whether you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you can move forward confidently with an experienced attorney guiding you. They can determine whether you’re entitled to compensation, help you with an insurance claim, and serve as your advocate throughout the legal process.
Take Action to Protect Your Legal Rights After a Pedestrian Accident
If you’re hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, there are multiple steps to take. They include that you should:
- Get medical attention. If you’re seriously injured, you or a bystander should call 911. If you have minor injuries, you should see a doctor following the incident as soon as possible. Even if you haven’t suffered any apparent harm, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a physician. Some injuries are difficult to detect initially, but can come back to affect your life later.
- Obtain contact and insurance information. Get details from the driver who hit you, and provide yours to them. If they’re driving a car owned by someone else, get contact information for the owner.
- Don’t discuss fault. “Fault” is a complicated concept, so you shouldn’t talk about it with anyone at the scene, such as the driver, witnesses, or anyone else.
- Contact local law enforcement. Police should respond to investigate the incident and file a report as soon as possible.
- Document the scene in pictures and notes. It may feel like you’ll never forget the details of the event, but you must record them. Memories have a way of blurring once the initial shock has worn off. Your pictures and notes will be essential if you file an injury claim.
- Get witness contact information. Jot down the names of people who observed any aspect of the incident. Their recollections can be important to you later.
- Call a personal injury lawyer or auto accident attorney. Be sure it’s one who, like our attorneys at Ginnis & Krathen, is experienced in pedestrian accidents.
Being struck by a vehicle is frightening, but collecting yourself and taking the actions above will help protect your legal and compensation rights.
Understand the Intricacies of “Fault”
It may seem obvious who is at fault in an auto-pedestrian accident, but it’s not always the driver. As a pedestrian, you must follow the rules designed to protect you.
One example is that you don’t have the legal right to step off the sidewalk into traffic recklessly and expect cars to avoid you. That’s especially true if you’re performing an action like jaywalking (i.e., crossing a roadway illegally).
You may feel compelled to express your opinion that the driver was at fault, but you should resist that urge. You should focus, instead, on simply sharing the facts as you observed them. Only discuss these with first responders and your personal injury lawyer.
Be aware that Florida is a no-fault state. That affects the insurance company which covers the driver or the vehicle owner (if different from the driver). The insurer may be required to pay some or all of your medical bills. In that scenario, their goal is to find ways to reduce their financial obligation. They may use things you say against you to that end. Always speak with your attorney before you answer questions from the insurance company.
Know Your Legal Options
Depending on the facts of your case, you may have several legal options. They typically include:
- Filing an insurance claim against the driver. When someone hits a pedestrian, courts typically consider the driver responsible. If you were in a crosswalk, the driver would almost certainly be at fault. They can even be deemed at fault if you entered the roadway outside of a crosswalk if you did so cautiously.
- Filing an insurance claim against the city or state government. If a problem with the design of a roadway, traffic control devices like traffic lights and stop signs, etc., caused or contributed to the incident, the court may consider the responsible government entity liable for your injuries.
- Negotiating a settlement. Your personal injury lawyer can help you understand the factors influencing what your case is worth. That includes the extent of your injuries, their expected duration, and the total pain and suffering they will cause. Stakeholders also consider the accident’s impact on your livelihood and personal life. And finally, the clarity of fault plays a significant role in negotiations.
It’s critical that you choose the right approach, so you should contact an attorney promptly.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Many people, organizations, and institutions seek to minimize your compensation for a pedestrian accident. Don’t face them alone, and don’t let the situation adversely affect your financial stability today or in the future. Contact Ginnis & Krathen today to talk about your case. We’re your ally to get you what you deserve and reclaim the life you had before the incident.