Walking can be great exercise, but unprotected pedestrians are at great risk of injury when traveling to their destination. Each year, thousands of pedestrians are hurt while crossing at crosswalks, walking on sidewalks, or while out for a run. Accidents are most likely to occur at night, in urban areas, and at non-intersection locations.
If you've been injured in a pedestrian accident, personal injury attorneys Karen Sussman and Howard Simcox can document your damages, establish liability, negotiate with the insurance company, and prepare your case for your trial. Sussman & Simcox is committed to protecting your legal rights and helping you receive the highest possible compensation for the harm you've suffered.
Avoiding Allegations of Partial Fault
It's a common misconception that pedestrians can't be held legally liable for an accident. While pedestrians have certain rights for their protection, they are still expected to follow the established rules of the road. These include:
- Following traffic signals and road signs, including the "Walk," "Don't Walk," and "Wait" signals
- Utilizing the sidewalk, rather than the road
- Walking facing traffic if there is no sidewalk available
- Yielding the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing at any point other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk
- Always checking for approaching traffic by stepping into the roadway
An allegation of partial fault can have major consequences for your personal injury claim. Under Maryland and D.C. law, injury victims are barred from recovering any compensation if they are found to be even 1% at fault. To maintain its profit margins, you can expect that the driver's insurance company will look for any possible way to suggest that your own negligence or carelessness contributed to the accident. This is one of many reasons we recommend that you do not talk to the insurance adjuster without an attorney present.
Permanent and/or Disabling Injuries Present Special Challenges
A driver can rely on seat belts, airbags, and the frame of the vehicle itself to provide a certain level of protection in an accident. Unfortunately, pedestrians are completely vulnerable and face a high risk of serious and long-lasting injuries when struck by a vehicle. Some of the injuries frequently associated with a pedestrian accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Nerve damage
- Organ damage
- Fractures and joint injuries
If you've suffered an injury that will require ongoing medical care, it is vital that you wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) to consider a settlement. This is the point at which your injuries have stabilized enough that experts can estimate what your future needs will be. Your attorney may recommend you consult the following experts to help predict your future care needs:
- Medical/life care planning experts to estimate the cost of future care needs
- Economic loss experts to estimate lost future earnings
- Vocational experts to testify as to what type of work you can do given your current limitations
Once you accept a settlement, you're not allowed to ask for additional money if you discover your injuries are more serious than expected. Waiting until you've reached MMI and consulting the appropriate experts helps ensure that you receive all of the compensation you're entitled to.
You May Have a Claim Against Your Own Auto Insurance Company
Ideally, the person who hit you would have ample insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many drivers only carry the minimum legally required insurance—which is insufficient for many accident victims who've been left permanently disabled.
When the at-fault driver has no insurance, insufficient insurance, or can't be located, your own auto policy's uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help pay your expenses even though you weren't driving at the time you were hit.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Sussman & Simcox believes injured pedestrians should focus on healing from their injuries and moving forward with their lives—not worrying about whether they'll be cheated out of a fair recovery by an insurance company. Please contact our office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.