How much can you sue for after a pedestrian accident? It depends on a wide range of factors, including your injury severity, degree of fault, the sources of recovery available, and the steps you take after the accident. Insurance policy limits and the effects of your injuries on your everyday life will also impact how much your pedestrian accident case is worth.
What Happens When a Car Hits a Pedestrian?
Seeing a pedestrian getting hit by a car can be scary. This is especially true if the car is moving at an excessive speed. When a car hits a pedestrian, three different phases will generally happen. They include:
- Collision: The car hits the lower body if the pedestrian is standing. This impact forces the body to curve around the car. The upper body bangs against the windshield or hood.
- Flight Path: The initial impact will cause the pedestrian to fly forward through the air. The distance between the initial spot of the collision and the pedestrian’s resting spot afterward is called the throw distance. As such, a car moving at a higher speed will result in a longer throw distance.
- Hitting the Ground. Ultimately, gravity applies, and the pedestrian hits the ground or lands on nearby objects.
The car’s height and the pedestrian’s height determine the point of contact, accident seriousness, and the severity of the injuries sustained. Larger vehicles usually result in tragic pedestrian accidents. Why? The initial impact throws the pedestrian to the ground, and the vehicle runs over the pedestrian.
Pedestrian accident statistics show that pedestrians are more likely to be killed in a car accident than vehicle occupants. The frightening mechanics of pedestrian accidents discussed above might explain this increased risk of death among pedestrians hit by cars.
How Much Is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?
If you or a loved one was hit and injured by a car in Chicago, Illinois, you might want to know how much you can sue for after a pedestrian accident. The short answer is that it depends. Each pedestrian accident claim is different. The long answer is that multiple factors may affect the actual value of your claim. These factors include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
The more severe injuries you sustain in a pedestrian accident, the higher the value of your claim. Serious injuries will involve more invasive medical treatment, prolonged hospital stays, lengthy periods of physical therapy, and longer time off from work. These injuries are also likely to result in higher non-economic losses.
Your Degree of Fault
Your claim value will be reduced if you hold some percentage of liability for your accident. Illinois, for instance, has modified comparative negligence laws that reduce your recoverable damages by your percentage of fault.
Let’s assume the jury sets your total damages at $30,000. The jury also determines the car driver was 75% liable, and you were 25% liable. In this scenario, you will receive $22,500, which represents $30,000 minus the 25% of your share of liability.
The Steps You Took After the Accident
Knowing what to do (and not do) after a pedestrian accident can safeguard your health and preserve your right to seek compensation for your injuries. Documenting the accident scene is one of the most important after-accident steps. If you can move, you can perform this task effectively as you wait for the law enforcement and emergency medical responders to arrive.
Ensure you take photos of the accident scene and the car that hit you. Note down the names and contact information of witnesses, and record every detail about the accident you can remember.
Check for any traffic or surveillance cameras near the accident scene. Video recordings and photos captured at the accident scene can help identify the liable driver in a pedestrian hit-and-run accident.
Obtain the contact, license, and insurance information of the driver responsible for hitting you. If that driver was in a borrowed car, obtain the car owner’s information as well. Don’t apologize or say anything that might suggest you are admitting fault.
Request that emergency medical responders to take you to a hospital emergency room if you have sustained serious injuries. Ensure you see your doctor, even if you think you are unharmed. Immediate medical help provides the much-needed treatment and documents to prove damages arising from the accident.
Insurance Policy Limits
The amount of liability coverage carried by the liable driver will impact the value of your pedestrian accident claim. The more liability coverage, the higher the compensation you can expect to receive.
How Your Injuries Have Impacted Your Life and Earning Potential
The value of your claim will increase significantly if your injuries cause you to miss work for a long period. In this situation, your claim will factor in the lost income. It might also factor in future lost income if your injuries are likely to prevent you from working in the future.
Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers know the factors that impact the value of pedestrian accident claims. These lawyers can carefully investigate your accident and injuries, identify all damages, and review all applicable laws. They can then accurately determine how much you can sue for after a pedestrian accident.
Damages Recoverable in Pedestrian Accident Claims
Getting hit by a car may leave you with serious and sometimes debilitating injuries. You are entitled to compensation for the cost of treating and caring for these injuries. Treatments may include medications, orthopedic casts, physical therapy, and in-home or nursing home care.
A pedestrian accident can force you to take a break from work to seek treatment and allow your injuries to heal. In this situation, you have the right to pursue compensation for wages or income you have lost and will lose in the future.
Loss of Earning Potential
If you can resume work but cannot perform your pre-injury job, you can seek compensation for a reduced earning potential. If you cannot work due to your injuries, you can seek recovery for a loss of earning potential.
Pain and Suffering
The physical injury and distress arising from getting hit by a car can leave you with significant physical and psychological pain and suffering. You might develop various post-accident problems, including emotional trauma, anxiety, shock, fear, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These losses are often subjective. The most common formula for determining the pain and suffering damages involves multiplying the total economic damages by a factor representing your injury severity.
How to Sue for a Pedestrian Accident
You may need to initiate a pedestrian accident lawsuit in the appropriate civil court if the liable driver (or the liable driver’s insurer) fails to provide an acceptable settlement offer. A lawsuit in most states formally starts when you file a complaint with the relevant court.
A complaint will provide basic information about your accident, the compensation claimed, and the legal grounds for the lawsuit. Be sure to involve a pedestrian accident lawyer in this process for proper initial complaint drafting and filing.
The next step is to ensure the defendant gets a copy of the initial complaint and a “summons” according to your state’s rules. This process of notifying a defendant about the lawsuit is called serving. Your lawyer will guide you on how to serve the defendant. The lawyer will also advise on the next course of action if locating the defendant becomes hard.
It’s possible to settle, even after successfully filing a claim with the court and taking it to trial. Otherwise, the claim will proceed to a full trial, where both sides will get a chance to submit evidence and argue the case. The jury or the judge will issue an injury verdict after hearing both parties.