Pedestrian accidents are surprisingly common on American streets. Across the country, more than 100,000 incidents per year involve a pedestrian and a vehicle.
Because both parties are not in vehicles, pedestrian incidents present unique legal situations. Therefore, if you are involved in one of these incidents, you will want to seek the services of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer.
Here is what you need to know about pedestrian accidents if you are in Fishers, Indiana, or the wider Hamilton County area.
What Is a Pedestrian Accident?
A pedestrian accident involves a vehicle and someone who is walking or standing. Though such incidents typically involve someone walking across the street or on the side of the road, they can also occur on a sidewalk or other area that is not meant for vehicle traffic.
Several factors are required for an incident to be considered a pedestrian accident.
- One party must be operating a vehicle, which could be a car, truck, motorcycle, or other motorized autos.
- The other party is not in a vehicle. Under the law, people who are walking or on a bicycle or other form of non-motorized transport are usually considered pedestrians.
- The vehicle operator must be driving or riding negligently. If you are involved in a pedestrian incident, a pedestrian accident attorney can help you decide if it was the result of carelessness on the driver’s part. When it comes to winning compensation, the pedestrian typically has to prove that the motorist was driving negligently.
Pedestrian accidents can be severe, but the driver could still be legally liable for minor incidents. For example, pedestrian accidents could involve a car bumping into your bicycle at low speed and damaging a wheel.
Regardless of the severity, if you are a victim of a pedestrian accident, you are entitled to take legal action to get compensation to cover the damage.
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Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Indiana
There are two types of pedestrian accidents. The first occurs in areas where cars are not supposed to be, such as sidewalks or residential yards. The second happens in spaces like crosswalks or roadways where pedestrians and vehicles share the road.
Incidents occurring on sidewalks often happen on urban or suburban streets where there is no barrier (except perhaps a curb) between the street and pedestrians. Some motorists may jump over the curb because of negligent driving. For example, they might be speeding, oversteering, or looking at a cell phone instead of the road. However, occasionally, snow, ice, wet roads, or poor visibility may cause the driver to lose control and run onto the sidewalk through no fault of their own
People sitting near the road are considered pedestrians under the law. For example, bus stops are typically next to the street, so pedestrian accidents could involve a car hitting a bus-stop bench or shelter.
Many pedestrian accidents occur in a crosswalk. These incidents can be due to negligence, such as an inattentive driver failing to stop for people in a marked crosswalk or those with the right of way due to a stop sign or traffic signal.
Some crosswalk accidents are due to drivers or pedestrians being confused about who has the right of way.
Finally, some pedestrian incidents can occur because of visibility problems. For example, a pedestrian may be crossing or walking on the side of a street after dark or in foggy conditions, and the motorist may not see them in time to avoid them.
Regardless of the type of incident you experience, if you are in Hamilton County, you can enlist the services of an Indiana pedestrian accident attorney to help you decide if you are entitled to compensation.
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What To Do Immediately After a Pedestrian Accident
It is important to take specific steps after a pedestrian accident. The steps are necessary for your safety and wellbeing and the legal process following such an incident.
- Determine injuries. The first step is to determine if you are hurt after a pedestrian accident. You should see if you can move normally or have any visible injuries, such as bleeding or broken bones. If you can, you should move to a safe place (out of the street if the accident occurred there). Once you are in a safe location, you can check yourself further for injuries or pain.
- Contact law enforcement. If the accident is severe, bystanders will likely call the police for you. If you are able, you can dial 911 yourself. If you are unsure if someone has called, you can do so yourself. The operator will tell you if the police are already on their way. Even if your injuries are not severe, you should contact law enforcement. An officer will create an incident report, which will be important evidence during legal proceedings.
- Verify the driver’s information. Driver information will also be necessary during legal proceedings. The police should include the driver’s information in their incident report, but you should also verify it. In addition to details on vehicles and licenses, you should also get insurance information from the driver.
- Gather information for the case. You should take pictures of any vital features, such as speed limit signs, crosswalks, injuries, or damage to the vehicle. You can also get contact information from witnesses in case you need their testimony.
- Get a medical checkup. After an accident, you will have a lot of adrenaline, which could mask pain. A medical checkup can help you find any injuries that could cause problems later or become chronic without proper care.
- Contact an attorney. A personal injury lawyer can help you decide how to proceed with the case. They will let you know what your rights are and give you advice on seeking compensation for your injuries.
Overall, the first step is to deal with injuries and ensure your safety. After that, your primary goal is to collect as much information as possible from the scene. A good pedestrian accident lawyer will be able to help you from there.
How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help
If you are involved in an incident in Fishers, Indiana, an Indiana pedestrian accident attorney can help you pursue a compensation claim.
How can legal representation help your case?
An attorney can help you handle the details of your case while you are recovering from your injury. The last thing you want to do while resting or attending physical therapy is deal with courts and insurance companies.
A good attorney can also help you decide how much compensation to pursue and help you assign liability. While the driver of the vehicle is often at fault, other issues could come into play. For example, there could be problems with street lighting, signs, or a crosswalk. In these cases, the agency or department responsible for these features may bear some responsibility for the accident.
An attorney will also help you figure out the total loss due to the accident. In addition to medical bills, you may be eligible for compensation for lost work or other earnings or profits you missed out on because of your accident injuries. These efforts may involve dealing with insurance companies to get all the coverage that is due to you.
What Types of Compensation Can You Expect After a Pedestrian Accident?
A Fishers, Indiana pedestrian accident lawyer will primarily be concerned with ensuring you get fair compensation. Here is a look at the types of payments you can get after a pedestrian accident.
- Medical treatment. You should receive payment for all medical bills you incurred due to the accident. If you need ongoing physical therapy or medical services, these should be included in the compensation package. For example, suppose you need special care or must use a wheelchair or other medical device because of injuries from the accident. In that case, it should be covered by the liable parties or their insurance company.
- Lost wages. If you cannot work because of the accident, you can pursue compensation to cover your lost earnings. This can also involve potential profits from a business if you run your own company or work as a freelancer or contractor. In addition to wages lost as a direct result of the accident, you can also seek compensation for future wages lost. For example, if you are unable to work the same job as before the accident, you can seek compensation for the differences in wages.
- Pain and suffering. In some instances, you will be able to seek additional compensation for the physical and mental pain you suffer. This type of reward can include physical pain or discomfort brought on by the accident. Non-physical issues, like depression or anxiety, lower quality of life, strains on personal relationships, or other emotional distress can be more difficult to prove. Still, a good pedestrian accident lawyer can help you get compensation for this, as well.
Though you and your attorney may need to prove that the driver is liable, you typically deal with insurance companies when it comes to compensation.
How Does Insurance Work in a Pedestrian Accident?
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, and the driver is at fault, their insurance typically covers your compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and emotional issues.
What if the driver is uninsured? Indiana motorists are required to have at least liability coverage for their vehicles. If they do not, they will have to face legal repercussions, but this may not help you get compensation for your injuries. In some cases, your vehicle coverage may help pay medical costs even though you were not driving at the time of the accident. You will have to look at your insurance policy to see if it covers incidents with uninsured drivers.
If a driver is uninsured, you can enlist the help of an Indiana pedestrian accident attorney and try to get compensation from the driver directly. However, the driver would have to pay out of pocket if they are found liable. Since this could cause financial issues for them, many drivers may try to fight such claims in court.
Therefore, it is best that you make sure your automobile insurance policy covers these sorts of scenarios and that you have sufficient uninsured and underinsured coverages. Consult with us today to have us review your policy and see if any compensation can be gathered for your pedestrian accident.
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Determining Liability in an Indiana Pedestrian Accident
Liability is generally assigned to the party who is at fault for the pedestrian accident. Liability does not depend on the severity of injuries sustained in the accident. In an accident, pedestrians will typically suffer worse injuries than a driver.
If the pedestrian was acting reasonably, the driver is typically liable. For example, if you are on the sidewalk or in another area that is not meant for cars, the driver would have to do something negligent, like driving off the road, to harm you. Therefore, they are almost always liable. If the driver went off the road due to ice or water, their insurance must still cover your injuries.
Can a pedestrian ever be responsible for an accident? Yes, pedestrians can be negligent. For example, if you are jaywalking or crossing during a don’t walk signal, you may be at least partially liable for the accident.
Pedestrians who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or not paying attention due to cell phone usage may also be partially responsible for an accident. The driver, insurance company, and their lawyers will typically try to prove negligence on the pedestrian’s part if they can. Therefore, it is a good idea to consult us immediately to protect you from having the insurance companies put fault on you for the crash.
In Fishers and the rest of Indiana, two laws affect liability and compensation for pedestrian accidents.
- Indiana Code §34-51-2-5 allows civil courts to reduce the compensation based on the degree of the pedestrian’s liability. For example, if you are 50% responsible for an accident, you may receive 50% of the compensation you are due.
- Indiana Code §34-51-2-6 says that anyone who bears more than 50% of the fault (a majority of the fault) for an accident is not entitled to any compensation.
In such instances, you need an Indiana pedestrian accident attorney, like the attorneys at SLG Accident Attorneys , to ensure you get a fair settlement and receive your due compensation.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact SLG Accident Attorneys to get help deciding how to prove your case and pursue compensation.
Some of the locations around Fishers which our accident lawyers serve include: Hamilton County, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Lawrence, Westfield, Zionsville, Beech Grove, Speedway, Greenfield, Anderson, Brownsburg, Elwood, Greenwood, Lebanon, Plainfield, Fall Creek and Delaware Townships, and more.