According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every two hours a pedestrian in the United States is hit by a car and killed. Every eight minutes, a pedestrian is injured by being hit by a car. Some injuries are permanent and life-changing. Of all children ages 10 to 15 who are killed in car accidents, nearly one-fourth of them were pedestrians.
The statistics are ironic in a way. Automobile safety standards have increased with the mandatory use of seat belts, equipping cars with airbags, adding auto-correct to steering mechanisms and other improvements. Some cars even park themselves. The result has been a decrease in the number of car accidents themselves, but there has been an increase in the number of pedestrians injured or killed in car accidents.
Major causes of car and pedestrian accidents
Driver negligence is the leading cause of car and pedestrian accidents. Some of the major causes include, but are not limited to:
- Distracted driver: Drivers have been seen talking on a cell phone, texting, fiddling with the radio, putting on make-up and even shaving.
- The driver fails to check for pedestrians: This happens most often when a driver turns right on red without first checking to see if anyone is in the crosswalk.
- Speeding driver: The driver is driving over the speed limit and unable to stop in time when a pedestrian steps out in to the road.
- Crowding: Pedestrians may be legally walking along the roadway, but the driver crowds too close to the shoulder and hits them.
- Alcohol impairment: In 2012, the most recent year for which there are statistics, more than 10,000 people were killed in alcohol related-accidents, many of them were pedestrians.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured by being hit by a car while a pedestrian, a personal injury lawyer can file a claim on your behalf and help you receive the compensation to which you are legally entitled. It is common knowledge that the driver's insurance company will make an early and tiny settlement offer to victims who have been injured and are not represented by an attorney.
The rationale is that you are likely unable to work and losing wages at the same time you are incurring medical expenses. The insurer presumes you will be in such great need, you will accept whatever money is offered to you. In most of the cases, the offer is about 13-18% of the amount to which you are entitled.
The insurer generally does not take into account the extent of your injury and your need for compensation for future medical expenses and lost wages. This is particularly true if the settlement offer comes soon after the accident before you are really aware of what your future holds subsequent to your injury.
An experienced personal injury attorney will often offer a free consultation in order to evaluate your case and advise you on how to proceed. Personal injury attorneys know how to investigate the case, interview witnesses, find problems with police reports, and arrange for experts. They know how to evaluate your injuries and negotiate a proper settlement. If it is in your best interest to go to trial, a personal injury lawyer will prepare your case and zealously fight for you to obtain all the compensation to which you are entitled.
Compensation to which you may be entitled
In a personal injury case, you are entitled to be compensated for all the damage that you suffered. This includes:
- Lost wages: You deserve to be compensated for all the wages you lost by being unable to work while you recovered from your injury. If your injuries are serious enough so that you will not be able to work in the future, or you will be forced to change occupations due to the extent of the injury, you deserve compensation for future lost wages.
- Medical expenses: The negligent driver who hit you is responsible for paying your medical expenses, both current expenses and any expenses you expect to incur in the future. Depending on the extent of your injury, this may include both physical and vocational rehabilitation. In some severe cases, life-time medical care may be required.
- Pain and suffering: Pedestrians who are hit by cars often suffer extreme injuries. In addition to the physical trauma, they suffer from emotional and psychological trauma. You are entitled to be compensated for your pain and suffering as well as for your physical injuries.