If you've been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, to protect your right to a fair settlement, it's important to make sure you aren't falling for any of these pedestrian accident myths.
Myth #1: Pedestrians Can't Be at Fault for Their Injuries
Pedestrians, just like drivers, are expected to obey the rules of the road. If you are crossing illegally or darting into traffic, you can be found at fault or partially at fault for the accident.
A pedestrian who is partially at fault can still recover compensation under Louisiana law. However, his settlement will be proportionally reduced by the assigned percentage of fault.
If the accident involves a child, he is only expected to behave in an age-appropriate manner. This means, a toddler who darts into the road to chase a ball is not at fault for his injuries regardless of existing pedestrian safety laws.
Myth #2: Pedestrian Accident Injuries Are Immediately Visible
It seems reasonable to assume that being struck by a car would result in broken bones or other visible injuries. However, injury patterns depend on the vehicle speed, whether the driver was braking at the time of the collision, your physical health, and the surface on which you land. It's quite possible to have no visible signs of injury and be suffering from a concussion or internal bleeding.
After any accident, it's best to be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Even if you think you're only experiencing minor discomfort, your symptoms can easily turn out to be signs of a more serious problem.
Myth #3: Only High-Speed Accidents Result in Disabling Injuries
Higher speeds are more likely to result in serious injuries, but even a car traveling 10 miles per hour can cause a permanent disability. Elderly pedestrians will likely suffer disabling injuries in a pedestrian accident, since they are more likely to have brittle bones and preexisting issues with balance or coordination.
Hip fractures are one example of a disabling injury that is much more common among elderly pedestrians, especially in women. Hip fractures can affect a senior's ability to live independently, often requiring her to enter a nursing home.
Myth #4: You Can Only Recover Compensation If You Were Actually Struck by a Vehicle
Most pedestrian accidents do involve a direct collision with a motor vehicle. However, it's possible to recover a settlement even if you weren't actually hit by the driver.
If the driver was speeding, swerving, or acting in an unsafe manner and you took evasive action to avoid a more serious accident, you can collect compensation for any injuries that result. For example, if you jumped out of the path of a distracted driver and broke your ankle when you fell, this is considered the driver's fault because you wouldn't have jumped if the driver was paying attention to the road.
Myth #5: You Don't Have to Take Legal Action Right Away
Statute of limitations laws limit the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim for accident-related injuries. In Louisiana, injured pedestrians typically have one year to file a claim for damages. If you miss this deadline, you won't be able to recover compensation.
As time passes, valuable evidence can be lost. Therefore, it's in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Myth #6: Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Is Too Expensive
If you're feeling overwhelmed by medical bills and lost wages, it's understandable to cut costs wherever you can. However, quality legal representation is more affordable than you think. Personal injury lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This means, the lawyer asks for a percentage of the final settlement as a fee for representation. Under this arrangement, there is no upfront cost to filing a claim.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault has extensive experience handling pedestrian accident claims for Louisiana residents. We can gather evidence to prove negligence, document your damages, and negotiate with the driver's insurance company on your behalf. Call today to schedule a free case review.