Pedestrian accidents can result in serious injuries. Protect your right to a fair personal injury settlement by making sure you understand how to address some of the common defenses the at-fault driver's insurance company may use to attempt to avoid paying your claim.
You Were Crossing the Road Improperly
An improper crossing defense is a common course of action in many pedestrian accident claims. Just as drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a way that reduces the risk of harm to themselves and others, pedestrians have a responsibility to obey traffic laws and take reasonable precautions to keep themselves safe.
If you were crossing outside a designated crosswalk or failed to wait for the signal to cross the street, you will likely be found partially at fault for your injuries. However, the driver still has an obligation to avoid pedestrians who are visibly in the road. You can still receive compensation for your injuries, but your compensation will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Note that children are subject to a different standard when it comes to a personal injury case. A child under the age of 5 is not legally negligent in any circumstance. Older children and teens are only expected to behave with a level of care appropriate to their age and development.
Pedestrians Shouldn't Be on the Road
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident while walking along the shoulder of the highway, the driver's insurance company may try to argue that you shouldn't have been on the road in the first place. However, the law recognizes that pedestrians may need to travel on roads where there is no crosswalk or separate path.
If there is no designated pedestrian area, a pedestrian who is doing his best to stay out of traffic is not at fault for an accident. You would only be found at fault if you were walking down the middle of the road or suddenly jumped in front of the vehicle.
Your Injuries Weren't Caused by the Accident
Proving causation is an essential part of any personal injury claim. If you can't establish your injuries are the result of the accident, you're not entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The best way to avoid falling victim to a causation defense is to seek immediate medical treatment. Even if you feel fine at first, the adrenaline rush from the accident may be temporarily masking your symptoms. A mild headache or backache can become more serious as time passes. Getting evaluated immediately provides a paper trail linking your injuries to the accident.
When you see a doctor, make sure to tell him that you're being evaluated because you were recently in an auto accident. This is an important detail that's easy to overlook in the confusion surrounding an accident.
Your Injuries Aren't as Serious as You Claim
Questioning the seriousness of your injuries is a common tactic in personal injury claims, especially when it's obvious that one party is at fault. If you've suffered injuries that will require ongoing medical care or affect your ability to continue working, you need to be prepared to provide proof of your disability.
Expert testimony is particularly helpful in cases involving serious pedestrian accident injuries. A medical expert can explain the treatment and prognosis for your condition. A life care planning expert can outline your future medical needs and what they are expected to cost given the current rate of healthcare inflation. A vocational expert can provide insight into how your condition will affect your ability to support yourself financially. Your attorney can help you line up qualified experts to support your claim for damages.
Protect Yourself by Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to helping Louisiana residents obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to pedestrian accidents. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.