In Alberta, over 500 pedestrians get into accidents with automobiles every year. In some of Alberta’s larger cities, a pedestrian gets struck by a car every single day.
These accidents lead to near-catastrophic injuries, including back injuries, neck injuries, skull injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Some pedestrians who get hit by cars lose the use of their arms or legs. Pedestrian injuries account for 14% of all serious motor vehicle injuries.
Obviously, this kind of accident can be life-altering. The average settlements can be quite large, easily exceeding one million dollars.
These accidents also result in death, which means the family is left to pick up the pieces. This results in a wrongful death claim, which we absolutely do help with. Pedestrians account for 15% of motor-vehicle-related deaths.
While you might think this is good news, the truth is that pedestrian accidents take expert lawyers to resolve. They’re not always as easy, straightforward, and as cut and dried as you might think.
Are pedestrian accidents always the fault of the driver?
Pedestrians are expected to follow traffic laws just like drivers are. If a pedestrian breaks traffic laws, such as crossing against the light, then their injuries are the result of their own negligent actions instead of the negligent actions of any driver. Pedestrians may have the right of way, but that doesn’t give them the leeway to break traffic laws.
When this happens the pedestrian may have to cover their own medical expenses and lost wages. Personal injury law doesn’t exist to pay every single person who gets hurt just because they got hurt.
Instead, personal injury law exists to compensate you when someone else’s negligence is the direct cause of an injury.
In Alberta, each party in a personal injury accident is assigned a percentage of negligence. Your award can be reduced by your own percentage of negligence. You can expect that the other party will try to increase your share of the blame to reduce their liability.
What makes pedestrian personal injury cases harder to resolve?
One reason is that pedestrians are often too injured to gather evidence at the scene.
They’re often unconscious, which means it’s harder to talk to witnesses or take photographs of any kind. It’s sometimes even harder for pedestrians to remember what happened at their own accident, thanks to head injuries.
While the sympathy of juries often lies with pedestrians, judges and insurance companies know that pedestrians are sometimes to blame for their own accidents. Thus we have to prove that the driver was at-fault and do a good job of reconstructing the accident.
In over 53% of pedestrian cases the drivers flee the scene. Hit and run victims can recover compensation, but hit and run cases do create additional complications for pedestrian accident victims.
Finally, the injuries that take place during a pedestrian accident are often extremely expensive, which prompts insurance companies to fight harder to avoid paying for them. They do this even though they know how badly you need the money to recover from your accidents and injuries.
How do insurance companies create problems for pedestrians?
One way they create problems is to try to trick you into releasing your medical records to them. If you do that they’ll begin trying to link your pre-existing conditions to your litany of injuries now. “Those aren’t our problem,” they’ll try to say. “Those are pre-existing conditions.”
Another way they try to create problems is they try to lure you into saying things you shouldn’t stay or signing statements you shouldn’t sign. These statements can tend to increase your percentage of responsibility for the accident. They often claim they just can’t release any money to you until they get your medical records and your signature, but this isn’t true.
Finally, many try to delay you until your 2-year statute of limitations runs out.
All of these problems can be solved by contacting a personal injury lawyer the moment you’re medically capable of doing so. We can file the claim for you. We can send the demand letter for you. And when the insurance company tries to talk to you, you get to say, “Here is my lawyer’s number, all communications need to go through my lawyer from now on.”
This means that your case remains as valuable as possible, simply because you won’t accidentally fall into any of the snares or pitfalls set by the driver’s insurance company.
When should you involve a lawyer in a pedestrian accident claim?
We literally recommend getting a lawyer involved the moment you are medically capable of selecting a lawyer you feel comfortable with and picking up the phone to get it done.
How long will it take you to resolve your pedestrian accident claim?
It can take 18 to 24 months to resolve your claim.
Before we can begin negotiating your settlement, you’ll need to reach maximum medical improvement. This will allow you us to correctly tally your medical expenses and your lost wages.
This will also tell us exactly what your future earning capacity will look like, allowing us to calculate your loss of earning capacity if applicable. It also tells us what your future care is likely to cost.
We then go into alternative dispute resolution with the insurance company. As you’ve recovered, we’ve already been going through the discovery process, ensuring your case is as strong as possible.
90% of the time the case will settle sometime during the alternative dispute resolution process. However, if the case goes to trial you can expect it to take roughly 24 months total for the trial to resolve.
Rest assured that settlements are the better outcome. They’re a sure thing, whereas trials are risky and can result in you recovering nothing at all. Sometimes juries do award more than you’d get in a settlement, but that’s not a guarantee even if you have the best, most experienced lawyers in the world.
Look for tough negotiators and litigators who are prepared for either eventuality!
Need help with your pedestrian auto accident?
Call us for a risk-free case assessment. Our responsive, caring lawyers have over two decades of experience helping other Albertans navigate their personal injury cases.
Contact us to schedule your initial consultation today.
Call (403) 237-9777 to get started.