It is obvious that being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and distressing experience. And in the chaos that ensues after an accident, a lawsuit might be the last thing on your mind. However, if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you should keep your legal options open.
Cars colliding with other automobiles are a common occurrence, but what if a car or other vehicle hits you while you are walking? Your rights as a pedestrian and your options for seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses depend on your answers to some crucial questions, which are discussed below.
Who was the Party at Fault?
It is usually assumed in cases of pedestrian accidents that the driver is at fault. This is true in most pedestrian-car accident cases, but not all of them. Drivers have the responsibility to yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks and in circumstances that are designated in the vehicle or state’s traffic code. Drivers also have to abide by speed limits and traffic signals. If a pedestrian is injured as a result of a driver’s violation of a traffic law, liability may be clear and the pedestrian would have the right to make a claim for their damages.
Were you injured?
If you have sustained a direct injury because of a pedestrian-car accident and the driver can be held accountable for the accident or bears the majority of the blame, then you have the right of pursuing an injury claim against the owner of the vehicle, the driver, and their insurance company (if there is bodily injury coverage – not required in Florida). This is called a third party claim. An insurance claim is the first line of action when seeking compensation for your losses like lost income, medical expenses, among other damages.
Did the Driver Stop?
If the vehicle’s driver abided by his/her legal responsibility to stop at the accident scene and exchanged pertinent insurance and contact information with other parties involved in the accident, you will have the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or with the driver’s insurance provider, as discussed.
On the other hand, if the accident was a hit-and-run (meaning the driver did not bother to stop), then, unfortunately, your options to seek legal remedies narrow significantly. In this case, you should first report the accident objectively to the police, so that a formal investigation can be launched. In case witnesses were present at the accident scene, jot down their contact information and names, and take any photos of the scene or your injuries. After you have furnished all the relevant information to the police, it is very likely that you will have to manage your medical treatment and expenses on your own, using your health insurance coverage.
If you are lucky enough to identify and locate the hit-and-run driver or the police manage to track them down, later on, you have the right of discussing your legal options with a personal injury attorney, especially when you have sustained major injuries as a consequence of the accident.
You may contact Mr. Sagan via email at email@example.com or 1-800-FLA-LAWYER or read more about him and his law firm at www.1800flalawyer.com