Being involved in a pedestrian accident can be a traumatic and confusing experience. You may have many questions about your legal rights, options for seeking compensation, and what to expect from working with a pedestrian accident lawyer. Here, we will explore some of the most frequently asked questions that pedestrian accident lawyers in San Antonio, Texas regularly receive from their clients. This overview aims to provide clarity and insight into the legal process following this type of unfortunate incident.
How Do I Know If I Have a Case?
One of the first things on an injured pedestrian’s mind after seeking medical attention is whether or not they may have a personal injury case. The short answer is that if you have suffered injuries or damages as the result of a driver’s negligence, then you likely do have a valid legal claim. Some examples would be if the vehicle failed to yield the right-of-way to you in a crosswalk, ignored traffic signs or signals, or was speeding and lost control. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can review the specific details of your accident and advise on the strength of your case.
What Damages Might I Be Entitled To?
As a pedestrian accident victim, you may be legally entitled to several forms of compensatory damages under Texas law, including coverage for your:
- Medical bills, both current and future treatments
- Lost income due to missing work during recovery
- Cost of physical rehabilitation or long-term care
- Pain, suffering and mental anguish
- Permanent physical impairments/disabilities
- Damage to personal property (clothing, shoes, glasses, cane, etc.)
The exact value of your pedestrian accident claim will depend on the severity of your injuries, prognosis, and calculated losses. An accomplished pedestrian accident lawyer can help put together a demand amount reflecting the full scope of your damages.
Is There a Time Limit to File My Claim?
Yes, under the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury, pedestrian accident victims have two years from the date of their accident to pursue legal action and file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. This deadline applies regardless of whether the case settles out of court or proceeds to a jury trial. Failure to take action before the expiration of the two-year window unfortunately means you forfeit your right to recover compensation. As such, it’s wise to speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer sooner than later after your accident.
What If I Was Partially at Fault?
Unlike some other states, Texas follows modified comparative negligence rules when determining financial awards for personal injury claims. This means that even if you as the pedestrian were deemed partially responsible for causing the accident due to your own negligence, you would still be eligible to recover some damages from the driver (but potentially with a reduction based on degree of fault).
For example, if you stepped out into the road in an area that was not designed for crossing and were found 20% liable for the collision, your final compensation amount would be reduced by that same 20%. So, there is still an incentive to pursue legal action in the majority of pedestrian accident cases with shared blame. A pedestrian car accident lawyer can guide you more specifically given the circumstances.
How Does the Claims Process Work?
If you decide to go forward with a legal claim after a pedestrian accident, you would start by having your pedestrian car accident lawyer formally notify the driver’s insurance provider. Included would be details surrounding the incident and a demand letter stating the compensation you are seeking. Typically, the insurer will launch an independent investigation to assess liability. From there, a few things can happen:
- The insurance company accepts fault based on evidence and agrees to settle – this would resolve things quickly out of court.
- The insurer disputes fault and/or your damages, so your car accident injury lawyer would then file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
- The insurer makes a low-ball settlement offer attempting to resolve things cheaply, which you could choose to accept or reject and still pursue higher compensation through a case.
An accomplished legal professional can handle negotiations with insurers to help obtain full and fair payment. They will also represent you vigorously in court if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached initially.
How Are Pedestrian Accident Cases Won?
There are a few key ingredients generally needed for a pedestrian accident lawyer to build a winning case on behalf of an injured client. These include:
- Credible evidence the driver violated traffic laws – Police reports, surveillance footage, and eyewitness testimony can prove negligent driving.
- Proof of the driver’s fault for the collision – If their negligent actions directly caused the pedestrian crash, it supports a liability claim.
- Documentation of your resulting injuries and damages – Medical records, physician statements, receipts and bills help quantify losses for compensation.
- Establishing long-term effects on your life – Documents showing loss of income, physical therapy treatments, permanent disabilities/pain, and other consequences from the crash.
When reliable evidence clearly shows the motorist’s legal fault resulted in significant harm and losses to you as the pedestrian, this presents a compelling basis for a legal victory. An accomplished pedestrian accident lawyer knows how to craft a winning case to prove both liability and damages.
What If the Driver Who Hit Me Doesn’t Have Insurance?
One of the worst things that can happen after getting struck as a pedestrian is finding out the negligent driver either didn’t carry auto insurance, had lapsed coverage, or carried only minimum liability limits totally insufficient to cover your serious injuries. This scenario may mean having to rely on your own auto policy’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If you did not carry these optional coverages, the only other recourse is to sue the at-fault driver personally in hopes of collecting on any assets to their name.
Being involved in an accident as a pedestrian can be a stressful and traumatic experience. Regardless of how it happened, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. If you or a loved one is going through this right now, contact Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today for your free, no-obligation consultation.