Pedestrian accidents happen every day — and they’re on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 7,388 pedestrians are killed and more than 60,000 are injured in vehicle accidents nationwide. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you’re probably wondering what happens next.
Knowing who was at fault in pedestrian accidents isn’t straightforward. But determining who caused the accident is crucial if you want to receive compensation for your injuries, medical bills, or vehicle damage. A pedestrian accident attorney in Merrill can help.
The Cost of Recovery After Being Hit by a Car
If you get hit by a car and seriously injured, you may end up paying more than $50,000 in hospital bills and medical care. If you suffer serious injuries, your bills may even far exceed that amount, and you may require a lifetime of costly medical care.
You’ll not only have the hospital stay to worry about, but also the emergency room visit, follow-up doctor’s visits, ongoing therapy, and medications to take. You may even have to pay for transportation to and from your medical appointments if you are unable to drive.
It adds up quickly. If your insurance won’t cover everything, you’ll have to find a way to pay.
You might be out of work because of your injuries, too. You either have to burn through your savings to pay your medical costs or … what other option is there? In this situation, your best and only option might be to contact a Merrillville personal injury lawyer to learn more about seeking compensation.
Do I need a lawyer if I was hit by a car in Merrillville?
Getting hit by a car is no small thing. You might have sustained serious injuries requiring surgery and weeks of hospital stays. If that’s the case, you should consider hiring a pedestrian accident attorney. They can help you find a way to pay your medical expenses.
A personal injury attorney also:
- Saves you time. You probably don’t have hours to spend requesting your own medical records, taking witness depositions, or doing research on your case. An attorney does — and they can do it well.
- Has experience. A pedestrian accident lawyer has worked with other people who have been in your exact situation.
- Won’t accept fees if you don’t win your case. Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. Their fee is a percentage of your final settlement. So you don’t have to pay upfront.
- Represents you at trial. Your case may end up going to court. You’ll definitely want to have a legal professional representing you in front of a judge or jury. Trying to do it yourself could lead to costly errors.
- Works to get you a solution. When you’re dealing with the insurance company on your own, they probably make it seem like their offer is the only option you have. A personal injury attorney knows that’s not true. They’ll find an alternate solution and work to get you the compensation you deserve.
Even if you weren’t badly injured in your pedestrian accident, having an attorney by your side can put your mind at ease.
Does my insurance cover me if I get hit by a car crossing the street?
The driver’s liability insurance will cover you if you were hit as a pedestrian — but only if it’s the driver’s fault. If you are found at fault, their insurance doesn’t have to pay you a dime. In fact, they might even ask you for damages, such as the cost of repairs to the driver’s vehicle.
A previous court case in Indiana, Kilmer v. Galbreth, 218 N.E.2d 361 (Ind. Ct. App. 1966), stated that if a pedestrian goes into a dangerous area with automobiles knowingly, their claim isn’t valid.
What if it’s not your fault?
It’s possible that your auto insurance will cover your injuries if you were hit by a car as a pedestrian. If your policy includes any of the following, you can expect to get reimbursement from your insurance company:
- Personal injury protection (PiP)
- Medical payments coverage
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (if the driver who hit you is uninsured)
Car insurance isn’t just for car-to-car accidents. It may also apply when you are a pedestrian involved in a collision. If you were struck by a vehicle while crossing the street and your insurance company refuses to cover it, however, you might need the help of a Merrillville pedestrian accident lawyer.
How much settlement money will I get if I was hit by a car while crossing the street?
A pedestrian hit by a car can expect anywhere from $15,000-$75,000 for minor injuries in many cases, though this can vary quite a bit depending on how bad your injuries are. Other factors, like whether you were partially at fault, factor into the settlement calculations as well.
Generally, you can expect a settlement to be two or three times as much as your medical bills. Keep in mind that a portion of your final settlement will have to cover your attorney’s fees.
Can a pedestrian be at fault for a car accident in Indiana?
It’s possible for a pedestrian to be at fault in a car accident in Indiana, but under specific circumstances. Just like motorists and bicyclists, pedestrians must obey traffic laws and follow traffic signals when crossing crosswalks or walking on roadways.
Some examples of when a pedestrian might be at fault in a car accident are:
- A pedestrian starts crossing a crosswalk after a “don’t walk” sign is given and is struck by a vehicle.
- A pedestrian leaves a curb, sidewalk, or other place of safety and walks or runs into the path of a vehicle, creating an immediate hazard.
- A pedestrian is struck while walking on a roadway when there is a sidewalk available.
Indiana law is very specific about when pedestrians and vehicles have the right of way. Still, in some situations it may not be clear who was at fault. If you were hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, or you collided with a pedestrian as a motorist, you may need the help of a Merrillville personal injury lawyer to sort out your claim or seek damages.
Do pedestrians have right of way in Indiana?
In Indiana, pedestrians don’t automatically have the right of way in all situations. Whether cars must yield to pedestrians depends on factors like the availability of sidewalks and traffic signals. Technically, pedestrians only have the right of way at a crosswalk when they are already in the street, in a marked or designated intersection.
On roadways, vehicles have the right of way. Pedestrians must use the sidewalk and if there isn’t one, must walk on the shoulder as far away from moving traffic as possible. They are also prohibited from crossing diagonally at intersections without proper signals and from hitchhiking.
What happens if the pedestrian was at fault?
It’s possible for a pedestrian to be partially or completely liable for a collision with a vehicle. If the pedestrian was jaywalking or acting negligently, they might be at fault for the accident. As a driver, you may also be partially responsible if you were speeding, texting, or distracted when the collision happened.
A crucial part of pedestrian-vehicle collisions in Indiana modified comparative negligence. This law states that a party in an accident can seek compensation as long as they were 50% at fault or less. So if you are found only 30% responsible for the accident, you can still seek compensation. Your final settlement will be reduced by 30%, though.
After having a pedestrian-vehicle collision, you probably have a lot of questions about what comes next. A personal injury attorney can help you determine who was at fault in your accident and help you get a settlement or court-ordered award for the damages you’ve suffered.
What are the consequences for hitting a pedestrian in Merrillville, IN?
For drivers involved in pedestrian accidents, the penalties could be civil or criminal, depending on the circumstances. The driver may also have to provide compensation to the pedestrian if they were badly injured, and could potentially have their license suspended.
Most car accidents don’t result in criminal charges; they’re usually accidents. If the driver acted dangerously or recklessly, however, it might be vehicular manslaughter. This type of charge could result in one to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The driver might just receive a traffic infraction, however, such as speeding or failing to yield. Traffic violations usually result in fines, not jail times.
As a driver, you may not be charged with any crime for your pedestrian collision. The other party involved might decide to file a civil lawsuit against you, however. If they have severe injuries, they may want compensation for these damages.
After getting in a pedestrian accident in Merrillville, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney. You can explain your situation to them and they can offer advice on how you should proceed.
Merrillville, IN Pedestrian Accident Attorneys to Stand By Your Side
At Yosha Law, we know what you’re going through is difficult. Being involved in an accident or getting hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian is traumatic. You already have a lot going on with your injuries, medical bills, and dealing with work — not to mention the mental and emotional toll this kind of accident takes on you.
We want to help you overcome these obstacles. It won’t be easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’ll provide support, empathy, and guidance every step of the way. Call our firm today for a free consultation with one of our Merrillville pedestrian accident attorneys.