Who Covers Medical Expenses After a Pedestrian Accident?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 5,684 Texas accidents involving pedestrians in one recent year. Since vehicles in Texas covered 282.037 billion miles through the year, it’s no surprise there are so many accidents. Pedestrians are always at risk of being injured by drivers who may:
- Drive distracted;
- Fail to yield at crosswalks;
- Ignore signals giving pedestrians the right to cross;
- Drive too fast;
- Drive while too drowsy to pay close attention; and/or
- Engage in risky driving habits, including drunk driving.
Unfortunately, when a pedestrian is injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle, they are often uncertain about who will cover the medical expenses they incur as a result of their injuries.
Negligent Driver Insurance Coverage
Texas follows an “at fault” rule when determining how a claim is filed when an accident has occurred. In the case of a pedestrian accident, assuming the driver was at fault, the injured pedestrian would file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Texas requires drivers to carry insurance when they register a motor vehicle. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, drivers are required to maintain what is known as 30/60/25 coverage. This means a driver must have liability coverage including $30,000 per person for injuries, $60,000 per accident for injuries, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
When you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, your injuries could result in losses that exceed $30,000. Therefore, contact a pedestrian accident attorney who may help you get additional compensation for your injuries.
Types of Injuries Pedestrians Might Face
One of the issues with an accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian is the pedestrian’s lack of protection. This can lead to serious injuries, including:
- Broken bones and lacerations;
- Brain and spinal injuries; or
- Amputation of limbs or paralysis.
These injuries are serious and may require extensive medical care, costly pain medication, specialized tests, and rehabilitation therapy. Medical bills can add up quickly and may far exceed the limits of the driver’s liability insurance coverage. Working with a pedestrian accident attorney may help you collect full compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work, and possibly compensation for your pain and suffering.
Insurance Company Tactics for Avoiding Large Settlements
One of the primary reasons a pedestrian should seek legal advice after being struck by a vehicle is to ensure they do not fall victim to insurance company adjusters who are seeking to pay as little as possible for their claim. Some of the common tactics an insurance company will take to pay a smaller settlement include:
- Offering a rapid settlement – When an insurance company makes a settlement offer soon after an accident, they often offer a low settlement and hope you accept to get cash quickly. As part of the offer, you will be asked to sign a waiver that lets the insurance company off the hook for any additional medical bills, lost wages, or other losses you may suffer.
- Denying liability – Another common insurance company tactic is claiming the person who was driving the car was not responsible. They will attempt to blame the pedestrian for the accident that caused their injuries to avoid paying for the costs associated with those injuries.
- Claiming pre-existing conditions – The insurance company may attempt to claim your injuries were not a result of the accident, but were pre-existing conditions for which the driver who caused the accident cannot be held responsible. There are only two ways an insurance company might know about a pre-existing injury: if you tell them or if they seek your medical records. This alone is a good reason to contact an experienced personal injury attorney after a pedestrian accident.
Some Pedestrian Accidents Result in Death
Unfortunately, in some cases, a pedestrian may die as a result of the injuries they sustained after being struck by a vehicle. In these cases, it is up to surviving family members to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Texas Statutes section 71.001 states that a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against a person who causes a death resulting from a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed individually or by a group of survivors. If the victim was married, the surviving spouse and children may file the suit. The deceased person’s parents may also join the lawsuit or file their own. Speaking with an attorney can help the surviving family understand their options.
Physical Recovery After a Pedestrian Accident
After any kind of accident, you need time to recover from your injuries. Whether you lose time from work for a few days, weeks, or if your injuries are serious enough to require you to be out of work for an extended period, you are likely under a great deal of stress. This type of stress can hamper your recovery. You should focus your attention on recovering from your physical injuries and let someone else worry about dealing with getting you the compensation you may be entitled to collect.
A pedestrian accident attorney can talk with the insurance company, help conduct an impartial investigation of the accident that resulted in your injury, and allow you to focus on your recovery. This is important because often accident victims do not understand their rights, do not know the best way to answer questions posed by insurance adjusters, nor do they understand whether they should accept a settlement.
Any kind of accident injury is traumatizing. Knowing there are experienced pedestrian accident attorneys who will offer you a free consultation to discuss your case can give you the peace of mind of knowing you can seek out someone else to advocate on your behalf. Do not allow yourself to be victimized by an insurance company whose ultimate goal is to pay as little as possible. An attorney can make sure your rights are protected.