Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?

May 29, 2024 | Jarrett Blakeley
Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?

There is nothing more terrifying than walking along when, all of a sudden, you unexpectedly get struck by a vehicle. In a split second, you have your life flash before your eyes. Then, when you finally open your eyes and come to your senses, you realize that you are lying on the ground or in the hospital bed. You have just been in an accident as a pedestrian. The situation is scary but, unfortunately, not uncommon. If this happened to you, you probably have many questions on your mind, such as, “Why me?”, “Why now?” and “What should I do next?

Fortunately, you never have to navigate the aftermath of a pedestrian accident alone and can seek legal counsel. But do you actually need a pedestrian accident attorney? That’s the question we will try to answer.

Situations When You May Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

You probably know by now that hiring an attorney is optional. While you certainly have a right to represent yourself, doing so can put you at a serious disadvantage when you are in any of the following situations:

You Suffered a Severe Injury and Disability

If you have been struck by a vehicle and this resulted in a serious injury or long-term disability, you may have a strong reason to contact an attorney. Your legal counsel can help ensure you receive adequate compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages through an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

There Are Disputes Over Fault

Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?

If the driver who hit you (or their insurance company) disputes their fault in the accident, you need an attorney by your side to strengthen your case. Your attorney will help collect and present evidence in the most convincing manner possible to support your case and challenge the other party’s allegations of fault.

Your Claim for Compensation Was Denied

Insurance companies may deny claims for various reasons, leaving victims with no compensation whatsoever. If your claim is unjustly denied, an attorney can challenge the decision on your behalf. They understand how insurance companies operate and can help negotiate a fair settlement outside of court.

You Received a Low Settlement Offer

In many cases, the insurance company may extend a settlement offer that falls short of covering your actual losses. Before accepting any offer, it’s wise to consult a pedestrian accident attorney. They can assess whether the offer is reasonable and fight for a more appropriate amount that fully accounts for your injuries and other damages.

It’s Been a While Since the Accident Occurred

The statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit in personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents. That is why the time matters in any legal proceeding. If substantial time has passed since your accident and you haven’t yet filed a claim, you have no time to waste and may need the assistance of a lawyer to expedite things. Otherwise, you risk losing your right to compensation.

Note: The statute of limitations varies from state to state. In Florida, for example, injured pedestrians have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver (Fla. Stat. § 95.11).

The Driver Who Hit You Fled the Scene

Hit-and-run pedestrian accidents pose unique challenges, particularly when it comes to identifying the driver and securing compensation. A pedestrian accident lawyer can work with investigators and law enforcement to track down the responsible party. Additionally, they can file a claim for compensation through your own insurance policy or explore other avenues of compensation if the driver is not found.

Fact: Did you know drivers flee accident scenes every 43 seconds in the United States?

Your Loved One Died in a Pedestrian Accident

If a pedestrian accident results in the tragic death of a family member, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Understandably, no amount of compensation can replace your loss, but getting financial recompense can alleviate the burden of funeral costs, lost future income, and other expenses, not to mention that holding the responsible party accountable can help you get a sense of closure.

At the same time, handling the legal proceedings when filing a wrongful death lawsuit may present several challenges that you may not be capable of tackling without legal counsel. A pedestrian accident lawyer can provide you with compassionate representation during this difficult time, allowing you to focus on mourning and grieving your loss.

What Do Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Do?

Pedestrian accident attorneys offer services tailored to address the specific needs of individuals injured in pedestrian accidents. Their primary goal is to ensure their clients receive comprehensive legal representation, leading to rightful compensation for their injuries and losses. Here are some of the crucial services they provide:

  • Requesting copies of the accident and police reports. Gathering evidence is one of the first steps in building a strong case for a client. Attorneys request copies of both the accident and police reports, which are foundational documents that offer an official account of the incident.
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses and bystanders. Eyewitness accounts can bolster your claim for compensation. That is why experienced attorneys make it a priority to interview eyewitnesses and bystanders who were present at the scene.
  • Visiting the accident scene. Visiting the accident scene allows attorneys to better understand the circumstances surrounding the incident. They take photographs and make videos, meticulously documenting the physical context of the accident.
  • Collecting video evidence. In our digital age, many accidents are captured on video. Your attorney will seek out footage from traffic cameras, red-light cameras, dash cams, or nearby surveillance systems that might have recorded the accident.
  • Consulting with accident reconstruction experts. In complex cases, working with accident reconstruction experts is sometimes necessary. These experts are trained to reconstruct how accidents occur and determine whose fault contributed to the accident.
  • Ordering and reviewing your medical records. A thorough examination of medical records is very important when establishing the extent of injuries suffered and calculating your case’s worth.
  • Subpoenaing phone records. In some cases, the driver's distraction may contribute to the accident. Attorneys help subpoena cell phone records to determine if the driver’s phone was in use when the accident occurred.

This is a non-exhaustive list of the things pedestrian accident attorneys do. If you want to understand how legal counsel may help you in your unique case, you might want to schedule a personalized consultation with one.

Risks of Not Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

People may be tempted to handle their legal matters on their own in an attempt to save money on attorney’s fees. However, many do not realize that they are exposing themselves to multiple risks.

Risk #1: Accepting Lowball Offers

Without a deep understanding of legal procedures and the value of your claim, you may end up accepting a settlement offer that does not cover all your damages and losses. Insurance companies often present quick, low-value offers in the hope that unrepresented claimants will not realize how much their claim is worth due to the lack of legal counsel.

Risk #2: Missing Details

Failing to accurately document injuries, not gathering sufficient evidence, or overlooking key legal deadlines can weaken your case or even give the insurer grounds to dismiss your claim entirely. Pedestrian accident attorneys know precisely what details are crucial for a strong claim and can help ensure nothing is overlooked.

Risk #3: Having Problems with Paperwork

Legal claims involve a substantial amount of paperwork, and any errors in filling out these documents can delay the process or affect the outcome of your case. Navigating the paperwork requires experience and precision – the two attributes that an experienced attorney brings to the table when you hire one.

Risk #4: Being Outgunned

Insurance companies have vast resources and experienced lawyers who minimize the company’s payouts. Without an attorney on your side, you can be at a significant disadvantage, no matter how strong your claim may seem.

Risk #5: Stress and Time

Recovering from an accident is already a stressful and time-consuming process, and adding the burden of navigating a legal claim can exacerbate this stress. Hiring an attorney allows you to focus on your health and recovery while they handle your legal matters for you.

Risk #6: Underestimating Future Costs

Accurately valuing a claim requires a forward-looking perspective on the costs associated with your injuries. This includes future medical care, long-term disabilities, and potential future earnings losses. Without this foresight, you might settle for less than you need, risking your financial future. An attorney will consider all these factors to secure a settlement that truly reflects your needs.

Risk #7: Going to Trial Unprepared

While it is true that 97 percent of all tort claims are settled out of court, some go to trial. Stepping into a courtroom without legal representation is risky and can significantly reduce your chances of a favorable outcome. Your attorney will prepare your case for trial from the start and represent your best interests in front of the judge.

Questions to Ask a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Questions to Ask

Okay, so you think you need an attorney for your case, but you may not understand how to hire the right one. No one can blame you, considering that there are hundreds – if not thousands – of pedestrian accident attorneys in any given geographic area in the United States. Below are some of the questions that help clients better understand who they are dealing with when speaking with prospective attorneys.

“Have you handled pedestrian accident cases before? If so, what were the outcomes?”

A lawyer with an established track record of success in pedestrian accident cases will likely manage your case effectively. That’s because when you have a lawyer with plenty of experience on your side, their confidence and credibility extend to you and will significantly impact your case (in a good way).

“What are my options for obtaining compensation after a pedestrian accident?”

As an injured pedestrian, you need to understand the avenues for compensation. A skilled attorney can outline whether you can pursue a claim against the driver’s insurance, file a lawsuit, or have other means of securing financial relief. They will assess your unique situation and advise on the best course of action, considering jurisdiction-specific laws as well as factors such as fault and insurance policies involved.

“Do you anticipate any challenges when handling my case? If so, how do you intend to tackle them?” 

Every legal case comes with its set of challenges – there is no going around this fact. Transparency about potential obstacles and an attorney’s strategy to overcome them is crucial for setting realistic expectations. Challenges may include proving the driver’s negligence, dealing with uncooperative insurance companies, or others. You need to understand whether or not your lawyer has a plan in mind to tackle those challenges before you entrust them with your case.

“Will you be working on my case personally?” 

In many larger law firms, cases are often passed along to paralegals or junior attorneys after the initial consultation. While this is not necessarily a drawback, knowing who will handle your case directly can help set clear lines of communication and ensure your case receives the attention it deserves. A lawyer personally committed to your case is more likely to be intimately aware of the details and invested in securing a favorable outcome.

“How much are your services going to cost?” 

Legal fees can vary widely from state to state and from law firm to law firm, so you need to have clarity on costs upfront before you hire a lawyer. Ask whether the lawyer works on a contingency fee basis – where they receive a percentage of your compensation upon winning the case – or if they charge by the hour, which are the two most common fee structures in personal injury law. When you understand your lawyer’s fee structure, you can manage your finances for the duration of your case and avoid surprises when it’s time to pay your lawyer.

Seek your free consultation with a personal injury lawyer near you today.

Jarrett Blakeley

Firm founder Jarrett Blakeley fights to get maximum compensation for all of Blakeley Law Firm’s clients. He has been practicing law since 2006 and takes great pride in representing the rights of injured individuals against the insurance companies and the law firms that represent them. He has successfully represented thousands of clients and recovered tens of millions of dollars on their behalf. Mr. Blakeley strives to give all of his clients personal attention and maximum effort and seeks to instill a firm culture that prioritizes customer service and compassion for the injured over all else. Fighting for the injured is Jarrett Blakeley’s greatest passion and he looks forward to fighting for the injured for the rest of his career.

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