Nearly 200 Australians die every year by road death according to the Road Safety Strategy. That’s 200 individuals who were likely following road rules and taking their time to cross when it was safe to do so. This is all to say, that not every driver out there is looking out for your best interest. Sometimes, accidents happen and, unfortunately, a pedestrian may be part of the event.
This article will dive into what you need to know if you or a loved one is hit by a vehicle and looking for accident compensation.
Defining pedestrian accident
Every case is different from the next. The cause and result of the accident vary greatly, yet being prepared or knowing the steps you need to take afterward can help you recover the compensation you need to get back to your everyday life.
A pedestrian accident occurs when a person is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, a bicycle or even a horse. Generally, it’s an accident involving anyone on foot and another force.
An accident can cause a whole host of injuries and complications. There is a high chance of a hit and run, or the victim not coming out well enough to call for help on their own and long-term effects both physically and emotionally. Seeking compensation is a must in any situation.
If you get hit as a pedestrian, here are some steps you can follow:
- Seek medical attention right away. Even if you’re able to walk away from the accident, you may not feel the effects of the hit or may not have any noticeable complications. A doctor can provide you with a full exam. Some injuries can worsen over time which could cause you to miss work and call for further treatment.
- Gather as much information as you can about the force that hit you, the driver’s information and details about the scene. Even if you are not able to stay at the scene because you need medical attention, any information you or someone you trust collect will help you file a case later on.
- Contact your CTP insurance member and create a file. You will give them all of the information about the accident you have, including a police report number. The sooner you start the process with the insurer, the more quickly they can compensate you for your medical expenses.
- Get a medical assessment that covers all of your injuries — from bruises to sore teeth — as this can help you file a claim if determined necessary. Be sure to hold on to your receipts and invoices so you can send them to the insurer.
- If you need to take time off work to tend to your injuries, speak with your CTP insurer representative and follow their instructions for adding this to your claim.
- You will need to submit your pedestrian accident claim as soon as possible to stay eligible for benefits. Some states, like New South Wales, only allow up to 28 days after the road traffic accident to file and receive full coverage.
The first step to recovery is medical treatment, though. Be sure to consult a medical professional you trust who will provide you with advice and a recovery plan.
When you begin the process to file a claim with your insurer, you may be tempted to accept the settlement offer made by the at-fault driver’s insurance. But more likely than not, this will only scratch the surface of medical bills you will face if your injuries end up being more severe than originally planned. Speaking with a pedestrian accident lawyer can help you determine how best to approach the process of filing a medical claim after an accident.
Filing a claim
A pedestrian accident is a type of personal injury claim. This means that you will need to build a case for yourself (with your lawyer) to prove not only that you were not at fault for the accident but that you need a specific amount of compensation for your losses.
Losses can include your bodily injuries, a lost job, and psychological complications.
When building your case, you will need to prove to the court and your insurer, that the driver was negligent and failed to show reasonable care while operating on the road. The success of the pedestrian accident claim hinges on your accident lawyer proving you are not at fault for the accident.
If a pedestrian dies in an accident, a family member or close relative can represent them in court and file a wrongful death claim instead.
Filing as an at-fault claimant
Nearly every time a pedestrian is hit by a moving vehicle, it is assumed that the driver was at fault for the accident. Drivers have a duty to look out for unexpected obstacles, including people on the road. However, there are a few instances where a pedestrian may be at responsible for an accident such as:
- Illegally crossing.
- Being on their phone and stepping out in traffic.
- Being heavily intoxicated and falling or stepping out onto the road.
Even in this situation, you can still file a claim and receive compensation, although the amount may be less than if you were not at fault.
There are a few injuries you can claim that will impact how much pedestrian injury compensation you receive:
- The severity of your injuries.
- The nature and extent of your injuries.
- How much time is taken off of work.
- The probability of a full recovery.
- How clear fault is in the road accident.
- How well you can maintain your normal lifestyle.
- How likely you are to return to work at full capacity.
The level of permanent damage you incur from the accident and how much this impacts your everyday life will inform how much compensation you receive.
As an injured pedestrian in an accident you will need to speak to an insurer to receive compensation, so let’s go over what they may need to make a consideration for the payout amount.
Most insurers will consider your total expenses, such as your medical bills and loss of income, times that by a number between 1.5 and 5 to arrive at your “general damages” amount. This number will include any pain and suffering damages you may be experiencing and the psychological impact the accident may have had on you.
The multiplier number is dependent on the severity of your injuries, which is determined based on evidence you provided. For lengthy recovery and a total lifestyle change, for example, the insurer will use a multiplier closer to four or five.
Sometimes, the insurer will instead use a daily rate compensation scale if the evidence isn’t very strong. This opens the floor for the defendant and the plaintiff to argue how much or how little should be allowed.
Pedestrian receives $425,000 in compensation after being hit by a motor vehicle
We represented Mrs T who was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 2014. Mrs T was a pedestrian walking across a pedestrian crossing at a busy intersection when a motor vehicle failed to stop and hit our client, causing injuries to her head, neck, shoulder, back, knee and lower leg, as well as psychological injury.
Mrs T lodged her own personal injury claim form with AAMI Insurance, who accepted the claim and liability. She then contacted Gerard Malouf & Partners for advice.
Since Mrs T’s injuries were quite severe and she required ongoing treatment and medication, she was referred to see various doctors including an Orthopaedic Surgeon and an Occupational Therapist. The purpose of these appointments were to determine the level of any injuries suffered by Mrs T, and the need for ongoing and further treatment. The medical evidence was then handed to the insurance company.
As a result of her severe injuries, we wrote to the insurance company, on Mrs T’s behalf, advising that we believed her injuries would exceed the 10% whole person impairment threshold required for her to receive damages for pain and suffering. The insurer agreed with us and Mrs T was then entitled to damages for pain and suffering.
A CARS 2A form was lodged, however, the insurer then agreed to discuss the matter at an informal settlement conference. After excessive negotiations, the matter was resolved in the sum of $425,000.00. Mrs T advised us to accept this offer and was ecstatic with the result.
Take the stress out of your claim
Getting into an accident as a pedestrian is a terrifying and potentially deadly event. Haggling with CTP insurance companies for the money you need to recover is enough to stress anyone out in the same position. That’s why Gerard Malouf & Partners are here to provide you with professional legal services. We are experts in pedestrian accident claims and can help you earn the personal injury compensation you deserve. As the leading law firm for accident claims, we offer a no-win, no-fee promise that you can count on.
To get started, set a no-obligation appointment with one of our representatives to go over your claim. Don’t wait, contact us today!