Lacey Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Assisting Victims to Recover Damages Compensation
When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic or even life-threatening. Pedestrians have no protection against the force and weight of a speeding vehicle, so it is common for a pedestrian to suffer injuries resulting from the impact against the vehicle itself and secondary injuries from hitting the ground or other barriers on the sidewalk or roadway. Our firm has helped many injured pedestrians to recover compensation for their accidents — here are a few important things you should know if you are in a similar situation.
What Are the Laws Protecting Pedestrians in Washington?
In Washington, pedestrians have certain laws protecting them, but they also have a set of laws they need to follow. For starters, traffic laws require drivers to yield to pedestrians on crosswalks and on sidewalks. Pedestrians hit while on a crosswalk or sidewalk will likely have a case against the driver who struck them.
On the other hand, pedestrians are also supposed to respect a set of rules that includes not sprinting suddenly in front of vehicles, abiding by traffic control signals and devices, and walking facing traffic when no sidewalks are available. Pedestrians that have been hit as a result of not following these rules will likely bear the responsibility for the accident.
Who Is Financially Responsible for Pedestrian Injuries?
Assuming that a pedestrian was observing the rules previously described and was hit by a reckless driver, the driver is responsible for that pedestrian’s medical bills and damages resulting from the accident. Things get a little more complex depending on the type of vehicle that struck the pedestrian. For example, if the vehicle was a commercial truck, then both the driver and the trucking company may be at fault. If the vehicle was owned and operated by the city or local government, then the corresponding governmental department may be partially responsible. Most cases, however, will deal with the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurance.
Can I File an Insurance Claim for Compensation After a Pedestrian Injury?
If you were a pedestrian struck by a driver who carried liability insurance, the driver’s insurance will likely provide coverage for your injuries. However, there may be additional insurance claims you may file. If you or the at-fault driver carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, you may go through the PIP to recover compensation. Additionally, if you carry UIM (underinsured or uninsured motorist) coverage, you may also recover compensation through that policy if you were a victim of a hit-and-run or if the driver that struck you did not carry enough insurance or was completely uninsured.
What Should I Do if the Insurance Is Claiming I Was at Fault for the Accident?
First, it is important to understand that Washington follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which does not bar accident victims from seeking compensation even if they were partially at fault for their accident. This means that if you were partially at fault, your total settlement amount will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of guilt. In other words, if it is determined that you are 30% responsible for the crash, you will still receive compensation minus 30%.
Insurance companies know that and may try to claim that you were partially at-fault or exaggerate your percentage of guilt in order to pay you less money. Your best bet is to hire an attorney focused on personal injury from the very start of your case in order to avoid situations like this. Your attorney can help you put together a strong case with enough evidence to pinpoint exactly what happened and get you the compensation you deserve.
At Capital Injury Law, our legal team can represent you at every step of the way, even if your case ends up settling without going to trial. If you have been hit by a motor vehicle, let our pedestrian accident law firm handle your case for you so you can simply focus on healing. Contact our Lacey, WA office at 360-209-3360 and request a case analysis to see how we can help.