Bay Area has established public transportation systems such as BART, Muni, Caltrain, and AC Transit, etc. This makes it easy for people to get around without a car. Unfortunately walking can be dangerous – every year hundreds of pedestrians got injured or killed in Northern California, elderly people are at even higher risk when walking or crossing streets. Therefore it is important for all of us to know our rights as a Pedestrian.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, and the driver was at fault/negligent, you have a right to be compensated for your bodily injuries and other losses, such as your wage loss due to your injuries. This is true even if you have no health insurance, and even if you are undocumented immigrants.
If the driver was insured at the time of the accident, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. If the driver was not insured, or has only basic insurance and not sufficient to pay for your damages, then you may have to look for other means or file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to get compensated.
To prove negligence - defined as “the failure to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances”, you will have to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning that more than 50% of the evidence in your favor), that the driver failed to act with the required level of care, usually by breaking a traffic law; the causation - the driver actually caused your injury; and damages - bodily injury, economic or monetary losses.
Even though the driver who hit you is legally responsible for these expenses eventually if he or she was at fault in the accident, your injuries often require immediate medical attention and can’t wait. Usually you have the below options:
- Your own health insurance. Typically you may have co-pay or other out-of-pocket expenses for medication, etc. and your health insurance company typically will claim reimbursement rights when there is a third liable party involved. You should consult with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to assist you in handling your claim for your copay and out-of-pocket expenses and negotiate the reimbursement matters with your health insurance company on your behalf.
- Medical payments coverage under your own auto insurance policy. This coverage may be able to cover your medical bills if you were injured as a pedestrian by a vehicle.
- Medical liens. If you retain an experienced injury lawyer, your attorney can assist you get treatment from medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other healthcare facilities that will treat you on a “lien” basis. This means that you pay nothing out of pocket. Instead, your accident lawyer will take care of paying the treatment bills once your case settles.
Claim negotiation and settlement process is often difficult to navigate and time consuming, and claim adjusters from the insurance company will try hard to settle your claim for as little as possible. If you were seriously injured, insurance company may be eager to settle the case before you retain an attorney because they anticipate that the amount of damages that you will get can be very high once a an experience pedestrian accident lawyer gets involved. Before you accept a settlement offer, it is in your advantage to always consult an experienced accident attorney to help you determine whether the offer is a fair and reasonable for your injuries and other losses.
If you suffered serious injuries and are considering filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit, you generally have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit, i.e. “statute of limitations.” That’s when you almost always require an experienced injury lawyer to be on your side.
We can help you with your Pedestrian injury claims!