Accidents Involving Pedestrians And Cyclists
The explosion of “green” philosophies, rising gas prices and our beautiful scenery and weather in West Virginia have resulted in a sharp rise in cyclists on the road in recent years. Both pedestrians and cyclists are at the mercy of drivers — when they are struck by a motor vehicle, they can be very severely or fatally injured.
We at Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP, are prepared to bring more than five decades of combined motor vehicle injury experience to advocate for you if you or someone close has been injured as a pedestrian or a cyclist. Our attorneys will work directly with you to build the strongest possible case for negotiation or litigation. Our experience is only eclipsed by our dedication. We encourage you to reach out. Please speak with us at 877-416-5457.
Bikers And Pedestrians Are Vulnerable In Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
In 2011, 677 pedalcyclists were killed, and an additional 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and made up 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.
If you or someone close to you has been injured as a pedestrian or a cyclist, it is important to realize that you may face subtle and challenging issues. Insurance companies may try to take advantage of particular laws that do not favor cyclists or try to tell you that the accident was your fault. It is important to realize that pedestrians are always afforded the right of way — while this is always the case in a crosswalk, it is the case in almost all pedestrian accidents.
Walking is a great form of exercise, and even a “green” way to commute if you are lucky enough to live close to where you work. While there are a lot of benefits to walking, hiking, jogging, and running, there are also certain dangers. Pedestrians are at the mercy of drivers — when they are struck by a motor vehicle, they can be very severely or fatally injured.
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, truck or SUV, they may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Through a personal injury lawsuit, a pedestrian or their loved one can get money damages for their losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A skilled West Virginia personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights and get maximum compensation for your injuries.
We at Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP, are prepared to bring more than five decades of combined motor vehicle injury experience to advocate for you if you or someone close has been injured as a pedestrian. Our attorneys will work directly with you to build the strongest possible case for negotiation or litigation. Our experience is only eclipsed by our dedication. We encourage you to reach out. Please speak with us at 877-416-5457.
Pedestrians Are Vulnerable In Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, 6,205 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes and an additional 76,000 were injured. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 17 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and made up 3 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes and injured every 7 minutes in motor vehicle accidents in 2019.
Older adults and children are most likely to suffer serious injuries or be killed in traffic accidents. In fact, pedestrians between the ages of 55 and 59 accounted for 23% of all pedestrian deaths in 2019. In that same year, 6% of all pedestrian injuries involved children between the ages of 10 and 14.
A walker, jogger, or runner who is hit by a motor vehicle has virtually no protection from injury. This often leads to catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, paralysis, and even death.
Pedestrian accidents are often caused by careless drivers. One of the most common causes of pedestrian crashes is speeding. Whether a driver is going too fast for conditions or is exceeding the posted speed limit, speeding limits a motorist’s ability to see others on the road and to stop in time to avoid a collision.
These types of crashes may also be caused by distracted driving, running red lights or stop signs, failure to yield, or driving while intoxicated. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half (47%) of all fatal pedestrian accidents involved alcohol. Whatever the cause, the motorist who hit you may be held liable for your injuries.
Even when a driver hits a pedestrian, their insurance company may refuse to take full responsibility for the accident. If you or someone close to you has been injured as a pedestrian, it is important to realize that you may face subtle and challenging issues. Insurance companies may try to tell you that the accident was your fault. It is important to realize that pedestrians are always afforded the right of way — while this is always the case in a crosswalk, it is the case in almost all pedestrian accidents.
When Do You Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
After being hit by a motor vehicle, you may be approached by an insurance adjuster. They may tell you that they take full responsibility for the accident, or that they want to offer you a fair settlement. You may be tempted to take this offer so that you can move forward with your life.
In most situations, accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company without consulting with a pedestrian accident lawyer is a mistake. The insurer isn’t concerned with making sure that you get every penny that you deserve. Instead, their goal is to pay out as little as possible on claims.
If you have been hit by a car as a pedestrian, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even if you only suffered minor injuries, a lawyer can protect your interests and help make sure that you get maximum compensation.
Personal injury cases can be complicated, even when liability seems relatively clear. For example, the insurance company may argue that you were partially at fault for the accident and seek to reduce your settlement based on the principle of comparative negligence. Alternatively, the insurer may try to minimize the amount that they pay for certain types of damages, such as by arguing that a particular injury existed prior to the accident.
A pedestrian accident lawyer can guard against these types of claims. During a free initial consultation, your attorney will listen to your story and advise you of your options for pursuing a case against the at-fault driver. If you decide to hire the law firm, they will begin to investigate immediately, pulling in all potentially responsible parties and researching West Virginia law as it relates to your specific situation.
Throughout the process, your attorney will negotiate directly with the insurance company, demanding a fair settlement based on your injuries and their knowledge of similar settlements. If the insurer refuses to offer you the compensation that you deserve, they will take the case to a jury and request that they find in your favor.
Keep in mind that you have a limited amount of time to pursue a pedestrian accident claim. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is just 2 years. For this reason, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after being hit by a car.
Damages in a Pedestrian Accident Case
In a personal injury case, the losses that an accident victim suffers are referred to as damages. These damages typically fall into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic damages are considered compensatory damages.
Economic damages are designed to compensate you for direct financial losses. After a pedestrian accident, your economic damages may include medical bills, future medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, and reduced earning capacity. Depending on your specific injuries, you may also claim economic damages for things like adapting your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability.
Non-economic damages compensate injury victims for intangible losses. These types of losses can be harder to quantify, as you cannot introduce an invoice or a pay stub to prove that you suffered emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or pain and suffering. However, your pedestrian accident lawyer will put together a claim for non-economic damages based on their experience and reports from experts in the field.
Finally, punitive damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. They require proof that the at-fault driver acted intentionally or recklessly, such as in a drunk driving case. In West Virginia, punitive damages are capped at the greater of 4 times compensatory damages or $500,000.
The best way to get full compensation for your losses is by working with a Charleston, WV pedestrian accident lawyer. Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover 40% higher settlements, compared to people who represent themselves. If you have been struck by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian, our law firm will help you get maximum compensation.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Case With A Lawyer
Being hit by a car while you are out for a walk or a run is incredibly traumatic. In the aftermath, you may not know how to get justice for your injuries. Our law firm is here for you.
Based in Charleston, WV, the attorneys of Johnstone & Gabhart are dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation that they deserve. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To get in touch and schedule an appointment with our Charleston pedestrian injury lawyers, call 877-416-5457 or email the firm.