Pedestrian accidents are a major problem here in Port Richey, so you need to know your legal rights after a pedestrian accident. The experienced Port Richey pedestrian accident lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers are here to help. Learn more about Port Richey, what to do after a pedestrian accident, who must compensate you for your injuries, how much compensation you deserve, and how to deal with common insurance company tactics to try to get out of paying you fair compensation for your injuries.
Port Richey has many wonderful walking paths and trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers can enjoy the Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park or the James E. Grey Preserve. Oelsner Park and the Port Richey Waterfront Park provide beautiful views of the water, while Grand Boulevard Park and Pinehill Park offer playground options for younger family members. With so many options for walking paths, trails, and recreation, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the great outdoors of Port Richey.
Our walkable city accommodates those who are more inclined toward more urban areas. We have bars, restaurants, shops, and other entertainment. And just a few miles south of us in New Port Richey, the New Port Richey Main Street offers a wide variety of options for entertainment. Attractions on Main Street celebrate the history of Florida settlers while also providing the modern conveniences of dining and drinking, art, and recreation (such as boating and golfing).
Exploring Port Richey often involves walking, whether you are in an entertainment area or enjoying nature. When you walk, you are inherently at risk of being the victim of a pedestrian accident.
According to the Miami Herald, Florida had a per capita pedestrian fatality rate that was nearly double the national average over a decade. This means that pedestrians are far more likely to be struck and killed here in Florida than in other parts of the country.
An auto accident can overwhelm you. With so much chaos, and many different people confusing the accident scene, you might now know what to do. The most important thing to do after any auto accident, however, is to see if anyone needs medical attention, including yourself.
Some serious injuries that pedestrians might suffer are:
If you need an ambulance, be sure that someone calls 911 right away. The sooner you get medical attention for your injuries, the better your chances of recovery will be. Help anyone else on the scene who suffered injuries, and be sure to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. This will help prevent secondary accidents that often happen when passing drivers start “rubbernecking” to see the accident scene.
Even if no one needs immediate medical attention, it is still important to call 911. A law enforcement officer can determine if another driver committed a crime. The pedestrian accident might have happened due to a driver’s impairment, distraction, or other traffic infractions. Police need to issue traffic citations to anyone who violated the law. Make sure that police write and file a report.
When you file an injury claim with the driver’s insurance company, the police report often contains important evidence the company uses to determine who was at fault for the accident.
When everything seems settled at the scene of the accident, you should make a plan for getting medical treatment. Even if you do not feel injured, see a doctor as soon as possible, because some injuries do not show up right away.
Internal bleeding, for example, does not always leave a physical mark on your body. A doctor might only find this injury after observing low blood pressure. Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash are common, and you might not feel symptoms for hours – or even days – after an accident. By seeing a doctor, you are protecting your health by ruling out serious injuries and by initiating treatment as soon as possible.
You are also protecting your legal right to compensation because, if you delay seeing a doctor, the insurance company could claim that you made your injuries worse or they stemmed from another incident. As soon as your physical condition is stable, your next step should always be to consult with a Port Richey personal injury lawyer for free.
There are many reasons why pedestrian accidents happen, including:
The person who is responsible for causing an accident also has a legal obligation to compensate injury victims of that accident. This is why insurance companies start injury claims by determining who was at fault for causing a particular accident. Liability can be difficult to identify or prove, and parties often challenge claims of liability. Sometimes, an insurance company will deny liability altogether in an attempt to get out of paying you for your injuries.
This is why you need an experienced injury attorney on your side. Personal injury lawyers understand the legal issues of liability and how to respond to liability challenges.
In some cases, liability might fall on a third party or company that was nowhere near the scene of the accident. If, for example, a car had inherently defective brakes, causing a driver to hit a pedestrian instead of stopping, the manufacturing company would be liable for all pedestrian injuries resulting from this defect. The pedestrian might have a claim against the manufacturer, the driver, or both.
This can become a complicated legal issue of liability – and you can bet that both defendants will try to pin the blame on the other. This is why you need an experienced lawyer fighting on your side. A skilled injury attorney can help you find all potential defendants, so you do not miss out on any source of compensation. Your attorney will also know how to prove liability and stand up for your right to recover from all liable parties.
For many injury victims, the first – and most important – question they have for their lawyer is, “how much is my claim worth?” Victims with medical bills who can’t work need as much as possible to fairly compensate them for their injuries.
After an injury resulting from someone else’s conduct, the law entitles you to compensation for all the medical bills you incur as a result of the accident. This includes physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other rehabilitative services. This also includes future medical expenses that you will incur for long-term (or permanent) injuries. Your attorney might need to hire expert witnesses, such as a life care planner or an economist, to project these future expenses.
You can also seek compensation for all lost wages resulting from an accident. This can simply entail multiplying the number of hours lost by your hourly income. If you get paid a salary, you can prorate your hourly wage based on a 40-hour workweek. But if you lost overtime, commissions, bonuses, or other compensation, it can be a little more difficult to prove these losses. Your attorney will know how to get the appropriate documentation from your employer to support a claim for all the wages you have lost.
If you suffered permanent injuries, you might suffer a permanent decrease in your earning capacity. This can occur if you are limited to part-time work or restricted from physical labor. In such a case, the defendant should compensate you for the difference between your income before the accident and after it. This might require expert testimony from an economist or vocational expert to prove what you can reasonably earn in the job market and what the exact value of your lost wages would be.
You can generally prove the above economic damages with receipts and documentation from your employer. But your intangible losses are more difficult to prove. This is the pain and suffering you must endure as a result of the accident and your injuries. These “noneconomic” damages are often the largest component of a personal injury award, so they are a common target for insurance companies.
The claims adjuster will likely try to tell you that your claim isn’t worth very much or pressure you to settle before you can investigate the full amount of your pain and suffering. This is why you need to hire a skilled personal injury lawyer to evaluate your claim. Only someone on your side can tell you the fair value of your claim.
This is just one of many tactics the insurance company might use to try to get out of paying you. If they can reduce the percentage of liability on their driver, they will only have to pay you a portion of the damages you claim. If they can get their driver’s liability down to zero, they do not have to pay anything. This is why it is important to fight to prove that the driver was at fault and not you.
Your lawyer might have to hire an accident reconstruction expert to do this. You might need eyewitnesses to testify about what they saw happen. There are many ways to establish what happened, and your attorney will know how to use them to defend your claim against this type of attack.
Another common insurance company tactic is to simply make a lowball offer. This can occur shortly after the accident. A claims adjuster might pressure you to settle quickly before you can investigate your injuries and find out how much your claim is really worth. They will promise you a quick payment in exchange for your signature. While this might seem tempting, it can prevent you from getting all the compensation you should receive. Insurance companies know this – that is why they try so hard to get you to settle quickly.
If you do investigate the claim, the insurance company might still make a low offer. They have many excuses for why they won’t make a fair offer, such as the insurance company might say that you didn’t get treatment quickly enough, or that you got more medical treatment than was needed. (This is particularly common with chiropractic bills.) They might say that your pain and suffering must have been low because your medical bills were low.
This approach, of course, does not take into account your personal experience with your specific injuries. Your attorney will have the opportunity to prove the full value of your pain and suffering. If the insurance company still will not offer a fair settlement, then your attorney might recommend that you file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. This will allow you to present your case to a jury, though you will not necessarily have to go to court. Sometimes, the mere act of filing a lawsuit is enough to encourage the insurance company to make a fair offer.
If a driver hits you while walking on the street, you have important legal rights that you must protect. Negligent drivers have a legal obligation to compensate injury victims for their injuries and losses, but this is not an easy process.
The experienced Port Richey pedestrian accident lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers fight hard for injury victims. We know how to prove your losses to protect your legal right to compensation. Contact our office to schedule your free consultation. You don’t have to face the other guy’s insurance company on your own.
You may not know what to do after being hit by a car—especially if you were never in this type of accident before.
Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers prepared this guide of common questions to help prepare you for the claims process. Of course, we cannot answer all of your questions here. We also cannot give you advice specific to your unique situation. This is why you need to meet with a pedestrian accident attorney about your case. But in the meantime, we hope this guide helps you take control of the process and not feel quite so overwhelmed by your ordeal.
In Port Richey, pedestrian accidents are likely to occur where lots of people try to cross the road among traffic. Be especially careful in shopping centers – especially around busy seasons. There will be lots of cars and pedestrians trying to navigate their way in the same area, and the confusion and frustration can often cause collisions.
The Piers, the Gulf View Square Mall, Embassy Crossing Shopping Center, the Shoppes at Golden Acres, and the Ridge Plaza Shopping Center can congest with traffic and pedestrians. Closer to New Port Richey, busy shopping centers include Richey Plaza, East Richey Square, Vanderbilt Square, and the Southgate Shopping Center. Use extra caution when walking in these areas.
Pedestrians should also take care in parking lots. Drivers are trying to back up and watch traffic in several different directions. This can make it difficult to see pedestrians in the area. Never assume a driver can see you. Always wait to make eye contact with the driver, and give cars plenty of space while they are in reverse.
Your immediate priority after any traffic accident should be the health and safety of everyone on the scene. Call for an ambulance if anyone suffered injuries. Even if you don’t know whether anyone will need to go to the hospital, get medical professionals on the scene to evaluate your injuries. Emergency medical technicians know how to move patients safely without exacerbating their injuries. This is a critical step in ensuring that you have the best possible chance of making the best possible recovery.
You should also move out of the path of oncoming traffic. Find a safe place on the side of the road, away from traffic, where you can wait for the police to arrive. If you don’t know whether your injuries will allow you to move safely, ask the 911 dispatcher whether you should wait for the ambulance to arrive.
Once you address your immediate medical needs, the law enforcement officers who respond to the scene will ask for your statement about how the accident occurred. Feel free to share all the information you have with the police, but never apologize or accept liability. Never discuss the accident with the other driver. The police will help facilitate the exchange of insurance information as well.
If you do not leave the accident scene in an ambulance, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Find an emergency department or urgent care facility in your local area. You might get an appointment with your primary care provider, but do not wait for an appointment.
You could have injuries that you do not know about. Internal bleeding, concussions, and other injuries may not show up right away, but they can quickly create a life-threatening situation if you do not receive timely treatment. Only a qualified medical professional can determine whether you suffered injuries in the accident and what type of medical treatment you need.
There are many types of injuries a person can sustain in a pedestrian accident. Pedestrians do not have a seat belt, airbags, or even a helmet to protect them in a collision. Their injuries are often far more serious than those of drivers or passengers—who have protections like the metal frame of the vehicle. Almost any area of the body can sustain serious injuries when a car hits a pedestrian.
Some of the most serious injuries involve the head and brain. Your brain has protection from both the skull and a bath of cerebrospinal fluid, but these protections are often not enough to prevent brain injuries when a car hits you (or causes you to hit the road, trees, or other nearby objects). Serious brain injuries can lead to speech impediments, cognitive defects, and behavioral changes. Even seemingly minor concussions can have serious and lasting effects. Permanent brain injuries can leave a victim unable to walk or speak, and the most serious brain injuries can be fatal.
Other less severe injuries are common in pedestrian accidents. Broken bones and orthopedic injuries can occur due to trauma to your bones in a crash. Soft tissue injuries involving the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can hurt incredibly. Insurance companies like to downplay the value of these injuries because there is no dramatic bleeding or other outward signs of injuries, but injury victims should not accept a lowball settlement offer. Some of these injuries will result in a lifetime of pain and discomfort.
The type of medical treatment you need will depend on the injuries you suffered. Some injuries, like concussions and whiplash, might need diagnostic testing and monitoring. Other injuries require expensive surgeries and lengthy hospital stays. Follow your doctor’s advice and get all the medical treatment that they recommend. Injuries that do not receive proper treatment tend to become worse.
More importantly, the driver’s insurance company can say that you made your own injuries worse by not following your doctor’s recommendations and refuse to compensate you for this added pain and suffering. Following your doctor’s recommendations will give you the best possible chance of recovery and protect your legal rights. If you do not have medical insurance or have concerns about the cost of your medical bills, talk with your injury lawyer about your situation. There are many financial options to get the treatment you need.
There are many ways, large and small, that a pedestrian accident injury can affect your life. Many victims suffer from pain for the rest of their lives. Even if this pain is only minor or intermittent, you still have the legal right to receive compensation for it.
Some people can’t participate in hobbies, such as sports, that were a big part of their lives. This is a significant decrease in the enjoyment of your life. This, too, is a compensable loss.
Further, imagine if you can’t return to work for an extended time. Not only are you missing out on wages and employment benefits, but you are also missing the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with a job well done. If you are out of work for a long time, you will likely worry about your family’s future.
All of these losses are very real – even if they might be difficult to value. Injury victims often deserve a pain and suffering award that fairly compensates them for all of these intangible losses. In many cases, pain and suffering is the largest component of a Port Richey pedestrian accident award. This is only one reason why you need to work with an experienced injury lawyer who knows how to prove the value of intangible losses.
Sadly, not all pedestrians make a full recovery from their injuries. Some accidents can leave a victim with injuries that will last a lifetime. If you suffer permanent injuries, you will have permanent losses. Your medical bills and lost wages can accrue for the rest of your life. You will likely endure physical pain and emotional suffering for the rest of your life, as well, and these are also losses that are compensable in a Port Richey pedestrian accident lawsuit. But how can you prove the value of your losses that have not yet accrued?
Our Port Richey pedestrian accident lawyers can work with expert witnesses to project the future costs of your injuries. A life care planner can testify about the estimated cost of the medical treatment you will need for the rest of your life. An economic expert can make calculations to project the value of your lost wages and employment benefits and adjust these figures for inflation.
Claims adjusters and juries use these estimates to project the future value of your claim. Juries can also determine awards for your future pain and suffering. Your exact costs may turn out a little differently than the projections, but these experts have experience in making estimates that are accurate as possible.
Serious injuries can sometimes prevent a victim from going back to work for an extended time. Some victims return to work, but only for limited hours or with restricted work duties due to their physical limitations. In the most serious cases, an injury victim might never return to any gainful employment.
In all of these cases, the victim loses wages as a result of their injuries. Negligent defendants must compensate injury victims for the difference in their income before and after the accident. This includes bonuses, overtime, commissions, and other forms of employee compensation. It also includes the value of any lost employment benefits (such as health insurance sponsored by your employer or retirement contributions from your employer).
Defense lawyers will often challenge the value of lost wages – especially if the victim’s doctors say that he or she never returns to work again. In these cases, it is common for the defense to hire a vocational expert to assess the victim’s ability to perform some type of work. The defense might also ask for an Independent Medical Examination (IME) by their own doctor. The IME is a second medical opinion about the victim’s injuries.
Though it can feel inconvenient and invasive to undergo an assessment by the defense experts, they do have a right to have their experts assess your injuries and losses. You want to make sure your own attorney is ready to stand up for the damages you deserve.
The person who is legally at fault (liable) for causing an accident also has a legal obligation to compensate victims of that accident for the injuries and losses they suffer. In a pedestrian accident, this is often the driver who struck you.
But there are many other potential defendants. If, for example, the driver’s brakes failed, you might have a product liability claim against the auto manufacturer. If a construction truck driven by a negligent employee struck you, the construction company can also cause your injuries.
There are many potential defendants in a pedestrian accident case, and you need a lawyer who can find all of them so that you do not miss out on any of the compensation you deserve. Only an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can fully assess who was at fault and whether any other individuals or companies might also bear liability.
Following an injury, never wait to have an experienced attorney at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers evaluate your rights and possible liability for your pedestrian accident.
If you are a pedestrian hit by a negligent driver, you have legal rights that must be protected. The Port Richey personal injury lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers have helped many injured pedestrians get the compensation they deserve. Call (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation. Don’t delay—the sooner you have an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer fighting on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.
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