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 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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