Pedestrian accidents can occur in many ways in and around Zephyrhills. A driver might be texting instead of paying attention to the road, or a motorcycle rider might try to beat a red light while someone is starting to cross. Regardless of what caused the accident, pedestrian accident victims injured by negligent drivers have the right to be compensated by the people who caused their injuries.
Protect this right by consulting with an experienced Zephyrhills pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as you can after an accident. A lawyer can help you file your claim, determine the full value of your losses, and protect you from insurance company tactics designed to get you to settle your case for less than it is really worth. Call us today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.
There are many lovely walking paths in and around Zephyrhills. Outdoor enthusiasts might enjoy Zephyr Park or the Gunner Paw Park, an excellent place to walk and play with your dog. Hikers might also enjoy the walking paths along the Upper Hillsboro Trail or the Colt Creek State Park Yellow Trail. Main Street Zephyrhills provides shopping, dining, and entertainment in the bustling downtown district for those interested in a more urban walk.
The more traffic there is, however, the more likely it is that an accident will occur. Pedestrians should be careful when walking downtown or in other busy areas where traffic may be present. They should also be aware of their surroundings in parking lots, where drivers who are backing their cars out of spaces may not be paying attention to those walking around them. Always use caution when walking at night, in parking garages, during inclement weather, and any other time of limited visibility.
Unlike operators of motor vehicles, pedestrians have no protection from the force of impact at the time of a collision. Vehicle occupants are protected well by airbags, seat belts, vehicle bumpers designed to absorb an impact, and even the frame of the vehicle itself. Motorcycle riders have helmets and riding leathers to protect them. Even bicyclists usually have the protection of a helmet, a critical safety measure that can prevent the wearer from sustaining a fatal brain injury during an accident.
Of course, pedestrians have none of these protections, which is why high-speed collisions are often fatal. A secondary impact frequently follows the initial impact of the vehicle, with a pedestrian being thrown to the ground or against another object, like a tree or wall. This second impact can result in injuries that are as bad or worse than those sustained from the first impact.
While almost any part of your body could sustain an injury from a pedestrian accident, here are some of the most common injuries:
The most severe injuries can result in death. If a pedestrian passes away due to their injuries, surviving family members may be able to file wrongful death claims against the at-fault driver.
In an ideal world where drivers stop and look left, right, then left again before driving and pedestrians only cross at crosswalks, pedestrian accidents would not happen. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world, and pedestrians are injured by negligent motorists every day around the United States.
Some of the more common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
If you have recently been injured in a pedestrian accident and are home and considering your next steps, it’s important to know there are still things you can do to protect your rights.
Some of the steps you should take include:
Florida law entitles people who are injured by the negligence of others to compensation for their accident-related losses. Often, these losses include tangible losses (those documented with receipts or bills) and intangible losses (such as a decrease in the victim’s quality of life). Future losses (anticipated losses not having taken place yet, such as surgeries or future lost income) can also be sought in personal injury claims.
If an injury victim misses a few days or a few weeks of work, it is relatively easy to calculate their lost wages. The employer will provide documentation of the employee’s pay rate and the number of work hours missed. Multiply these figures together to calculate the exact amount of wages the victim was unable to collect.
If the employer pays on a salary basis, the figure can be prorated based on a 40-hour workweek. If an employee can prove that they also missed out on bonuses, commissions, or over-time due to the accident, compensation may be available for these as well.
Some injuries are so severe that they permanently affect the victim’s ability to work and earn a living. Some injury victims can only return to part-time employment after an accident. Others must take a lightened workload that comes with lower pay. In the most serious cases, an injury victim might not be able to return to work at all.
These circumstances also result in lost wages that the at-fault party is obligated to compensate. The at-fault party may also be responsible for paying for the employee’s lost health insurance, employer contributions to a retirement fund, and any other employment benefits that the victim missed as a result of the accident. The number of factors can make it difficult to project the exact value of future earnings in need of compensation.
A personal injury attorney will almost always hire an expert to calculate these expenses and act as an expert witness on the issue of their value.
On the other side, a defense lawyer might argue that the victim is actually able to return to work and is merely choosing not to do so. The defense is allowed to hire a vocational expert to assess the victim’s ability to return to work. If the vocational expert determines that the victim can return to work, they will also assess the wages they could earn in the job market with their current physical limitations.
The plaintiff is permitted to hire their own vocational expert as a rebuttal witness to the defense expert. Often, these cases come down to which expert is more persuasive to the jury. For this reason, victims must retain an experienced attorney, especially when future lost income is at issue.
An at-fault driver has a legal obligation to pay for all medical bills incurred from their negligence. Typically, this obligation is discharged by the driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies and their lawyers may challenge the total value of the medical bills or try to claim the treatments were related to a pre-existing condition. An injury victim has the right to hire medical experts to testify about the necessity of their medical treatment.
Many injury victims require medical care long after their personal injury case is over. An at-fault party is still responsible for the ongoing medical care that was made necessary by their negligence.
To determine the value of an adequate settlement, the cost of your future medical expenses must be estimated before you resolve your personal injury claim. You might require an expert witness (such as a life-care planner) to testify about the types of medical care you will need. An economist could calculate the value of this care.
Once your claim comes to a resolution, either through a settlement or through a jury verdict, you can no longer go back to claim additional expenses from the at-fault driver. A personal injury lawyer who knows how to account properly for future medical expenses is absolutely essential.
Many injury victims require rehabilitative services to recover their health and well-being. Rehabilitation might include physical therapy, occupational or vocational therapy, speech therapy, or chiropractic services. All of these services can dramatically improve the quality of an accident victim’s life.
Unfortunately, insurance companies will most likely challenge the cost of these services. Rehabilitative services use more subjective indicators of success (such as whether the victim’s level of pain has decreased) instead of the objective measures of success used in some fields of medicine. Defense attorneys may argue that the service is excessive, no longer needed, or was never necessary in the first place. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to defend your claim against these attacks.
Unlike rehabilitative services, calculating the cost of property damage is much more straightforward and is neatly itemized on a repair bill or replacement receipt. Although they wouldn’t have a damaged vehicle, pedestrians may still have property damage. Perhaps your expensive cell phone, laptop, or smartwatch was broken in the accident. You can seek compensation for any personal property damaged in a pedestrian accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
You are also entitled to compensation for your intangible losses (also known as non-economic damages). Such a loss might be a decrease in the quality of your life or the inability to participate in a beloved hobby. Perhaps you can no longer play sports because of your injuries, or maybe you simply lost the sense of pride that comes from having a successful career.
Though these losses are subjective, they are very real, and you are entitled to compensation for them. The law collectively refers to these intangible losses as pain and suffering. As the name implies, the loss includes compensation for the physical pain of your injuries and the emotional suffering of being involved in an accident.
Pain and suffering is usually the largest component of a personal injury award. It is also the most subjective, meaning the insurance company will try to devalue it as much as possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know what a fair compensation offer should be in your case. He or she will also know how to prove the specific nature of your pain and suffering to come to a satisfying settlement offer or prove your case to a jury.
If you don’t get a fair settlement offer, you will almost certainly need an attorney to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial. These tasks find quicker resolution in your favor if engaged an attorney in your case from the start.
No injury victim should have to deal with the insurance company on their own. Insurance companies are large corporations whose claims adjusters aim to pay as little on as few claims as possible. They also hire armies of lawyers to challenge every aspect of your personal injury claim. An injury victim inexperienced with insurance claims cannot fight these bullies, especially when you are recovering from injuries. You want a lawyer who will fight hard to protect your legal rights.
Call Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers at (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation. We have helped many Florida injury victims get the compensation they deserve, and we will fight for you too.
“The Nicoletti Law firm is by far the best law firm for your needs. The entire firm treats you as family and are there for you when needed the most. Above all else they will give you straight honest answers and guide you to the best outcome for your case. Highly recommend this firm.”
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NICOLETTI WALKER ACCIDENT INJURY LAWYERS – ST. ZEPHYRHILLS