A pedestrian accident can be minor or devastating and everything in between.
When these incidents happen in the quiet community of Twin Falls, lives are shaken up. While some accidents result in little to no injury, others lead to significant physical trauma and other major losses like lost wages, permanent disability, or death. Emergency medical treatment is costly and ongoing treatments and therapies add up. Being hit by a vehicle can also cause emotional and mental strain. If you, a family member, or a friend has recently been involved in a pedestrian accident where your injuries result from someone’s negligence, you may be able to seek a settlement to pay for your personal injuries.
Book a free consultation with one of the personal injury lawyers at The Advocates law firm. It’s a risk-free way to explore your legal options.
There are traffic laws that both pedestrians and drivers are required to follow, but most accidents involving pedestrians are due to a driver’s negligence. Here are some more common reasons for pedestrian-related accidents in Twin Falls.
In many scenarios, pedestrians have the right of way, and a vehicle is required to yield. Controlled intersections and marked crosswalks are the most common. When a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian’s right of way, injuries are likely to occur. Drivers of cars turning right at red stop lights often forget that a pedestrian in a crosswalk takes priority and should be allowed to cross before the vehicle turns right. If a pedestrian is struck, the driver is at fault for the accident.
Driving over the speed limit is a common practice in Idaho. But speeding also frequently contributes to vehicular accidents. When a driver hits a pedestrian at excessive speeds, the outcome can be catastrophic. The faster a vehicle travels, the more difficult it is to control when a driver needs to respond safely to a situation.
Pedestrian accidents caused by speeding tend to result in serious injuries and death.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also a common cause of pedestrian-related accidents in Twin Falls. A driver who chooses to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking too much or while under the influence of drugs is incredibly dangerous. Impaired judgment and diminished reaction time lead to failures to stop, erratic driving, unintentional lane changes, and unsafe turns — all of which put pedestrians at significant risk.
Distracted driving is the most common cause of all vehicle accidents, many of which involve pedestrians. Any time a driver is distracted, their awareness of their surroundings is diminished, and reaction time is slowed. Drivers get focused on GPS units, text while driving, get absorbed in phone calls, or drive with one hand while eating and drinking. These situations make it difficult to respond in time, especially when trying to avoid a pedestrian in a crosswalk or suddenly stop because a driver didn’t see a stop sign or red light.
There are many causes for diminished visibility — nighttime driving, poor weather conditions, sun glare, malfunctioning headlights, or pedestrians wearing dark clothes in low-light conditions. If visibility is low, it is a driver’s responsibility to drive safely.
Even at low speeds, being struck by a vehicle is likely to lead to injuries. Regardless of the type of injury a pedestrian experiences, they can file a personal injury claim. The extent and type of injuries in a pedestrian-related crash can vary greatly. Here are some of the most common:
Accident victims are eligible for more than compensation for just their injuries. Settlements are determined by all the following:
Not every victim of a pedestrian accident is able to get compensation for their injuries and related losses. In Idaho, the law operates on comparative negligence. This means fault for an accident is based on a percentage of responsibility. In Twin Falls, a pedestrian can seek compensation for damages if they are found to be 49% or less at fault for the accidents. Zero fault equals 100% compensation of a claim amount, and 49% fault equals 51% compensation of a claim amount. But if you are 50% or more at fault, you are not eligible for compensation.
In Idaho, there are no limitations on economic damages like lost wages, medical bills, etc., but non-economic damages have a cap. This maximum amount is currently $250,000 and is determined by the Idaho Industrial Commission.
Pedestrian accident victims often ask, “can I file my claim on my own to seek a settlement?” Doing so is not impossible, but hiring legal help is a good idea.
Most accident victims believe they deserve an extensive damage settlement. But, as previously stated, not everyone involved in a pedestrian accident is eligible for compensation. This means an accurate fault assessment is critical. And doing this on your own can be very difficult and extremely time-consuming.
With the help of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer or attorney, you will know if you are eligible for financial compensation.
Even if you have the facts and evidence to prove a driver is at fault, presenting them in a convincing way to an insurance company or in a court of law can be highly challenging. A lawyer can help navigate the complex legal procedures of a personal injury claim.
While hiring an accident lawyer doesn’t guarantee a win, it does increase the chances of a ruling in your favor. Attorneys are experts in navigating the tactics insurance companies use to reduce your compensation.
Hiring an accident lawyer can increase a compensation claim by two or three times compared to fighting the case on your own. Once you file a suit and a lawyer establishes the driver’s fault, they will try for an out-of-court settlement by negotiating with the insurance company.
If the insurer doesn’t offer the desired compensation, your attorney will then take your case to court so that you can get a fair damage settlement.
It is crucial to hire an attorney vs. a lawyer. An attorney is a lawyer who can litigate a case or take a claim to the courts. A lawyer who is not an attorney cannot take your personal injury case to trial.
Collecting the evidence and documents necessary to prove a driver is at fault can be all-consuming. Once you have the correct information, it can take months to negotiate with an insurance company before a settlement is reached. And certain cases require paperwork to be completed within strict deadlines.
The Advocates’ pedestrian accident lawyers can expedite the process by handling all the paperwork, dealing with the insurance companies, reducing the likelihood of errors, and ensuring filing deadlines are met.
The Advocates’ attorneys are your ally. They handle all aspects of your claim, so you don’t have to. Once you hire one of our attorneys, they will:
After your free consultation, the process begins with your lawyer investigating your accident. They will collect evidence, examine the facts, interview witnesses, and determine the cause of the crash. This foundation of your accident claim helps establish the negligence of the driver.
Once the investigation is complete, your attorney will prepare your case file and submit demand letters to all insurance companies involved.
Few insurance companies will accept a demand letter at the beginning of a claim. The insurer will likely attempt to reduce the settlement amount by blaming the victim and minimizing injuries. They may even reject the claim.
A qualified pedestrian accident attorney from The Advocates knows how to deal with insurance adjusters and avoid compromises. Our team has years of experience working directly with insurance companies.
Should your case go to trial, your attorney will take care of everything from case preparation to litigation. Remember, litigation requires an attorney. A personal injury lawyer who is not an attorney cannot represent you in court.
There are several things you can do to strengthen your case. Several of these helpful strategies can be completed prior to contacting an attorney.
The most important thing to do after a pedestrian-related accident is to seek medical attention. Early treatment of injuries means you will have a better chance of recovery and ensures your injuries are documented by a licensed medical practitioner. This is critical because your medical records provide crucial evidence for your personal injury claim.
Early treatment also prevents insurance companies from claiming injuries your injuries are unrelated to your accident.
In addition to being seen by a medical professional, you should photograph and video your injuries. Your attorney can use photos and videos to help prove the extent of your injuries.
You should always call 911 or dispatch after an accident. This will guarantee the appropriate emergency services arrives at the scene. Doing so will also trigger a police report. A police report is critical for you as a victim because it serves as legal documentation to back your claim. An officer will document the details of the case, take photos, and speak with witnesses.
Insurers usually require accident victims to inform them of an incident within a certain timeframe. We recommend involving one of our attorneys for this step to guarantee everything is done in a timely fashion and to prevent an insurer from using your word against you.
Under no circumstances should you discuss an accident with anyone. This includes the driver, insurance adjusters, or insurance companies without your attorney present. It is common for these conversations to be turned against the victim and can reduce the settlement amount.
We recommend contacting The Advocates immediately after an accident.
In Idaho, an accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit for losses from a pedestrian accident up to 3 years after the day the accident happened. However, the sooner you can file your claim, the better. Waiting to file a claim years later can make gathering evidence, speaking to witnesses, and determining fault more challenging.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, The Advocates can help. Contact us today.