Since 1948, CCD Law has helped injury victims in Spokane, including those pedestrians that have been involved in accidents. We’ve handled numerous cases like yours with a track record of success. Let our team help you in navigating the legal process and aiding your path to recovery. Contact us today to set up a free consultation if you’ve been involved in one of these accidents.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Getting hurt in an accident is far from ideal, but when you’re a pedestrian, the challenges are often more significant. This is true both in terms of the potential injuries you’ll experience and the legal process in general. That said, the question as to whether or not you need a lawyer is going to depend on your particular situation. If your accident was minor with just small injuries, you probably don’t need our help.
However, if your pedestrian accident is more typical, it’s likely you’ll be facing more serious injuries and other problems. This is where our team comes in. Here’s how we generally approach these cases:
- Investigating the accident – The first thing we’ll do in our initial meeting with you is evaluate your claim and inform you of your options. We understand how the law works, and once you have a viable claim and want to move forward, we’ll get to work on investigating the accident and figuring out who is responsible.
- Legal guidance – Insurance companies often attempt to minimize payouts, but our team has the experience and dedication necessary to strengthen your claim. We meticulously assess the true value of your claim, considering all the ways the accident has impacted you. We gather compelling evidence to support your case and make sure we can maximize your claim’s value.
- Protecting your interests – Insurance companies have their legal teams to protect their interests. With our personal injury team by your side, you’ll have the same protection. Our team stands up for you, and takes care of any unfair tactics from the insurance company and works toward a fair and just settlement.
- Making the process easier – The legal process can be stressful, especially during recovery from an injury. Our team takes on the responsibility for all communication, paperwork, and legal tasks, easing your burden and allowing you to focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
What to do after the accident
Just like it’s important to take steps to learn and explore your legal options, it’s equally important to take certain steps right after the accident happens. This will not only protect your health, but the viability of your overall claim. Here’s a few things you’ll need to do:
- Get medical help right away – Your health is the most important thing. Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, see a doctor. Some injuries might not show up right away.
- Report the accident – After the accident, call the local police to the scene. They will create a report, which is important for your claim.
- Exchange information – Get the contact and insurance details from the driver involved, or from anyone else that played a part in the accident. Give them your information too.
- Talk to witnesses – Collect contact information from any witnesses. What they saw can be important.
- Document the scene – Use your phone or camera to take pictures of the accident scene, like damage to the vehicles, your injuries, your property, and the road conditions.
- Call your insurance company – Let your insurance company know about the accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. They need to be kept up to date on what happened.
- Preserve any evidence – Save records of your medical treatment, bills, and any other costs from the accident. These will be important for your case.
- Follow your treatment plan – Do what your doctor says for your recovery. It’s good for your health and shows you’re taking steps to get better.
- Don’t admit fault – Only talk about the accident with your lawyer or the authorities. Don’t admit fault or say things to the insurance company without legal advice.
- Keep track of your damages – Keep records of how the accident changed your life, like missed work, emotional stress, or changes in your daily routine.
Remember, each pedestrian accident is different, and what you need to do might change based on what happened. Talking to our experienced Spokane personal injury lawyers can help you get the right advice for your situation.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Whether a crosswalk is marked or not, Washington law clearly gives pedestrians the right-of-way at intersections. Motorists are required to stop or slow down when a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection. Some common causes of accidents between motorists and pedestrian accidents are:
- Failing to stop or slow down at a marked crosswalk or intersection
- Not coming to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign
- Failure to yield the right-of-way when turning or preparing to turn
- Distracted driving like using a cell phone or navigational device
- Driving while drunk or otherwise impaired
Liability After These Accidents
The first step in any pedestrian accident is to figure out who is responsible–or liable–for covering your injuries and other damages.
In a pedestrian accident, it’s usually pretty clear-cut: the responsibility lies with the person who hit you while you were walking, as they generally have an obligation to yield to pedestrians, especially at intersections and crosswalks–common spots for pedestrian accidents.
But if you’re thinking about filing an injury claim, proving liability is crucial to secure financial support for the injuries and damages you’ve gone through. Establishing fault involves showing that someone acted negligently, leading to the accident. Here are the key elements you need to prove:
- The at-fault party should have made an effort to avoid causing an accident or harm.
- The at-fault party failed to fulfill this duty due to careless actions.
- The accident happened because the at-fault neglected their duty.
- Injuries resulted from the at-fault party’s actions.
Generally, proving these elements helps show fault. However, because each accident is unique, others may share some of the liability.
For example, if a malfunctioning street sign or a damaged sidewalk caused the accident, the city might be partly at fault. Similarly, if the driver’s brakes malfunction, the manufacturer might share some responsibility.
Can I Be Responsible?
While it’s not common, as a pedestrian, you might sometimes share fault in an accident. This typically occurs when:
- Crossing the street in the wrong place
- Disregarding traffic lights or signs
- Darting into the street suddenly
- Crossing the street under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Even if you share some blame, you can still seek financial support for the harm. Illinois follows a “comparative negligence” law, meaning your eventual damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you bear more responsibility due to the mentioned factors, your damages will be adjusted accordingly.
Claims and Damages in These Accidents
Generally speaking, the way the legal process plays out depends on the circumstances of your particular accident. Outside of that, every claim will proceed following a general outline. Typically, you have two options:
- Filing an insurance claim
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit
Both of these options involve formally presenting what happened and demonstrating your injuries and damages. Subsequently, an insurance adjuster or a defense lawyer will represent the at-fault parties and investigate the claim on their behalf. While each case unfolds differently, the ultimate goal is for you to receive financial support known as “damages.” Potential recoverable damages in these claims cover:
- Medical expenses, which cover ambulance and emergency services, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, surgery, follow-up care, and medication.
- Future medical expenses, meant to cover your injuries if you require ongoing treatment with a permanent disability. You can also recover costs for things like wheelchairs, canes, or artificial limbs.
- Lost wages, which are designed to cover any income you lose from not being able to work. If your injuries permanently take away your ability to work, you may be eligible for financial support for the income you would have earned in the future.
- Pain and suffering damages are meant to cover the physical pain and discomfort resulting from the accident and your injuries.
- Emotional distress, which is for the psychological impact of the accident.
- Loss of companionship or quality of life damages, which cover losses stemming from significantly reduced quality of life and diminished ability to enjoy activities, as well as the impact on your personal relationships.
It’s crucial to understand that positive outcomes in the legal process aren’t guaranteed. Fortunately, our team’s guidance can significantly strengthen your case for optimal results.
As with any injury claim in Washington, there is a specific time frame in which you can file your claim. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” In Washington currently, you have:
- Three years from the date of your accident to file your claim.
Most pedestrian accidents leave lasting emotional and psychological damage beyond physical injuries, and our team is dedicated to ensuring you receive fair financial support for all your damages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Washington law gives pedestrians the right-of-way in a crosswalk if the signal is in favor of the pedestrian. However, the law also requires motorists to give due care to pedestrians even if they don’t have the right-of-way. Thus a motorist is supposed to try to avoid hitting a pedestrian even if the car has the right of way.
As a pedestrian, you can be partly negligent by stepping into the path of a car that has the right-of-way or walking in a crosswalk against the signal, among other ways.
You’re entitled to all the damages allowed under the law the same as if he or she was an occupant of a car. The law allows an injured person to collect economic (medical bills, lost time from work and non-economic damage (pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship).
Experienced Guidance From Spokane Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
When you or a loved one are facing a pedestrian accident in Spokane, you can turn to the experienced team at CCD Law for guidance. Since 1948, our Spokane personal injury lawyers have been guiding clients through the legal process with compassion and skill. To make sure that your rights are protected, contact us today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.