As pedestrians, we navigate our daily lives with an inherent vulnerability. Whether we’re crossing an intersection, strolling along a quiet sidewalk, or simply stepping off a curb, we’re exposed to the risks of the road with no physical barriers to shield us from potential harm. This vulnerability, when contrasted with the sheer size and velocity of motor vehicles, often culminates in severe, life-altering injuries when accidents occur.
Regrettably, pedestrian injuries are far from rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 100,000 pedestrians fall victim to accidents annually across the United States.
If you or a loved one has been thrust into this unfortunate scenario, you may find yourself grappling with a whirlwind of questions and uncertainties. Amid the physical pain and emotional turmoil, one question likely stands out: What are your rights after sustaining injuries due to the negligence of a reckless driver?
I Was Walking and Got Hit By a Car
If you’ve been hit by a car while walking, it’s a shocking and frightening experience. We know you may be dealing with serious injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. It’s important to know that you have rights and legal options in this situation.
I Was Hit by a Car on the Sidewalk
Being hit by a car while on a sidewalk is a particularly alarming experience. Sidewalks are supposed to be safe spaces for pedestrians, separated from the dangers of the roadway. However, accidents can still occur due to reckless drivers.
In Indiana, the law is clear: drivers are required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a roadway, and this includes sidewalks. This is stated in the Indiana Code, and if a driver fails to uphold this duty and hits a pedestrian, they can be held liable for the resulting damages.
What Are My Legal Rights in Indiana?
In Indiana, pedestrians have rights that are protected by law. If you’ve been hit by a car while walking, it’s important to understand these rights so you can take the necessary steps to protect your interests and seek the compensation you deserve.
Right to Compensation
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Indiana, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. At our law firm, we can help you calculate these damages properly to claim fair compensation.
The types of compensation available in Indiana include:
- Economic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and any out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury.
- Non-economic damages for intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
It’s important to note that the amount and type of compensation you may receive depend on the specifics of your case, including the severity of your injuries and the extent of your financial losses.
Right to File a Lawsuit
If the driver’s insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the driver. In Indiana, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit, as stated in Indiana Code § 34-11-2.
Right to Legal Representation
You also have the right to legal representation. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for the maximum compensation on your behalf.
In some cases, you’ll need to follow a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If that’s your case, your lawyer will gather the necessary evidence to prove negligence and build a strong case on your behalf.
If a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle and the driver is uninsured or underinsured, then this is where UM/UIM coverage comes into play.
Here’s how UM/UIM coverage can potentially be used in a pedestrian accident scenario:
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: If the at-fault driver responsible for the pedestrian accident doesn’t have auto insurance, the pedestrian’s UM coverage can step in to provide compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. UM coverage essentially acts as a substitute for the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
- Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage: If the at-fault driver has insurance but their policy limits are insufficient to cover the pedestrian’s damages fully, the pedestrian’s UIM coverage can bridge the gap between the at-fault driver’s insurance limits and the actual cost of the pedestrian’s injuries and losses.
Both UM/UIM can be used after a bicycle accident injury in Indiana as well if they were struck by a vehicle.
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Indiana roads are now more dangerous than ever, with a record of pedestrian accidents in the last year. At our law firm, we work tirelessly to assist victims who have suffered many types of injuries, helping them recover by claiming fair compensation. Here are some of the most common injuries that pedestrians may sustain in an accident:
- Fractures and broken bones – from minor fractures that heal with rest and immobilization to severe ones that require surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries that often result in partial or complete paralysis, affecting a person’s mobility and quality of life.
- Whiplash – leading to neck pain, stiffness, and other complications.
In worst cases, the family of the victims has to go through the devastating experience of losing a loved one due to the negligence of a reckless driver. The city of Indianapolis is seeing an alarming number of wrongful deaths in pedestrian accidents.
Predominant Types of Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Pedestrian accidents can occur in a variety of ways, often due to the negligence or recklessness of drivers. Here are some of the most common types of accidents that result in pedestrian injuries:
- Drunk Driving Accidents: Impaired drivers pose a significant risk to pedestrians. Their ability to react quickly to sudden situations is compromised, and they often fail to notice pedestrians on the road or sidewalk.
- Speeding Accidents: Drivers who exceed the speed limit may not have enough time to stop or swerve when they see a pedestrian. High-speed impacts can result in severe, often fatal injuries.
- Driver Fatigue Accidents: Tired drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk drivers. Fatigue can slow reaction time, affect a driver’s ability to make good decisions, and can even lead to falling asleep at the wheel.
- Rollover Accidents: These accidents can be particularly dangerous for pedestrians. A vehicle that rolls over can end up on the sidewalk or in other areas where pedestrians are present.
Also, in some unfortunate cases, the driver involved in the accident may flee the scene without stopping to help or report the accident. These hit-and-run incidents can make it more challenging to identify the at-fault party and seek compensation.
Regardless of your situation, we are here to analyze the unique circumstances of your case and help you find justice. If you have a car accident case, don’t hesitate to contact us to request a free consultation.