If I’m a Pedestrian and Get Hit by a Car, Will Their Auto Insurance Pay?
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Being hit by a vehicle is one of the most painful experiences a person can endure. If you are a pedestrian and get hit by a car, you deserve not only compassion but compensation as well. The question is – who pays for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering? Below, let’s take a look at whether or not the at-fault driver’s auto insurance will compensate you after getting hit by their car.
Factors That Determine Pedestrian Compensation After Getting Hit by a Car
There are a few different factors that determine how much a pedestrian will receive after getting hit by a car. Most importantly, you need to look at what type of insurance the driver has and what kind of assets the driver has. You also need to look at the pedestrian’s level of negligence as well as the driver’s level of negligence. Was the pedestrian jaywalking? Was the driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
If it is determined that the defendant is 100% at fault for the accident, then his or her insurance company will pay for the plaintiff’s medical bills and other expenses. The plaintiff will only be compensated up to the limits of the defendant’s policy, however.
Most states have bodily injury liability limits in the $20,000 to $50,000 range. So, if you’re a pedestrian, get hit by a car, and are looking at medical bills greater than $50,000, you’ll either have to rely on your own health insurance coverage, pay your bills out of pocket, or sue the driver for further compensation.
The Handling of Medical Bills After the Accident
Many times, the at-fault driver denies fault for the accident. If this happens, his or her auto insurance provider will hesitate to pay the medical bills of the injured pedestrian. This could result in a legal battle in court.
Eventually, the medical bills will need to be paid. As stated above, if the injured pedestrian has health insurance, it will be used to pay the medical bills. The health insurance company will then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company.
If the plaintiff was working when he was struck by the vehicle, his or her’s worker’s compensation insurance provider will also be obligated to pay for the medical bills.
In some states, specifically no-fault states, it might even be possible for the injured pedestrian to collect payment from his or her auto insurance company. In certain no-fault states, insurance companies have to pay for all of its policyholder’s costs stemming from an automobile accident, regardless of who was at fault. So, as long there was a car collision, your auto insurance company might be obligated to pay for your damages as a pedestrian hit by a moving vehicle.
What About a Collision in Which the Driver or the Pedestrian Are Uninsured?
If the driver who strikes the pedestrian doesn’t have auto insurance or doesn’t have enough auto insurance coverage, then the pedestrian’s no-fault coverage (if available) or uninsured motorist coverage will pay for damages. The pedestrian can collect from his auto insurance company even though he wasn’t driving.
If both the driver and the pedestrian are uninsured or underinsured, then the pedestrian can seek damages from the driver in court. Depending on the assets of the driver, the pedestrian may be able to recover his losses. If the driver doesn’t have any assets, the pedestrian will need to pay for his medical bills out of pocket.
If the driver has insurance and the pedestrian is uninsured, the pedestrian will be able to seek damages from the driver’s insurance company. This is the case in every state in the country.
What If the Pedestrian Is Partially Responsible for the Accident?
Let’s say the pedestrian was jaywalking or sprinted suddenly into traffic. What happens then?
Depending on the state the accident occurred in, either the pedestrian or the driver will be liable. If it occurred in a no-fault state and the pedestrian is at least partially at fault, he or she will be eligible for compensation either through the driver’s insurance or through his own auto insurance.
In non-no-fault states, the driver won’t be liable for damages if the pedestrian is responsible for the accident. If these cases, the pedestrian will have to rely on his or her auto insurance coverage. If the limits of their auto insurance policy are reached, or their insurer denies the claim, they will have to use their health insurance coverage or find other means of compensation.
Is It Possible for the Pedestrian to Sue?
Yes, the pedestrian injured in the accident can sue the at-fault driver. This is especially true if the at-fault driver was determined to be negligent.
For example, if the pedestrian followed all local laws by crossing in a crosswalk or when they had the right of way and was still struck by the driver, the pedestrian has good grounds to sue.
If the driver did nothing illegal and was not in the wrong, however, the pedestrian might not have solid legal footing for a lawsuit.
Thankfully, most situations like these are settled without ever setting foot inside a courtroom. Settling outside of court, of course, saves both time and money. Injured pedestrians have enough stress and problems to worry about without the addition of a lawsuit.
Certain states also permit a pedestrian to file a lawsuit seeking damages for pain and suffering after an accident if there is a permanent scar or injury. If you are involved in such an accident, please take pictures of your injuries, obtain a medical report from your doctor, and save all documents related to the incident. This information sets the stage for a potential successful lawsuit or at the bare minimum, a successful claim.
Potential Damages for Pedestrians Injured in Auto Accidents
There is a common misconception that pedestrians can only seek damages for medical bills after they get hit by a car.
Aside from medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and other punitive damages can also be on the table.
If the car-pedestrian collision prevented the pedestrian from working, he or she can be compensated not only for lost wages but also for disability benefits and diminished earning capacity. Compensation can also be sought for future medical expenses as time progresses.
If the injured pedestrian ends up passing away as a result of the accident, damages will also extend to funeral expenses. If the plaintiff suffers a loss of capacity to enjoy life, this will also be accounted for when damages are calculated. In fact, damages also extend to reimbursement for mileage both to and from appointments for medical care. In rare instances, punitive damages are tacked on to the damages to punish the defendant for his or her egregious negligence.
Final Word on Car-Pedestrian Accidents and Insurance
In most cases, auto insurance will pay for the pedestrian’s damages if they get hit by a car. Determining whose auto insurance will pay for the damages is another story. Insurance laws vary state-by-state. What will be covered in one of the 12 no-fault states won’t be covered in the other states, and vice versa.
If you are a pedestrian seeking compensation for injuries sustained when hit by an automobile and are having trouble getting your bills paid, it might be time to hire an attorney. A skilled auto accident or insurance lawyer will be able to answer every question you have about insurance and will be able to get you the proper compensation for your injuries.