A car accident can be a very traumatic experience and often result in injuries. This is especially true if you were walking and not inside the protective barriers of a vehicle at the time of the accident. While being hit by a car can cause significant injury itself, being hit by a truck is oftentimes worse, resulting in more severe injuries and extensive medical bills. The time one must take off of work to recover from such an accident combined with the medical expenses involved with the injuries sustained from being hit by a truck can cause significant financial burden. It is important to know how to protect yourself and your finances in such a situation.
Injuries Common after a Pedestrian Is Hit By a Truck
After being hit by a truck when walking, some injuries are commonly suffered by pedestrians. Broken bones are amongst the most common injuries, along with bruising and abrasions. In addition, concussions and brain swelling may occur if one’s head hit the pavement or the vehicle during the accident. Since trucks carry such heavy weight, internal injuries are also often incurred by victims of such accidents. Spinal cord injuries and other severe injuries may also occur depending on the nature of the accident.
Pedestrian Fault vs. Driver Fault
What happens after the accident will vary greatly depending who is at fault for the accident. If the pedestrian is at fault, he or she will be responsible for their own medical bills and lost wages and may even be responsible for damages to the truck or its driver. Occasions where the pedestrian was at fault may include jaywalking or walking outside of a sidewalk, crossing against a traffic signal (such as crossing against a Do Not Walk command), or walking in areas where pedestrians are prohibited. If the truck driver is at fault, however, then the pedestrian may be able to recover damages for medical expenses related to the accident and for lost wages and pain and suffering.
How to Prove Fault and Win Your Settlement
To receive the type of settlement that you are looking for, you have to first have to prove who was at fault. There is a variety of evidence that should be available to you. The best evidence would be a video of the accident. Find out if any of the surrounding homes and businesses have video that shows the accident. Your attorney will be able to help you obtain the footage.
Witness statements will also be an important part of your claim. If you have a witness that noticed that the driver was distracted or driving erratically this could help prove that you were not at fault. Make sure that you have recorded the contact information of everyone involved in the accident.
A big part of winning your settlement is being able to afford the treatments you need as a result of your injuries. Even if these treatments take place well after the date of the accident. An accident between a truck and a pedestrian is likely to be a severe one. There is a good chance that you could be in physical therapy for months and months following the accident. This is something that should be included in the damages that you are asking for. Any expenses that you incur as a result of being hit by a truck while you are walking should be included.
What to Expect from your Claim
There is not one answer for the value of your settlement. That is dependent on determining fault. It is possible that there are multiple parties at fault in the accident, which would limit the amount that the claim would be worth. For example, if the pedestrian was not using a marked crosswalk, they have increased their chances of getting hit and contributed to the accident. At the same time, if the driver was traveling above the speed limit, violating traffic law, their liability will increase.
Where a truck accident differs from a car accident is that there is often a third party involved. If the truck driver is on the job, it is possible that the employer has also contributed to the accident. Poor equipment, pressures to meet a tight schedule or drivers who are out on the road for longer than is safe are factors that the employer would be responsible for.
A settlement value is also proportional to the damages sustained in the accident. In the case of a truck and a pedestrian the chances of life threatening or life altering injuries is higher. Assuming that you can prove that fault, the settlement will be higher to cover the more severe damages.
If a truck hits you, the company will likely have a team of attorneys who are experienced in minimizing the money that they have to pay out. In addition to working with an attorney, there are steps that you can immediately take to increase your chance of success.
Filing a Claim against a Truck Driver
When you are hit by a truck when walking, or by any other vehicle, it is important to get the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information at the time of the accident. If you are unable to get it yourself, you should ask someone to obtain it for you, such as a friend or a police officer at the scene of the accident. You will then want to call the driver’s insurance company to report the accident and file the claim, but you will need proof that the driver was indeed at fault for the claim to be successful. You will also want to prove negligence to increase your chances of a fair settlement. This means obtaining copies of police reports and, possibly, witness statements.
When filing a claim against a driver of a truck after being hit by the vehicle while walking, it may be a good idea to hire an attorney who can do the legwork of gathering evidence and filling the claim for you. Not only will the attorney know what evidence needs to be gathered and how to go about gathering that evidence, but he or she will also know what damages you are entitled to in terms of monetary damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When working with an attorney it is more likely that you will be able to collect a larger settlement than if you try to deal with the driver’s insurance company on your own.