What to Expect in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
In short, pedestrian accident victims should expect long delays and high medical bills. We’ll discuss the long delay below. First, let’s examine the high medical bills.
During vehicle collisions, vehicle occupants are protected by multiple safety and restraining layers. Pedestrians are protected by the clothes on their backs and pretty much nothing else. Therefore, these collisions usually cause catastrophic or fatal injuries.
These injuries don’t just cause high medical bills. These victims lose work and must deal with almost unimaginable pain and suffering on a day-to-day basis. A Columbia personal injury lawyer can obtain compensation for all these losses. Most personal injury claims eventually settle out of court. Sometimes, “eventually” is a rather long period of time.
Liability (legal responsibility) and damages (amo8nt of compensation) are usually the two most important issues in a pedestrian accident claim. If both these issues are crystal clear, most insurance companies must legally settle most claims within about a month.
Most pedestrian accidents involve liability questions, even if an emergency responder or insurance adjuster quickly assigns fault. Basically, fault is like the halftime score and liability is like the final score. A game’s score usually changes in the second half. Similarly, legal issues, like contributory negligence, change legal responsibility matters.
Damage disputes are common as well. That’s especially true if a victim didn’t immediately see a doctor. In these situations, insurance company lawyers often argue that the victim’s damages are exaggerated. To solve this problem, a Columbia personal injury lawyer connects victims with doctors who charge no fees upfront.
Because of these issues, early settlement is usually impossible. That outcome forces attorneys to go to the next level.
The Legal Process
When victims file legal paperwork, insurance companies usually file procedural motions, insisting that the victim has no case. Victims shouldn’t worry too much. If an attorney diligently collected evidence before filing an action, these motions usually fail.
Evidence in a pedestrian accident claim usually includes medical bills, witness statements, and the police accident report.
Discovery is the next phase. At this point, settlement negotiations, which usually stall during the pretrial motions phase, heat up again. Medical treatment is often substantially complete, so an attorney can accurately assess a claim’s settlement value. Furthermore, during discovery, both sides must put all their cards face up on the table.
So, insurance companies must turn over key evidence they’ve been hiding, such as a key witness statement. Stronger evidence increases a claim’s value.
As the trial date approaches, most judges appoint professional mediators to supervise settlement negotiations and enforce a duty to negotiate in good faith.
Basically, parties negotiate in bad faith when they go through the motions and are unwilling to compromise. When insurance companies must negotiate in good faith, they cannot make low-ball offers or take-it-or-leave-it offers, which are common during early negotiations. That’s another big reason early negotiations often fail.
Delayed settlement is usually the best possible outcome. As mentioned, the best evidence, and therefore maximum compensation, is available at this stage. Furthermore, since medical treatment is complete, the victim won’t be l;eft holding the bag for future medical costs.
Contact a Thorough Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.