If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, you will want to know how long it could take to recover compensation from the at-fault party for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Understanding what happens in a pedestrian accident claim can relieve some of the anxiety and stress you may feel while waiting to settle your case. While every pedestrian accident case has a different timeline, you should understand what factors may affect the duration of your case. You may want to learn more about how a Miami pedestrian accident lawyer can help you secure a fair and full settlement.
What Factors Affect the Timeline of a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
The timeline for settling a pedestrian accident claim will vary from case to case. Although no one can predict how long it may take you to settle your pedestrian accident claim, various factors will affect the duration of your case.
These factors include:
- The severity of your injuries. The nature of the injuries you suffered in the pedestrian accident may have one of the most significant effects on the timeline of your case. More severe injuries usually mean you incur more significant financial losses from medical expenses, costs of long-term care, and pain and suffering. The greater your losses, the harder it becomes to negotiate a settlement, as liable parties may fight back harder to avoid significant financial responsibility for your injuries.
- The duration of your medical treatment. After an accident, personal injury attorneys often recommend waiting until you finish treatment and resolve your injuries before formally starting a compensation claim. By waiting for a final prognosis from your doctors, you’ll better understand the extent of your losses and your future anticipated needs.
- Whether you suffer any permanent disability. Suffering permanent disabilities that may require you to obtain lifelong healthcare or personal assistance can substantially increase your losses and the amount of compensation you might seek in a pedestrian accident settlement.
- The evidence underpinning your case. Resolving liability for the pedestrian accident will depend on the complexity of the evidence. The more evidence involved in your pedestrian accident claim, the longer it will take to investigate the case. The greater the chance that the driver who hit you may try to dispute liability for your injuries.
- Whether other people also suffered injuries in the accident. Other people also suffering injuries in the accident can also complicate settlement negotiations. Multiple injured parties may exhaust an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage before each party receives total compensation for their losses. Settlement negotiations may become more difficult as the at-fault driver’s insurer tries to negotiate several settlements at once or if the insurer insists on a global settlement involving all pedestrian accident victims.
- The number of potentially liable parties in the case. Settling a pedestrian accident claim can become complicated if multiple parties may have liability for the accident. For example, if two drivers bear responsibility for a pedestrian accident, they may fight with one another to shift greater financial liability for your injuries onto one another.
- Whether you share any responsibility for the accident. An insurance company may fight harder during settlement negotiations if the evidence indicates that you bear some share of fault for the pedestrian accident. Under Florida’s comparative fault law, your share of responsibility for the accident can reduce the amount of compensation you can obtain.
- The availability of insurance coverage and the applicable policy limits. The timeline of a pedestrian accident settlement will also depend on the applicability and amount of insurance coverage. Unless your losses comfortably exceed the available policy limits, an insurance company may negotiate harder to avoid paying more.
- The responsiveness of the insurance company. How quickly the insurance company investigates the accident and responds to your emails and phone calls will also affect how long it takes to negotiate a settlement. If an insurance adjuster has dozens or hundreds of claims to handle or if the insurance company chooses to slow-walk your claim, it may take longer to settle.
- Whether you need to file a lawsuit to pursue your pedestrian accident claim. If you can’t settle your claim before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you will need to file a lawsuit to continue pursuing compensation. However, going to court means subjecting your claim to the scheduling of the trial court, which can slow down the progress of your case. But as litigation proceeds towards a trial, parties often become more willing to settle.
What Steps Should You Take To Prepare Your Pedestrian Accident Claim?
Fortunately, you can put yourself in the best position to pursue a pedestrian accident claim and secure a maximum settlement.
To prepare your pedestrian accident claim:
- Report the accident to law enforcement and request a copy of the police accident report
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible so that a physician can diagnose the injuries you sustained in the accident
- Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations and instructions, and do not put off any medical procedures or rehabilitation
- Gather any records or evidence you have, including accident scene photos/videos, eyewitness statements, bills/invoices, and your pay stubs/income statements
- Keep copies of any correspondence with the insurance company or notes of phone calls with the insurance adjusters
- Start a journal to document your recovery from the pedestrian accident to discuss how your injuries and medical treatments have caused your pain or have interfered with your daily living
- Avoid posting on social media to discuss the accident or your injuries, and do not post or tag yourself in photos or videos while undergoing treatment and rehabilitation
Finally, contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and have your attorney begin preparing your case and negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
The Pedestrian Accident Settlement Process
Settling a pedestrian accident claim begins with investigating the accident to obtain evidence to support your claim. When you work with a pedestrian accident lawyer in your case, your attorney will use their experience to investigate the accident thoroughly.
Your attorney may take photos or videos of the accident scene, request copies of surveillance or traffic camera footage, and interview eyewitnesses. Your lawyer may also hire accident reconstruction experts who can review the evidence and prepare a written report, visual recreations, and testimony to explain what happened in the accident and how the other driver caused it.
Your lawyer can also work with other experts in medical, vocational, and financial fields to better explain the injuries you suffered in the accident, the effects of your injuries and disabilities on your ability to work or perform daily tasks, and what financial losses you can expect to incur in the future due to your pedestrian accident injuries.
Once your attorney has compiled evidence, they can prepare an insurance claim or demand letter on your behalf to send to the at-fault driver, their insurer, or other liable parties. The demand letter will list the evidence supporting your legal claim, document your injuries and losses, and demand compensation to settle your case.
After the insurance company or liable parties have received your demand letter, your attorney can begin negotiating a fair settlement of your pedestrian accident case. You and your lawyer may start informal negotiations with the opposing side. However, if you reach an impasse, you may participate in mediation, a more structured form of settlement negotiations facilitated by a neutral third party called a mediator.
Eventually, your attorney may file a lawsuit if the opposing party won’t agree to a fair settlement before the statute of limitations expires on your pedestrian accident claim. But even if you go to court, you can continue negotiating with the opposing side and may settle your claim at any time.
Potential Time Frames for Pedestrian Accident Settlements
The duration of a pedestrian accident claim can vary. A pedestrian accident case can settle in as little as a few months. The shortest timeframes for settlement happen in cases where an injured pedestrian has finished treating their injuries and has calculated their total losses and where the driver has accepted liability for the accident.
Many pedestrian accident claims take about a year to settle, especially when injured pedestrians need more prolonged treatment and rehabilitation. Insurance companies may also try to drag their heels on a pedestrian accident settlement to induce the injured pedestrian to accept a lower settlement figure, which can increase the timeframe for a settlement.
However, pedestrian accident cases can take several years to settle. The most protracted cases occur when a pedestrian suffers catastrophic, life-altering injuries that require months of medical rehabilitation.
Cases can take much longer to resolve when a driver vigorously contests liability for the accident or the extent of losses incurred by the injured pedestrian. Significant disputes over liability and losses usually mean a pedestrian accident case will end in court. However, as facts clear up in discovery and the case approaches trial, parties in a pedestrian accident case usually return to the negotiating table to work out a settlement and avoid the uncertainty of trial.
How Working With a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help You Secure a Settlement
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can simplify the settlement process and enable you to pursue maximum compensation.
What Do Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Do?
A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you pursue a settlement by handling every aspect of preparing your legal case and advocating your claims. A pedestrian accident lawyer working on your case can free you to focus your time and energy on medical treatment and rehabilitation.
The tasks that your pedestrian accident lawyer can handle for you include:
- Investigating the facts and circumstances of the accident and recovering evidence for your case
- Identifying all potentially liable parties and applicable insurance coverages
- Bringing in expert witnesses as needed to bolster the strength of your case
- Documenting your injuries and calculating your ongoing and future expenses to determine what fair compensation you may recover
- Explaining your legal options to you and helping you understand what to expect during the settlement negotiation process
- Preparing and filing demand letters or insurance claims on your behalf
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to reach a fair settlement in your case
- Taking your case to court, if necessary, and advocating your claims at trial
What Benefits Does Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Have?
Hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer can provide you with critical benefits.
A pedestrian accident lawyer can help your case because they:
- Know the law and legal process. A pedestrian accident lawyer will know what laws apply to your case and your legal options for obtaining financial relief. If your case goes to court or trial, your lawyer will understand the rules and procedures governing your litigation.
- Can timely file your claims. Under the statute of limitations, you have limited time to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit. In addition, you may have shorter notice deadlines depending on the circumstances in your case. Your lawyer will ensure that your claims get filed on time so you don’t lose your right to pursue financial recovery for your injuries.
- Have experience negotiating with insurance companies. Insurance companies have many tactics to trick accident victims into accepting less than the fair value for their claims. Your pedestrian accident lawyer will know how insurance companies defend against injury claims and will pursue a case strategy to secure a fair result for you.
- Can pursue past/ongoing and future anticipated losses. Accident victims who handle negotiating with the insurance company by themselves often focus on recovering their past and ongoing expenses and forget to demand compensation for their future needs caused by their injuries. A pedestrian accident lawyer will help you pursue a settlement that includes the money you need for future care and financial losses.
Various Circumstances Will Affect the Length of Time It Takes To Settle a Pedestrian Accident Claim
Multiple factors will influence the timeline of a pedestrian accident claim, including what kinds of injuries you’ve suffered, the parties involved in the case, and the complexity of the disputes over liability and your losses. However, a pedestrian accident lawyer can help make the settlement negotiation process as smooth as possible and help you pursue maximum compensation for your past, ongoing, and future needs and losses. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.