People on foot share Hawaii roadways with much larger, heavier, motorized vehicles, so the implications of a pedestrian accident can be devastating. You are not protected by a barrier or shell, often causing serious or catastrophic injuries. Plus, there is usually a secondary impact because a pedestrian will be tossed into the air when struck.
Landing on asphalt or other hard surfaces can lead to trauma as severe as the initial impact. Unlike other vulnerable road users like motorcycle and bicycle riders, it is unlikely that victims are wearing a helmet.
Fortunately, state law allows you to seek compensation from a negligent driver that hit you while walking. You may be entitled to compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses, but there are legal requirements you must meet. Failure to prove your claim could result in zero recovery for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. This is a critical reason that help from a Kamuela pedestrian accident lawyer is essential, but additional factors include the following.
Your Losses are Considerable
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that almost 7,400 people on foot are killed and 60,575 are injured, proving that there are far too many negligent drivers. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a pedestrian collision, the consequences are life-changing. With help from a Hawaii personal injury attorney, you may qualify to recover two types of compensation:
- Economic damages are the tangible, measurable losses you suffer, such as the costs of medical treatment. Lost income and out-of-pocket expenses are also types of economic damages.
- You might also obtain amounts for noneconomic damages, which are losses that are subjective and personal to your experience of being injured. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and scarring and disfigurement are examples of noneconomic damages.
You Need Access to Important Resources in Kamuela
There are certain elements you need to prove for a pedestrian accident claim. You must have solid evidence showing that the at-fault motorist failed to drive safely and that this negligence was the direct cause of the crash. A thorough, comprehensive investigation will be necessary to obtain this proof. Your lawyer will have access to crucial resources to gather and process evidence, including:
- Private investigators;
- Medical experts;
- Accident reconstruction specialists; and,
- Financial analysts.
Some experts will provide insight as your pedestrian accident attorney develops a legal strategy, which will involve filing an insurance claim and possibly going to court. Plus, these experts may testify if your case goes to trial.
Filing an Insurance Claim is Challenging in Kamuela
Pedestrian accidents are treated the same as other traffic crashes under personal injury laws, so you pursue the at-fault driver by filing a claim with the auto insurance company. In your demand package, you will need to prove that the policyholder was responsible for causing the collision. You must also submit evidence of your economic and noneconomic damages. However, even when you think you have sufficient proof, insurers often deny claims to protect their own bottom line. The company may allege that:
- Its insured driver was not negligent;
- You were at fault in causing the pedestrian accident; and,
- You do not have sufficient evidence of pain and suffering.
Your lawyer avoids these tactics by preparing a detailed demand package that includes solid evidence of fault, your injuries, and your losses.
You Can Leverage the Benefits of Settlement in Kamuela
With many pedestrian accident cases, the insurer will make a counteroffer to settle the claim without going to court. The amount may be lower than your demand, but there are advantages to resolving your case by agreement. Settlement is quicker than litigation, meaning you receive payment promptly. Plus, you have certainty when you work out an agreement. With a trial, there is always the chance that the jury will not find it in your favor. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf during negotiations to ensure the settlement is fair.
Litigation is Extremely Complex in Kamuela
Another reason why you need help from a personal injury lawyer is that you will need to go to court if the insurance company refuses to pay. The litigation process involves numerous statutes, case law, court procedural rules, and legal concepts. Your attorney will:
- File the complaint;
- Serve the defendant with the pedestrian accident lawsuit.
- Attend court appearances and hearings;
- Handle discovery and depositions; and,
- Represent you at trial.
Trust a Kamuela Pedestrian Accident Attorney to Serve Your Legal Needs
This overview should convince you why help from a personal injury lawyer is crucial after a pedestrian accident, especially when your rights are at stake. To learn more about how our team will provide legal support for your claim, please contact Olson & Sons, Attorneys at Law. We can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Kona or Kamuela, HI. After reviewing your situation, a pedestrian accident attorney will advise you.