Pedestrian accidents are still on the rise in Florida due to reckless and ignorant acts of a few people. We all deserve to walk around without the worry of being struck by a distracted or drunk driver. Clay County Personal Injury Attorney law firm has skilled and reputable lawyers ready to help you seek justice and recover your damages for any personal injury case. Our attorneys will help you navigate complex issues such as dealing with insurance companies.
Overview of Dealing with Insurance Companies After a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians happen to be the most vulnerable group of people in the traffic because of a few motorists’ drivers who fail to yield appropriately at pedestrian crossing paths hence leading to accidents. If you get involved in a pedestrian accident involving a vehicle, you’re likely to suffer severe bodily injuries because you don’t have any kind of shield or protection like the driver. As much as vehicle drivers ought to be cautious on the road, pedestrians, too, should exercise a reasonable duty of care while walking and crossing streets.
Dealing with insurance companies when seeking compensation for damages of an accident can be very overwhelming; therefore, it’s vital to be safe on the road while walking around the city with your friends. Florida is a state of no-fault, meaning that if you’re involved in an accident, you can only turn to your insurers for compensation. All vehicle drivers in Florida are required by law to have a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy of $10,000 to cover all the damages and medical expenses for victims of an accident.
To protect your rights after a pedestrian accident, you must avoid signing any kind of document that admits accident liability. You should also beware of every word you say while speaking to the rest of the accident victims or the car driver. After a pedestrian accident involving motorists, most people become unconscious for a while due to the impact of the accident. If you’re conscious after a pedestrian accident, you must take some pieces of evidence to use while filing a compensation claim against the negligent party insurance, for example, photographs of the scene and eyewitnesses' contact information.
When it comes to matters of law, Florida is a very tricky state. You must hire a personal injury attorney to guide you on all legal protocols involved when filing a lawsuit for personal injury compensation against the defendant’s insurance company. Insurance companies will always try to negotiate the minimum amount of compensation to give you even when they are at fault for your damages.
If you incurred some emotional trauma, medical expenses, and suffering as a result of the accident, it’s only right you receive the remedy you deserve. Below we will discuss steps of achieving the best insurance claim settlement with adequate compensation after a pedestrian accident.
Steps for Achieving the Best Compensation Claim Offer When Dealing with Insurance Companies
After noticing your insurance company about your involvement in an accident, they will immediately start investigating the accident to determine your contribution to the accident. Make sure you’ve your post-medical journal, which keeps records of your medical expenses and other medical therapy appointments. It’s upon your insurance company to negotiate with the at-fault party insurance providers to pay for your damages and medical bills. Below are essential steps to keep in mind when filing a compensation claim from the insurance providers after a pedestrian accident to achieve adequate compensation:
Collect Adequate Information
Collecting information about the accident is the first crucial step to take when pursuing a compensation claim that you truly deserve. The information you collect immediately after an accident is very crucial when it comes to seeking compensation for damages. Police reports help speed up the whole process of a compensation claim. Ensure you get a detailed police accident report from the officer at the accident scene for use when dealing with insurance companies. The police post-accident report contains important accident details such as the:
- Details of all the accident victims including you
- Vehicle registration numbers of the drivers involved
- Eye witness information
- General accident description
- Road and weather conditions
- Traffic controls information
- Accident pictures
All this information is very crucial in determining the accident liability. If you've got this information at your hand, you can handle all insurance company investigative questions that are inevitable before you get your adequate compensation for all the damages incurred. After getting the police post-accident report, you should also consider getting ready all your medical expenses records to build up concrete evidence for use during compensation claim settlement negotiation.
File Your Injury Compensation Claim at the Right Time
Before you think of filing a lawsuit for a personal injury compensation claim, your medical conditions must be well stabilized; otherwise, you will have a limit for receiving some of your potential bills and expenses. We all deserve compensation after an accident caused by reckless and negligent individuals. Therefore, to achieve that, we need to pay attention to all the state’s legal requirements for personal injury lawsuits so that our compensation claims can be valid.
In Florida, victims of personal injuries have a maximum of four years from the accident date to file a compensation claim and three years if you want to file a compensation claim against a government entity. With this in mind, you will be able to file your injury compensation claim promptly. Note that, after this period of the state’s statute of limitations, you might not be able to submit your compensation claim against the at-fault party again.
Send a Demand Email or Letter to the Negligent Party Insurance Company
Before you begin a personal injury compensation claim process, you must notify all parties involved in the pedestrian accident of your intentions to seek remedy due to the damages and expenses incurred after the accident. You’ll be lucky if you’re dealing with one negligent party insurance company to avoid legal complexities involved when more than one party partially shares the accident fault.
The compensation demand letter or email you send the responsible party insurance company must include a description of the following:
- How the pedestrian accident you were involved in happened
- How the defendant/negligent party is responsible for the pedestrian accident
- The extent of the damages and injuries incurred as a result of the accident
- How these injuries and damages sustained during the accident have made you suffer
A demand letter should be written in polite language, even if you’re demanding your rights. Make sure you indicate the amount of compensation you’re seeking from them. Finally, to back up the information in your letter so that the responsible party insurance company can acknowledge the need for your compensation, it’s important to attach some pieces of evidence to your claims such as police reports and medical reports.
After sending the demand letter, the at-fault party insurance company should respond to it within thirty days, but sometimes they might not. If the defendant’s insurance providers do not respond to your demand letter within the expected period, you should begin contacting them consistently until you get your response to know the way forward to seeking your remedy.
Often, the defendant insurance provider will respond in a bid for a lower compensation amount than the one you requested. Others will also try to argue that you’ve not provided enough evidence to prove your compensation claim; therefore, you’ll be getting nothing at all. In such a situation, you should consider speaking to your injury attorney so that he/she can guide you to achieving justice out of the accident case.
Compensation Claim Settlement Negotiation
The defendant insurance provider will send their insurance adjusters to negotiate the compensation claim. An insurance adjuster will fight to make sure you get the least amount of money out of your compensation claim as possible; therefore, it’s wise to stand your ground on the amount you desire to acquire from them.
The insurance adjusters will deny your compensation claim pointing out elements in your medical expenses as false. At that point, it’s easy to get angered by his/her response to a request that you truly deserve, but it’s wise to remain calm and respond to everything knowledgeably and in an informative way. During an insurance claim negotiation, it’s upon you to convince the defendant’s insurance providers why you deserve compensation for the damages and injuries incurred after the pedestrian accident.
You should negotiate with the defendant’s insurance providers until you reach a settlement level that is fair for both parties. The law protects victims of personal injury cases seeking compensation by requiring every insurance provider to act in “good faith” every time they respond to an insurance claim by an accident victim.
If you think the defendant’s insurers have denied your injury compensation claim without a reasonable basis, it’s called acting in “bad faith.” In that case, it’s wise to take the matter to court if you believe you’ve got reasonable grounds for filing a lawsuit. The court is fair to all parties, depending on the amount of proof and evidence provided by each party. Most insurance providers will agree to settle the compensation claim outside the court because no one wants to leave the court at the expense of the trial.
Personal Injury Trial Procedure When Dealing with Insurance Companies
If you’ve decided to have your injury case heard by the court as your last option, in this case, you should consider having a personal injury lawyer by your side through the whole court process. The court you choose to file your claim depends on the amount of compensation claim you’re seeking. When the injury compensation claim amount is little, you should file your lawsuit in the small claim courts; however, if you’re seeking a more significant amount of the compensation remedy, you should submit your lawsuit in a civil court. All parties in the court are subject to the judicial verdict on the case.
Every personal injury case in the court after an accident involves proving negligence. There is always a negligent party at-fault for all accidents, and sometimes the accident fault is partially shared. With your injury attorney, you should be able to prove to the jury how the defendant was negligent in the event of the accident.
A person being negligent in the event of an accident means he/she is legally responsible for causing the accident that leads to the plaintiff’s damages and injuries because of failure to use reasonable care while on the road. To establish the pedestrian accident liability, the plaintiff must prove to the judge the following elements of negligence that lead to the accident.
The Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care
Every automobile driver should be reasonably careful while on the road to prevent foreseeable accidents with other vehicles or pedestrians. The first step for proving negligence in a personal injury accident case is proving that the defendant owed you a duty of care. The pedestrians, too, have a duty of care to observe while walking or jogging on the road to avoid accidents. The pedestrians should also follow their duty of care obligation by observing the traffic signals and using the designated walking paths.
It’s upon your injury attorney to find enough evidence surrounding your case to prove to the jury that the defendant failed to observe his /her obligation of duty of care because of his/her careless driving practices. In establishing that the defendant was negligent in the event of the accident, the plaintiff might also use his/her eyewitnesses who might know factors that lead to the accident.
The Defendant Breached the Duty of Care
After demonstrating to the judge that the defendant owed you a reasonable duty of care when the accident happened, you should go ahead and prove to the jury how the defendant breached his/her obligation of the duty of care. The defendant’s duty of care breach is another crucial negligence element your injury attorney can use in proving the accident liability to the jury. The defendant fails to observe his/her obligation of duty of care towards other people when driving if he/she does the following:
- Fail to yield appropriately at pedestrian crossing paths
- Fail to signal well when crossing streets
- Violate traffic rules
- Fails to maintain his/her vehicle in good condition
- Disobey the traffic police officer guide
- Drive when distracted for example driving while texting
- Drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol
The defendant should be held guilty for causing the accident and damages you’ve incurred if he/she breached his duty of care by violating a statute or law meant to prevent such accidents, for example, a traffic violation. The defendant may also defend his/her self at the tribunal by demonstrating why his/her reason for breaching the duty of care was necessary at the event of the accident. Although it might seem obvious who is negligent in the event of a pedestrian accident by failing to observe the duty of care obligation when the court is involved, there are several elements put into consideration when establishing the case verdict.
In this step of proving negligence in a pedestrian accident, the plaintiff lawyer will have to demonstrate to the jury how the defendant's careless actions lead to the actual injuries and damages you sustained after the accident. If the defendant did not breach his/her reasonable duty of care in the event of the accident, you couldn't have suffered any injuries or incurred any expenses.
When determining the causation for your damages and expenses, the judge is aware that the victim’s injuries in a pedestrian accident could be as a result of direct or indirect causation. Direct accident causation happens when the defendant breach duty of care, for instance, by violating a traffic ordinance while driving hence leading to a direct accident.
Indirect accident causation happens if the defendant’s duty of care breach is not the cause of the damages and injuries you incurred as a result of the accident. For instance, if a negligent driver hits a pole on the roadside and it falls on you hence causing injuries and damages that are known as indirect/proximate accident causation. With your injury attorney, you should be able to establish the real causation for your damages and injuries.
After a pedestrian accident, the victims are likely to experience some damages and injuries. In this last step of proving negligence in a personal injury accident case, the plaintiff injury lawyer should prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you incurred actual damages and injuries as a result of the accident. Depending on the extent and impact of the accident, the pedestrian can receive the following damages after a successful lawsuit:
Medical Expense Coverage
Hoping that you’ve kept your post-accident medical journal, claiming compensation that you truly deserve should not be overwhelming. Your post-accident medical journal should be well detailed including all cumulative costs incurred in your counseling, medication, and physical therapy ever since your sustained injuries due to the negligent driver. All these medical pieces of evidence are very crucial in proving the accident liability.
Lost Wages and Loss of your Earning Capacity
Lost wages are the cumulative amount of money you could’ve earned during the period of recovery and treatment if you were still going to work as usual. Even if you were not employed, but you could’ve earned some money during that period since the accident happened, you can still prove to the jury why you deserve this compensation for lost income. If you've lost your earning ability due to permanent damages such as loss of a body limb as a result of the accident, you should also get compensation for the loss of your earning capacity.
Loss of Companionship
The surviving family of the pedestrian accident victim, such as the spouse, children, or grandparents, can pursue a compensation claim against the negligent party for the loss of companionship or consortium. Life cannot be the same again after the loss of companionship, who is your sexual partner, comfort and assistance. Having the right personal injury attorney by your side when filing a lawsuit against the offender is paramount to achieving the compensation you deserve.
Pain and Suffering Endured
Pain and suffering pedestrian accidents victims endure is due to the mental anguish, physical distress, and the emotional damages caused by disfigurement or loss of a body limb. Some pedestrian accident victims have to suffer and live with permanent disability in case of loss of a body limb such as a hand. Compensation for pain and suffering after an accident is not in monetary terms like other types of damages compensation.
If the pedestrian accident victim passed away, and the funeral already made, the negligent defendant should be liable for all the funeral expenses incurred. The deceased surviving family members such as children and the spouse can file a lawsuit for compensation. Sometimes filing a lawsuit while moaning a person close to you can be a very daunting task, but it’s the only means to seeking justice for the loss of your loved one.
Comparative Negligence Fault Law in Florida
Sometimes after a court hearing, the judge might discover that the accident fault was partially shared. In that case, a different rule should apply when it comes to receiving the accident compensation remedy. According to Florida comparative fault laws, all parties that partially contributed to the pedestrian accident should play a part in paying personal injury compensation benefits for all the damages and injuries incurred.
The court will decide the amount of money that each party responsible for the accident will pay depending on the degree of recklessness that contributed to the accident by each party. In this situation, you will rely on your injury attorney to demonstrate and prove to the jury that your contribution to the accident was little in contrast to that of the defendant’s.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Achieving favorable and fair results in a personal injury lawsuit depends much on the skills and expertise of the personal injury attorney offering you legal representation. Clay County Personal Injury Attorney is a law firm dedicated to ensuring victims of pedestrian accidents get justice and compensation they deserve. For any inquiries on your injury case, you can reach our excellent attorneys at 904-494-8242.