Can I Sue?
Were you innocently walking across the street when–wham!–you were hit by a car? Such a startling collision can result in severe injuries.
If you were hit by a car in New Jersey, you may wonder if you can sue. In many cases, the answer is: Yes! You can sue a negligent driver for causing your pedestrian-car accident injuries.
Keep reading for answers to the following pedestrian accident questions:
- What kinds of pedestrian-car accident injuries take place?
- Who can I sue for hitting me with a car?
- What kind of pedestrian-hit-by-a-car compensation can I receive?
What Kinds of Pedestrian-Car Accident Injuries Take Place?
Since Henry Ford began producing automobiles in the early 1900s, America has been the land of the automobile. In fact, the United States was the first nation in the world that encouraged cities to implement large-scale adaptation to cars.
Unfortunately, this innovation comes at the cost of pedestrian safety. While many European cities have pedestrian-friendly zones, American pedestrians encounter danger by simply crossing the street. Because automotive drivers speed and pay little attention to pedestrians, tragic accidents often occur.
Here are statistics gathered by the CDC that show just how prevalent pedestrian-hit-by-a-car accidents are:
- Nearly 6,000 pedestrians hit by a car were killed in the US in 2016;
- Almost 129,000 pedestrians sustained non-fatal car-accident injuries that required an emergency room visit in 2015;
- Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than car occupants to be fatally injured in a vehicle accident;
- Pedestrians age 65 and older are most at risk, accounting for 20% of all pedestrian deaths in 2016; and
- Pedestrians comprise 20% of child car accident fatalities.
In addition to the thousands of pedestrians killed by cars each year, many more are seriously injured. Pedestrians hit by a car in NJ can sustain life-threating or life-altering injuries that require months or years of expensive medical treatment.
Here are some common pedestrian-car accident injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries include bruises and cuts, as well as tears to tendons and ligaments. Soft tissue injuries can leave a pedestrian hit by a car disfigured or require expensive plastic surgery. If muscle damage is not properly treated, such injury could leave the victim without full mobility.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries occur from the force of the car striking the pedestrian or from the pedestrian’s collision with the ground. While many concussions heal within a relatively short time, other brain injuries linger for life. Traumatic brain injuries can impact a victim’s ability to work or function independently.
Spinal Cord Injuries
When a car accident injures the victim’s spinal cord, it can lead to a devastating loss of mobility. A spinal cord injury that causes nerve damage may put the victim in severe pain. Such terrible injuries may leave the victim without the ability to work or live without assistance.
The traumatic impact of a car accident can crush bones or send the victim airborne before their bones break upon landing. In either instance, the unexpected collision leaves the victim in a great deal of pain. It also impacts the victim’s mobility and may limit job performance. Serious breaks may require surgery.
The unexpected car accident and long recovery process following can impact the victim emotionally. The victim may become fearful of walking outside, experience anxiety when driving, or fall into depression. Emotional damage from physical injuries is eligible for pedestrian-hit-by-a-car compensation.
Sadly, the trauma for many pedestrians hit by a car in NJ is too severe for a person to survive. Too many pedestrians are killed by negligent drivers each year. If someone you love has been killed in a car accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can I Sue for Hitting Me with a Car?
You can sue a negligent driver for hitting you with a car. This means you must prove a driver’s negligence meets four elements.
Duty of Care
The driver had a duty to drive safely and obey the laws of the road. Drivers must obey laws designed to protect passengers, such as stopping for a crosswalk.
Breach of Duty
The driver breached the duty of care. For instance, if a driver speeds through a crosswalk and hits a person crossing the street, the driver breached the duty to drive safely.
Breach Caused Injury
The driver’s breach of duty caused the pedestrian’s injury. If the pedestrian already had a broken leg before the accident, then the pedestrian can’t sue the driver for the broken leg unless the accident inflicted further damage.
The pedestrian hit by a car in NJ must suffer an injury that can be reimbursed by the negligent driver. For instance, if the pedestrian hit by a car suffered only a scratch that quickly healed, that wouldn’t be enough damage for a lawsuit. The harm suffered must be worth bringing to court.
Even if a pedestrian was partially responsible for the accident, the pedestrian hit by a car may be able to sue. New Jersey law allows a plaintiff to recover damages if the defendant was 50% or more responsible for the accident. You can receive damages for the defendant’s portion of responsibility. For instance, if you suffered $10,000 worth of harm, and the defendant was 70% responsible for the accident, you could receive up to $7,000.
What Kind of Pedestrian-Hit-By-a-Car Compensation Can I Receive?
Pedestrians hit by a car in NJ are eligible for three types of damage awards.
These damages include financial costs such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. All medical expenses, from over-the-counter medications to ER visits and rehabilitation stays, may be reimbursed as economic damages. Property damage might include destruction to something you were carrying or wearing in the accident.
Non-economic damages include your emotional suffering that resulted from the accident. If you fear driving or walking outside, experience insomnia, or fall into depression, these conditions may receive pedestrian-hit-by-a-car compensation. If your physical or emotional state impacts your relationship with others, this emotional damage can also allow payment.
Punitive damages may come into play when a defendant exhibits terrible behavior. For instance, if a drunk driver plowed into a pedestrian or if the driver fled the scene, these behaviors might prompt punitive damages.
A personal injury attorney will help you determine what damages you can request. Then your attorney will negotiate with the driver’s insurance company for maximum payment.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Were you hit by a car? If so, you should consult a personal injury attorney to find out if you can sue. Call me, New Jersey attorney Anthony Vecchio, for a free consultation to share your story and discuss your legal options.
You deserve an attorney who cares about you. You need someone who will go up against the biggest insurance companies on your behalf. Contact Anthony to get the expert legal help you need so that you can focus on your recovery.