Walking is good exercise, and there are plenty of opportunities in Brooklyn to see the area on foot. Brooklyn has hundreds of acres of parks, but there are also numerous other cultural activities that one can take part in. Getting around on foot makes sense given the area’s density, but it can also put you at risk.
If you suffered an injury because a driver failed to properly yield the right of way when you crossed one of the busy intersections in Brooklyn, you may have the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is complicated, but it can help you recover financially after suffering an injury because of a careless driver. You should not have to deal with recovering from your injuries, being out of work, and facing financial ruin because of mounting expenses. Ultimately, a pedestrian accident injury attorney can help you recover financially while you focus on your physical recovery.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accidents
While every accident case is different, every victim suffers different types of injuries, and all claims are unique, injured pedestrians often claim compensation for:
- Medical care – As a pedestrian accident victim, you can demand compensation for all medical costs associated with your injury. This includes all testing, surgery, follow-up care, medication, hospitalization, and, when warranted, future medical care.
- Rehabilitation costs – Getting back on your feet, returning to work, and resuming normal activities after being struck by a car takes time. It may also require rehabilitation, including physical therapy, mental health care, or occupational therapy. Do not bear these costs due to someone else’s negligence.
- Lost wages – You have the right not to suffer a financial loss after an accident that was not your fault. You may lose a significant portion of your income if you cannot work. Filing a lost wages claim may include all the losses associated with your work, including bonuses. Talk to your accident injury attorney about the specifics.
- Other costs – Sometimes pedestrian accidents result in injuries that require crutches, wheelchairs, and home modifications to ensure safety. Make sure that you save any receipts for these expenses so they may factor into your claim.
- Long-term losses – Some victims suffer unimaginable losses in a pedestrian accident. For some, they cannot face friends and coworkers because the accident left them scarred or disfigured. Your accident injury lawyer can help you understand the other options for claiming losses associated with your injuries.
Hold the responsible party accountable for their negligent behavior following a pedestrian accident. The best way to do that is to obtain a copy of the police report of the incident and contact a skilled personal injury lawyer immediately.
No-Fault Insurance in New York Complicates Pedestrian Accident Claims
Because New York is a no-fault state, after a Brooklyn pedestrian accident, there are some things you need to be aware of. If you have a registered vehicle and have auto insurance coverage, your first claim must be with your insurer. Remember, the NY Department of Financial Services (DFS) requires every driver to maintain auto insurance, including Personal Injury Protection(PIP). The minimum coverage is $50,000.
When you are injured, and you exhaust the limits of your insurance, and your injuries require further treatment or prohibit your return to work, you do have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver. In New York Insurance (ISC) Chapter 28, Article 51 §5102(d), you will find a definition of serious injury. New York sets the threshold for filing a claim against the at-fault driver. Because of the low rate of auto ownership, a PIP policy may not cover you.
Insurance Company Negotiations Are Frustrating and Complex
You need time to recover from your injury after a Brooklyn pedestrian accident. Focus on getting as close to normal as possible, despite very painful injuries. Insurance companies are aware of this, and they also know that if they catch you while you are at your most vulnerable, you are liable to make a mistake.
Here are some words of caution:
- Never provide a recorded statement – Do not let the insurance adjuster tell you that a recorded statement is required. No rule says you have to provide one, and you should not do so.
- Do not sign any documents without legal review – Insurance companies are smart. They think if they send you a flood of documents you will get tired of reading them and simply sign them. Do not do this under any circumstances. Ensure an accident injury attorney reviews every document sent to you by an insurance company.
- Tell you that lawyers are not necessary – This is because every insurance company knows that you are likely to get a better settlement if a lawyer is involved. That means it costs them more money! Never communicate with an insurance adjuster without legal counsel.
Insurance adjusters are not working on your behalf. They work for the insurance company, and their job is to minimize the amount that the insurance company pays in claims. Adjusters know that the insurer has a battery of attorneys working on their behalf. You have a chance to level the playing field by working closely with a Brooklyn pedestrian accident attorney.
How a Brooklyn Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Works on Your Behalf
Across New York, there has been an increased effort to increase pedestrian safety. Unfortunately, not every driver follows the road rules, and if you are injured, you know that the aftermath of these accidents is devastating.
You are in a bind financially because you are recovering from an injury. You heard you should contact a lawyer, but worry about whether this is the right thing to do in your case.
Rest assured, it is the right thing, and it is the best thing you can do to assist with your claim.
Here are some of the things you can expect when you work with a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer:
- Someone who listens and cares about your case
- A free, no strings attached case evaluation
- Someone willing to serve as your advocate
- You will pay no legal fees unless the attorney is successful in securing a settlement
You can focus on your recovery and feel confident that someone will be protecting your interests and looking out for you while they handle all the negotiations with the insurance company.
Personal injury attorneys cannot accept a settlement without your approval, nor can they ignore a settlement offer. Their code of conduct requires them to provide you with all information regarding any settlement. A skilled attorney will be able to advise you of the pros and cons of a settlement offer, but the final decision will always be yours to make.
Why Insurers Often Make Fast Settlement Offers
Insurance companies often make fast settlement offers to protect themselves. You can turn the tables and do everything to protect yourself.
So far, you have done all the right things to protect yourself, including:
- Attending all recommended doctor’s appointments
- Following all instructions provided by the doctor
- Keeping a record of all unexpected expenses associated with your injury
- Keeping a pain and recovery journal
- Obtaining a copy of the accident report
- Contacted an experienced personal injury attorney
- Providing your attorney with complete records
Suddenly, the insurance company makes an early offer. It may seem unexpected because the full extent of your injuries means you are uncertain about when you will be able to return to normal activities.
Do not be surprised. In fact, expect it. Insurers are aware that the longer it takes you to recover from your injuries, the more money it will cost them. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work, the costs can grow very high.
Insurers know that to get out of the liability of your claim, they can make a fast offer for less than the full amount you might otherwise be entitled to collect for compensation. They also know that if they make that offer before you hire a lawyer, you may accept it to avoid dealing with them.
Once you accept a settlement, the insurance company is off the hook for any future losses. This means no matter your lost income, medical bills, or how much devastation the injury causes, they have no further liability.
Do not get fooled into accepting their first offer, even if they tell you it is their highest offer. It is unlikely the highest offer, and it will not sufficiently compensate you for your losses.
Pedestrian Accidents Hurt the Entire Family
Your entire family will feel the stress of your injury. Because of your injury, you are not only out of work, but cannot do things you once enjoyed doing with your family.
When a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, fails to see you walking around a corner and strikes you, or is distracted at the wheel and loses control of their vehicle, you suffer physically and emotionally. Your family suffers alongside you. Drivers can and should be held accountable for their careless actions. The best way to do that is to hold them financially accountable.
Criminal Cases Versus Civil Cases
One of the concerns many pedestrians who suffer an injury share because of an accident is what happens if the driver faces a criminal charge. This should not be a concern.
Criminal cases are cases that involve prosecutors. While the prosecutor may ask you to testify about the accident, it may be unnecessary. You should also know that even if a person is not facing criminal charges, it has no impact on your claim. Personal injury claims are civil cases and, as such, have a different threshold of proof than a criminal case.
To prove a civil case requires:
- Proving the driver owed a duty of care
- Proving the driver breached their duty of care
- Proving the breach resulted in an injury
- Proving the injury resulted in a financial loss
Every driver has a responsibility to other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. They have a responsibility to maintain control of their car, regardless of where they are traveling. When they fail to maintain that control and you suffer a related injury, that is a breach of duty. That breach of duty meant you suffered an injury that resulted in financial losses. Do not bear that loss. A pedestrian accident lawyer in Brooklyn can make sure that does not happen.
When you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a Brooklyn pedestrian accident, and you have questions that need answers, contact a local pedestrian accident lawyer and find out what legal options and rights you have. Do this before you speak with an insurance adjuster.