As the 28th most-livable small city in the United States, Edison offers much to residents and tourists alike. Fortunately, the community also has many sites that one can visit on foot versus traveling by car or public transportation.
Unfortunately, many pedestrians in Edison fall victim to reckless drivers, often resulting in serious injury. These victims often do not know their legal options to avoid the financial damage they will face because of their injury. Learn more about the aftermath physically and legally regarding a pedestrian accident, from our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers.
Choice, No-Fault and Basic Policy’s Impacts on Pedestrian Accidents
Every driver on New Jersey roadways must maintain an insurance policy. However, two specific policies meet the minimum standards. The driver’s policy determines how to handle claims following an accident.
Here is how they work:
- Standard coverage – $15,000 is the minimum bodily injury requirement for all drivers. This is the coverage that protects anyone injured in an accident. Drivers also have to have separate personal injury protection (PIP) coverage which provides an additional $15,000 in bodily injury coverage regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Standard coverage covers up to $250,000 for injuries such as permanent or significant brain injury, spinal cord injury, or disfigurement suffered by an accident victim.
- Basic coverage – Basic coverage provides $15,000 per person under PIP coverage, including the same $250,000 for certain injuries. Bodily injury coverage is optional when someone has basic coverage. This coverage also limits the ability to file a lawsuit against a driver.
You can see big differences between these two policy types that affect a pedestrian accident victim in Edison. Pedestrian accident victims should contact an Edison pedestrian accident lawyer to ensure they fully understand their rights.
Edison Accident Statistics and Impact on Pedestrians
Across Middlesex County, more than 18,000 roadway accidents happened in one recent year. Unfortunately, this count also includes pedestrians. Across New Jersey, we lose a person every two days to death after a pedestrian accident.
Victims who survive face life-altering injuries after being struck by a car, including:
- External injuries including road rash, lacerations
- Broken bones, deep cuts, and internal injuries
- Torn or sprained ligaments
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries and back and neck injuries
- Irreparable damage to vital organs and nerves
- Loss of body parts
Remember, pedestrians have very little protection when their opponent is a motor vehicle. Pedestrians have the right of way, they are offered certain protections under New Jersey statutes, and drivers who violate the law face serious penalties.
However, according to Department of Law & Public Safety records, “New Jersey experiences a disproportionate number of pedestrian injury crashes and fatalities compared to the nation as a whole.”
Every pedestrian should seek legal guidance after an accident when they have suffered an injury.
Common Causes of Edison Pedestrian Accidents
There are several reasons why pedestrian accidents occur.
Some primary reasons for pedestrian accidents include:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield to pedestrians or road signs
- Improper lane changes
- Unsafe speeds
Many of these same issues result in car-to-car accidents as well. While two cars colliding can also result in serious injuries, pedestrians are more prone to serious injuries since they lack the benefit of being surrounded by the structure of a motor vehicle. Because of the severity of pedestrian injuries, the medical expenses and other financial losses can be significant.
Insurance Claims and Pedestrian Accidents in Edison
As an injured survivor of an Edison pedestrian accident, you must open an insurance claim.
Before you open a claim, you need a pedestrian accident lawyer who understands:
- Liability proof – Your lawyer will first establish liability for the victim’s injury through police reports, photographs, witness statements, and video collected from nearby business surveillance or traffic cameras.
- Duty of care – Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, there must be a clear demonstration that the person who caused the injury owed the victim a duty of care. In the case of an Edison pedestrian accident, every driver owes a duty of care to others.
- Breach of duty of care – When drivers speed, fail to obey traffic signals, or otherwise violate traffic rules, they have breached their duty of care.
- The breach caused an injury – Seeking medical attention immediately following an injury documents victims’ injuries.
- Injury caused financial losses – A trip to an emergency room can exceed $3,000 in New Jersey. Insurance may only cover part of this cost. Therefore, you must demonstrate financial losses. Edison accident victims often face days or weeks away from work, meaning an additional financial loss.
Because of the complexity of the claims process, victims should contact an attorney with relevant experience as soon as possible.
Insurance Claim Issues in New Jersey Pedestrian Accidents
The choice, no-fault insurance option can make New Jersey pedestrian accident claims complicated. An accident victim can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s policy or with their own policy. If their losses exceed one, they may be able to file a claim with the other. Your lawyer can advise you on whether multiple sources of compensation are available.
Insurance Adjusters and Pedestrian Injury Claims
Once an accident victim opens an insurance claim, they will hear from an adjuster. The victim should exercise great caution because the adjuster can use anything to minimize the value of their claim.
An adjuster may:
- Ask for a recorded statement – An accident victim should never provide a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. Adjusters will often advise a victim these statements are required. Rest assured, they are not required.
- Send documents for signature – Never sign any documents received after an accident without having them reviewed by a skilled attorney who understands New Jersey personal injury law. Doing so could jeopardize a final settlement negatively.
- Indicate potential partial fault – Most accident injury lawyers encourage their clients not to speak with an adjuster except to provide the location, date, and time of an accident. This is good advice because an adjuster will likely attempt to get the victim to admit they had some fault for the accident.
Accident victims should always be aware that an insurance adjuster, even from their own insurance company, is not working in the victim’s best interests. They are working for the insurer, and the goal is to help the insurer resolve a claim for as little money as possible.
Potential Recovery of Damages After an Edison Pedestrian Accident
One of the more common questions asked by accident victims is what a settlement might produce in terms of dollars. There is no easy way to address this question without fully understanding every aspect of an Edison pedestrian accident.
Some factors that play a role in the settlement include:
- Medical costs – An accident victim’s medical costs begin the minute they seek emergency treatment following their injury. Medical insurance may partially cover these costs. However, there are some expenses, such as certain drugs, treatments, or specialists, which the victim must pay out-of-pocket. Medical costs may not end soon after an accident, either. Victims who suffer serious injuries may face a lifetime of potential medical expenses, which a claim could also include.
- Lost wages – When a victim suffers a broken bone in a pedestrian accident, they could be out of work for as long as six weeks. However, those who suffer a more traumatic injury, for example, TBI, may never be able to return to work. Claims for reimbursement following an Edison pedestrian accident can include current and future lost wages.
- Other losses – Loss of enjoyment of life, mental and physical pain and suffering, and other non-monetary losses may also be included in a final settlement demand that an attorney makes on behalf of an Edison pedestrian accident victim.
Every accident injury situation is different. A victim is not the same age, in the same overall health, or suffering the same level of injury as another victim. Therefore, there is no easy way to determine without evaluating an entire case what the victim may be able to collect following an injury.
New Jersey Rules Regarding Filing a Personal Injury Claim
It is important to remember that the unique features of no-fault insurance in New Jersey encourage accident victims to seek compensation under their policies.
Under New Jersey statute 39:6A-8(a) only allows an accident victim to sue drivers for:
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Displaced fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury
A permanent injury is considered permanent and unlikely to change regardless of the type of treatment a victim undergoes. The ability of a victim to file a lawsuit also hinges on the auto insurance the victim carries. Although you were a pedestrian, your claim will initially go through your insurance company if you have a registered automobile. Unless your coverage allows you to file a lawsuit, you may be unable to file a suit. Make sure you discuss your insurance coverage with your attorney.
Paying an Accident Injury Attorney After a Pedestrian Accident
Victims of Edison pedestrian accidents are rightfully concerned about finances while recovering from their injuries. Between insurance adjusters encouraging them to proceed without a lawyer and concerns about finances, they often feel they would be better off dealing with the insurer on their own. This would be a mistake.
Many Edison pedestrian accident victims are unaware that most personal injury attorneys will take a case on a contingency fee basis.
Here is how that usually works:
Step One: Potential client contacts attorney for a free consultation with no strings attached.
Step Two: The lawyer does a case evaluation and advises the potential client of their legal options.
Step Three: Potential client opts to hire an attorney to represent their interests and advocate on their behalf.
Step Four: Legal team prepares a contingency fee agreement. This agreement spells out the client’s costs for non-legal fees such as document preparation, filing fees, etc. The agreement also contains the fee the attorney will collect if the firm is successful in obtaining a settlement on their behalf.
Step Five: The law firm takes over all negotiations on behalf of the client but keeps the client informed every step of the way and discusses all settlement offers with the client. Once agreeing to a settlement, the attorney reviews all the settlement documents, explains them, and advises the client about what signing the documents means. The client then signs the documents if they agree with the terms.
Step Six: The legal firm receives the settlement check. They take out the legal and other fees and submit the balance to the client.
Every pedestrian accident case will require a different legal intervention depending on various factors. Any victim of an Edison pedestrian accident should contact an experienced accident injury lawyer to find out what legal options are available. Your family should not have to deal with the long-term financial issues resulting from someone else’s negligent conduct. Let an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer help you.