Edison Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Walking is a daily part of most people’s lives. Whether it’s our preferred form of exercise or part of how we get to and from work or school, many of us spend hours each week on sidewalks, in crosswalks, and along road shoulders. Walking comes with lots of benefits, and lots of dangers.
Pedestrians who do not suffer fatal injuries in accidents with cars often sustain severe, life-altering injuries. Long hospital stays, rehabilitation and therapy needs, surgeries, follow up care, and medication can cause medical bills to flood-in and leave victims with a pile of medical debt that seems insurmountable.
If you find yourself struggling with injuries and expenses after a car strikes you as a pedestrian, New Jersey law may entitle you to seek compensation from the driver who hit you, or others, through a personal injury lawsuit. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Edison Pedestrian Accident lawyers as soon as you can to learn more.
Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Nationally, a pedestrian was killed every 88 minutes in a traffic accident in one recent year, and in the following year that amounted to over 6,200 pedestrians who suffered fatal injuries in collisions with cars—the highest pedestrian mortality rate since 1990. Pedestrian accidents plague New Jersey, too—toward the end of the most recent year for which data is available, 163 pedestrians were killed in vehicle accidents in our state.
A pedestrian who gets hit by a car may suffer severe, life-changing injuries. We review some of the most common of those below.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries occur when the brain receives a significant blow or jolt or, in some cases, when it has been deprived of oxygen over a sustained period of time. The severity of these injuries ranges from “mild” concussions to brain damage that leaves a victim struggling with severe, long-lasting cognitive, motor, or emotional impairments.
TBIs are not difficult for doctors to diagnose, but they can prove tricky for victims to recognize, at least initially. In some cases, symptoms of a TBI do not appear until days or weeks after the initial injury. That is why, if you suffer any kind of blow or jolt to your head, it is important to visit a doctor right away. After all, think of how quickly pro athletes get taken off of the playing field for concussion screening after a hard collision. You deserve, and should seek, equally prompt treatment.
In most cases, an experienced doctor can spot signs of potential brain injury right away. If your primary care provider is unable to make a firm diagnosis of your TBI, however, then you may receive a referral to a neurologist who can perform tests to confirm the nature and extent of your brain injury. This additional testing may involve a CT scan or MRI to confirm your condition.
Treatment of a TBI can be costly and may involve a medication regimen, outpatient therapy, mental health therapy, rehabilitation treatment, participation in a community reentry program, or home health services.
Bone Breaks and Fractures
Excessive force applied to a bone can lead to a fracture or break. These injuries are treatable and not uncommon, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t painful—both at the time of the injury and for some people for the rest of their lives. Treatment of a break or fracture may involve the wearing of a cast or sling for a few weeks and then follow on physical therapy if the fracture was severe enough.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are those which affect the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body. Such injuries may include sprains, bruises, lacerations, bruising, and tears. Not all of them are serious enough to require medical intervention, but often they cause the victim such significant pain that she is unable to engage in activities of daily living or to perform physical job functions for an extended period of time.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord transmits brain signals to the rest of the body. Even what may seem like extremely minor damage to that all-essential bundle of nerves can have drastic effects. Spinal cord injuries can occur from a forceful blow or from a fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae. The symptoms of spinal cord injuries are vast and include motor or breathing impairment (in some cases requiring the use of a ventilator), bowel and bladder dysfunction, lack of motor control, loss of the ability to control body temperature, and even full or partial paralysis.
In some cases, it is simply impossible to save a limb and in other cases it may be that saving it would cause damage to or create a high risk of infection in the rest of the body, and the body part must be amputated. Without a doubt this leaves the victim facing lifelong consequences. Learning how to function without a part of his or her body may include the use of prosthetic devices and almost always requires physical or occupational therapy. The mental and emotional trauma an amputee suffers can be severe and they may be left with symptoms of body dysphoria and a fear of being seen in public.
Victims of pedestrian accidents may suffer from psychological injuries in addition to physical injury. Extreme fear of being in public or walking down the street, depression, anxiety, anger, grief, nightmares, and even post-traumatic stress disorder may afflict the victims of these accidents.
Every year, pedestrians are killed by drivers. If your loved one has been killed by a driver, no doubt you and your family are devastated by your loss and trying to cope with moving on without your family member. You have had to pay for final burial and funeral expenses and, unfortunately, may still be receiving bills for medical care that person received before death. New Jersey allows you to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who caused your loved one’s death and to recover monetary damages for losses the driver has caused your family.
Types of Pedestrian Accident Damages
New Jersey law allows personal injury victims to collect two types of monetary damages from the person who caused their injuries—compensatory and punitive. Damages are either negotiated with the other party in the form of an out of court settlement or, if the injured person does not agree to accept a settlement offer and instead takes the case to trial, a jury determines both fault and the damages award amount.
The intent of compensatory damages, as you might guess, is to compensate victims for losses they’ve actually suffered. However, they are not limited to just those tangible costs you receive a bill for (also known as “economic” damages). You can also recover for intangible non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
- Medical bills – Medical bills are the biggie everyone thinks of when they think of damages from a pedestrian accident—and they certainly can add up to an enormous sum. Even if you have good health and auto insurance, you may still be responsible for a significant deductible or coinsurance payment. Even a short hospital stay of just a few days can consume the maximum benefit amount under your insurance plan. If you don’t have insurance at all, you may find yourself on the hook for every cent of care you receive. Medical costs you may recover as compensatory damages include those for your initial stay, surgeries, follow up care, physical or occupational therapy, rehab services, medical equipment or devices, mental health treatment, or medication you now require.
- Lost wages – Serious injury can cause victims to miss work. Maybe for just a few days right after the accident or maybe for an extended hospital stay and then weeks after. In some cases, victims are unable to work at all or cannot work, but not to perform the same kind of duties as they did pre-accident. In still other cases, they may have to take lower paying work after they’ve recovered due to new physical or mental limitations. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, the law allows you to recover not only for wages you lose around the time of your injury, but also for those you will lose in the future. Of course, calculating current lost wages is a fairly simple calculation that involves taking the time missed and multiplying it by the rate of pay. Determining the amount of future wages your injuries have caused you to lose is a more tricky calculation, but an actuary can figure the amount by considering your pre-accident wages, life expectancy, professional training and education, opportunity for advancement, and the time value of money.
- Non-economic damages – New Jersey law recognizes that not all injuries victims suffer occur to their physical bodies and that not all costs can be documented by a bill, receipt, or invoice. The psychological injury victims suffer can be severe and debilitating just as physical injuries can be. Figuring out what types of non-economic damages you are entitled to receive requires a detailed analysis of the facts of your case. Generally speaking, however, pedestrian accident victims typically can seek compensation for emotional distress, physical pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you have a spouse, that person may also file a claim for loss of consortium at the time you file your lawsuit. Loss of consortium damages are intended to compensate the spouse of an injury victim for his or her loss of the relationship with the injured spouse.
New Jersey courts rarely allow punitive damages awards. They are awarded against a driver only for especially egregious behavior and are intended both to punish the particular defendant and to discourage future similar behavior from others in the community. The maximum amount of punitive damages that a jury may award is set by statute and may only be exceeded if the defendant has been found guilty in a criminal proceeding that was based on the same conduct at issue in your personal injury lawsuit.
The current statutory maximum of punitive damages in New Jersey is set at $350,000 or 5 times the amount of any compensatory damages award, whichever is greater. Regardless of the amount of punitive damages awarded by a jury, the judge in the case must still make a finding that the damages are reasonable.
Edison Pedestrian Accident Frequently Asked Questions
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you might have questions about your legal rights or next steps. Take a look at the FAQ below, or contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP to ask any questions you might have about your right to compensation.
Edison Pedestrian Accident FAQs
New Jersey law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks and exercise caution when driving near pedestrians. In addition, drivers should always look out for pedestrians and yield the right of way when necessary.
However, that does not necessarily mean that drivers always bear liability in a pedestrian accident. Pedestrians must also adhere to the road rules, including following traffic signs and signals and, when available, crossing the street in marked crosswalks rather than simply crossing the road at their leisure.
In many cases, however, motorists involved in a pedestrian accident bear liability for the accident. The pedestrian may have the right to pursue compensation through that motorist’s auto insurance.
If you own a vehicle in New Jersey and carry insurance on it, you likely have PIP insurance or personal injury protection insurance. Personal injury protection insurance covers the immediate costs of medical treatment after a severe auto accident, regardless of who causes that accident. In some cases, you may use your PIP insurance to cover the medical costs associated with a pedestrian accident, even though your accident did not occur in your vehicle.
Notify your insurance provider about the accident and ask whether you can use your PIP insurance to cover the cost of those damages.
Pedestrian accidents can leave you with significant medical bills, which may continue to arrive for months after the initial accident. Since you, as the injured party, will receive those medical services, you will ultimately have to take responsibility for those bills, including making arrangements to pay them.
However, you may have some options that can make it easier to manage your medical costs. First, if you have PIP insurance, you may use it to cover many of the initial costs of pedestrian accident injuries. Next, you may use your health insurance, if you carry it, to help you manage medical care expenses.
Finally, a pedestrian accident claim can help provide you with much-needed compensation following a serious accident. Talk to your lawyer about how much compensation you can expect and how you can use that compensation to cover the cost of your medical treatment.
Drivers bear a particular duty of care when sharing the road with children. Children may not have the same reasoning skills or capacity to make good decisions as adults, which may raise the odds that they will dart into the road unexpectedly or commit another potentially dangerous action. If your child suffers injuries in an Edison pedestrian accident, whether playing in their neighborhood or getting off the school bus, you may have the right to file a pedestrian accident claim for your child.
If you do need to file a pedestrian accident claim on your child’s behalf, keep in mind that New Jersey law has strict requirements for how you can use the funds from a child injury claim. A lawyer can help you work through those challenges and ensure you understand how to properly manage those funds.
Dealing with a pedestrian accident claim can, in many cases, take longer than you might expect. You should expect several months to get a solid resolution to your pedestrian accident claim, particularly if you plan to pursue the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Talk to your lawyer about the potential timeline for your pedestrian accident claim and any elements that could impact it.
In many cases, your lawyer may recommend waiting until you have a chance to start to recover from your injuries before you move forward with a pedestrian accident claim. Pedestrian accidents can cause substantial, severe injuries, including brain injuries, back, and neck injuries, and multiple broken bones.
In some cases, your doctors might not have the capacity to accurately predict what your eventual recovery will look like or what you will have to spend on medical care until long after the initial accident. Since those elements may play a vital role in your injury claim, including the compensation you expect to recover, your lawyer may recommend you wait until you have recovered to put together your claim.
In some cases, investigating a pedestrian accident claim can prove relatively straightforward. You may have clear evidence, including traffic or dashcam evidence, that the driver involved in the accident committed an act of negligence, including driving while distracted or failing to yield to you in the crosswalk. You may have a police report from the accident that lays out the liable driver’s actions and that the driver bears liability. The driver may even accept full liability for the accident.
In other cases, however, the investigation may prove much more complicated. The liable driver might not accept liability for the accident, and the insurance company might not have clear evidence of who caused it.
You might even discover that additional factors played into your accident, like a company with destructive policies for its drivers or a mechanical failure of the vehicle or crosswalk signals. In that case, your lawyer may need to conduct a much deeper investigation into what caused your accident, which means it may take longer to put together your claim.
Investigation can take place while you recover from your injuries since evidence can prove more difficult to collect as more time passes after the accident.
Sometimes, you and the insurance company may come to a reasonable agreement that fits both your needs and the company’s requirements. You may showcase your specific losses to make the insurance company amenable to providing a fair settlement offer, or the insurance company might offer a settlement that you consider reasonable early on.
In many cases, however, it can take several rounds of negotiation before you and the insurance company arrive at a reasonable agreement. Negotiate as long as necessary for the compensation you deserve, since you don’t want an agreement that fails to provide the compensation you need to pay the bills associated with the accident. However, a lengthy negotiation period means a more extended period before your settlement.
Most pedestrian accident claims ultimately settle out of court. However, you may have to take your claim to court to receive a fair, reasonable settlement agreement in some cases. If you do have to go to court to resolve, you can expect it to take longer than if you can settle your claim through negotiation.
When many people think of personal injury claims, they imagine sweeping court battles and an extended presentation period in which both sides have a great deal to say about the accident. However, in most cases, pedestrian accident claims will not have to go to court. The insurance company does not want to go to court for most claims.
Going to court extends the company’s legal expenses, which means that the insurance company may spend more to fight your claim than if the company had paid out the compensation you deserve for your injuries. In most cases, the insurance company will reach a settlement agreement through negotiation that you find reasonable.
A serious pedestrian accident can leave you reeling, unsure of what to do next or how to protect yourself. You may find yourself injured severely. However, what you do immediately after the accident can significantly impact both your medical standing after the accident and your ability to file an injury claim for the injuries you have sustained.
Call 911 to report the accident
Any time you suffer any injury in a pedestrian accident, you should call 911 and report the accident to the Edison Police Department. If you do not need to leave the accident scene to seek medical attention, wait there until the police arrive.
Calling 911 will also summon an ambulance. If you suffered severe injuries, including broken bones or back and neck injuries, you might want to have a medical examination immediately.
Let the police know what led to the accident. When talking to the police, do not make any statement that accepts liability for the accident or brushes off the other driver’s dangerous actions.
Collect photo evidence if you can
You may want to collect evidence like your position in the crosswalk, the car’s make and model that hit you, or photos of your injuries immediately after the accident. Do not put yourself in danger by collecting that photo evidence, but do take the time to put it together if you can reasonably capture evidence without harming yourself further. You may also want to get photos of the liable driver’s insurance information to access that information later.
Go to the hospital to get medical care
Hackensack Meridian Health or Community Hospital Group can provide emergency medical care in a pedestrian accident. Any time you suspect you have injuries from an accident, including a pedestrian accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. A medical care provider can provide immediate treatment for your injuries that may prevent them from worsening.
If you need to file a pedestrian accident claim, you may also find that seeing a doctor has another advantage: it allows you to record what injuries you sustained and when they occurred. That evidence may make it easier to establish your right to compensation for those injuries.
Follow your care provider’s instructions
Your medical care provider may issue specific instructions about how you can best recover from your injuries. You may need particular procedures to maximize your odds of making a full recovery, or you might need to go through physical therapy or practice exercises at home. Your medical care provider may also issue instructions about things you cannot do while recovering, like avoiding certain activities.
If you suffered a brain injury in the accident, your medical care provider might recommend that you strictly avoid any activities that could lead to further head trauma. Follow those instructions as stringently as possible. If you ignore your medical care provider, which leads to increased injury or damage, you may have a more challenging time getting the insurance company to cover your medical bills.
Work with a lawyer to handle your claim
If you want to maximize the compensation you can recover for a pedestrian accident, working with a lawyer can offer your best chance of recovering the full compensation you deserve. An Edison pedestrian accident lawyer from Jacoby & Meyers LLP can gather evidence of your injuries, lay out the full compensation you deserve, and fight on your behalf as your claim progresses.
Contact Our Edison Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Do not give in to a fleeting instinct to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit on your own. That is never a good idea. The other party or (more likely) parties in your suit will almost certainly have attorneys. Realistically, there is no way you can expect to face off against experienced lawyers and hope to recover the compensation you deserve.
The only reliable and effective way to pursue a lawsuit for damages after an Edison pedestrian accident is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the process.
You may wonder how in the world you are supposed to pay for a lawyer when the reason you are filing a lawsuit is partly because you cannot pay your mounting bills. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, for nearly 50 years, we have provided skilled and compassionate legal representation to injured people regardless of their ability to pay by operating on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you do not owe us any money unless and until we recover a settlement or jury verdict for you.
We have a strong track record of recovery for our clients. Of course, we cannot guarantee a particular result in your case, but you can rest assured that we bring the full weight of our nearly half a century of personal injury law practice experience, extensive knowledge of the law, and our human compassion to every case we take on. Allow us to fight for your rights and to ensure that you receive every cent of the compensation you deserve while you take the time to heal from your injuries and get your life back.
Contact us online or by phone in toll free at (877)-565-2993 today for your free case evaluation. But don’t forget—you only have two years from the date of your accident to file your suit, so contact us today.
Edison, NJ 08817
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“I’m really grateful for the settlement my lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers helped me to obtain. I was badly hurt when another driver crashed into my card. The driver was carelessly. My team at Jacoby & Meyers didn’t let the reckless driver get away with it. I’m really glad I made the call to Jacoby & Meyers and would suggest anyone hurt in a car crash do the same.”
Review by: Jose V.
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