Edison Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
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.
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.
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 personal injury attorneys as soon as you can to learn more.
Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
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.
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.