What Damages Can Be Recovered In A Pedestrian Accident Case In California?
You are entitled to recover every type of damage that would be available in virtually any other bodily injury claim when you are involved in a pedestrian accident.
You are entitled to compensation for the medical bills incurred to treat any injuries that you suffered. This can include treatment such as examinations, therapy, medications, prescriptions, over-the-counter medication, and testing such as MRIs, surgery. Don’t forget, it’s not just the past and current medical damages that you have accumulated, you are also entitled to be compensated for future medical care you are likely to need.
Past loss of earnings due to the inability to do your job or for time off of work to attend doctor’s visits are compensable. And it is not just loss of not just your paycheck but also the loss of benefits, loss of contributions to retirement plans, vacation, or contributions to your medical insurance. Future loss of income or loss of ability to compete in the job market, do the same job you used to be able to do, or being unable to work at a job that pays as well as the job you lost may all be considered as part of your damage claim.
Sometimes losing insurance and having to find new insurance increases your expenses. Perhaps the accident has rendered you not insurable and you have to pay a premium for even more expensive insurance. These are important factors to consider when you are seeking damages.
It is crucial that you include your general damages: things such as pain, suffering, grief, humiliation, or disfigurement. Your injuries and your suffering that disrupt your life and will continue to disrupt your life in the future must be accounted for and the defendant and his or her insurance company must be held accountable for all of these damages and losses.
Why Do I Need To Retain An Attorney For My Pedestrian Accident Case In California?
The first reason to retain an attorney is that you are likely to have serious injuries, and when you have serious injuries, the stakes become very high. It is a terrible idea to deal with an insurance company while you’re also dealing with a serious injury and need to focus on your medical care, your pain, your loss of income, and the uncertainty that has been thrust on your life.
Insurance companies are not interested in your welfare and well-being. They are concerned about one thing, and one thing only: how to minimize the amount of money that have to pay. An injury claim is a financial transaction for an insurance company. It is not personal. It is a business transaction and they want to make the cost of transaction as inexpensive as possible. The are not concerned about you, your family, or what has happened to turn your life upside down.
The claims process is adversarial. Never think that it is friendly or that the insurance claims representative is your buddy. You must put yourself and your family first. Even if you are an experienced attorney yourself, you must not represent yourself in a serious injury claim. As an injured claimant, you are too personally involved with your injuries and damages to engage in the kind of clear thinking analysis that your case requires.
When you have sustained serious and long-term injuries, an experienced attorney has the skills and the incentive to represent your interests and manage your case so that you receive the best recovery possible. Even taking into account the fact that an attorney is going to charge a fee, (a contingency fee), you are still far better off with a good attorney than trying to work with an adversarial insurance company on your own.
The insurance company can and will raise any number of defenses or reasons to why they shouldn’t pay your claim in full, or even at all. They owe no duty to you, only to itself and its bottom line. You are at a disadvantage that cannot be overcome without the equalizing effect of an experienced attorney.
It is not a level playing field for you, as an individual, dealing with an experienced claims representative. These are people who know the law (and you may not), who know their rights and your rights (and you may not), and they are in a perfect position to take advantage of you. Do not put yourself in that position. Find a good lawyer.
What If The Driver Of The Motor Vehicle In My Pedestrian Accident Is Uninsured Or If He Flees The Scene? Can I expect To Recover Anything For My Injuries?
Uninsured motorist coverage is one of the most important coverages you can buy and include in your automobile insurance policy. It is also one of the most misunderstood coverages by the insurance agents that sell insurance policies. It is your uninsured motorist coverages that will protect you and your family and pay for your losses and damages if you are in a collision with someone with either no auto insurance or with auto insurance with very low limits of coverage. Even if you are a pedestrian or riding a bicycle, if you are hit and injured due to the negligence of the driver of a car your uninsured motorist coverage will protect you.
Approximately 30% of the drivers on the roads today do not have any insurance. An even larger percentage, although they do have insurance, they have minimum required amount of liability insurance, which, in California, is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per collision. So what happens when, through no fault of your own, while you are crossing the street on a green light and in a marked crosswalk, you are hit and injured by a car that has either no insurance or minimum insurance, or it is a hit and run collision where the other driver flees the scene, and your medical bills, loss of income and other damages are in the hundreds of thousands or even a million dollars? The California minimum coverage will not go far in paying for your losses. And people with either no insurance or minimum coverage do not have substantial assets to pay for your losses themselves? In the case where the other party doesn’t have adequate coverage, or in the case of a hit and run collision, your saving grace would be your uninsured (also called underinsured) motorist coverage.
When you buy insurance, when you renew your insurance coverage, or even right now in the middle of your coverage period, I strongly urge everyone reading this book to contact your insurance agent and increase your uninsured motorist coverage to the maximum amount available under your policy. At a minimum, you should have $100,000 of coverage on the liability portion of your policy and a matching $100,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. More would be even better. Think of it this way: if you are going to carry $100,000 in liability coverage, which would cover other people in case you caused an accident, shouldn’t you also have $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage to make sure that if that accident was caused by someone else, you and your family would be as protected as you are protecting everyone else?
Be aware, however, that even with good uninsured motorist coverage limits, when you make your claim for injuries and damages, and even though you are dealing with your insurance company, the claims process is still adversarial. Your insurance company becomes adversarial to you because they stand in the shoes of the other party’s insurance company. This means they’re going to take on the same position as any other insurance company and require you to prove liability and prove your damages.
Here’s a typical and very common example of how underinsured motorist coverage works. Suppose you have a claim that’s worth $100,000 between your medical bills, loss of income, future medical care, pain, suffering, and disfigurement. You make the claim against the other party, and that party’s insurance company pays you their $15,000 policy limit. What we do is confirm that $15,000 is in fact, all the insurance coverage that they had. We have them sign a declaration under penalty of perjury that they had no other insurance, no excess or umbrella coverage, and were not in the course and scope of employment that might bring in to play their employer thus more insurance. We also confirm that they weren’t on an errand for someone else that could bring in another individual’s insurance.
Once we verify these things, we recover the other party’s available $15,000 insurance limit and then open an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company for an additional $85,000. Your insurance company will be entitled to a credit for the $15,000 you already received, so your $100,000 of uninsured motorist coverage becomes $85,000 of additional coverage for that collision. If the other driver was uninsured, the available coverage for you would be the full $100,000.
We advise our clients to carry at least 100/300 coverage for liability and uninsured motorist coverage. The more insurance you carry in that regard, the better. Our firm recommends that you carry as much insurance as you can afford because we have seen too many clients injured by someone with less insurance, and their uninsured motorist coverage was their saving grace by making a lot more money available to pay for their losses. Given the severity of the injuries and the medical bills that can follow a pedestrian injury, it is always better to have more coverage.
For more information on Damages In A California Pedestrian Injury Claim, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (818) 530-1770 today.