Being hit by a car or truck while you are on foot can leave you with a lot of pain and a lot of questions. You may wonder whether Indiana pedestrian laws allow you to recover compensation and what the average payout for a pedestrian hit by a car accident is.
These and other questions are best answered by an experienced personal injury attorney. There is no average pedestrian hit by car compensation because the amount of any settlement or award depends on the facts of the case.
Most Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
No part of your body is safe in a pedestrian accident, particularly in pedestrian auto accidents. Following is a list of some of the most common pedestrian injuries.
— Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue injuries include whiplash and similar injuries that doctors often have trouble seeing on medical scans such as X-rays and MRIs. This type of injury can cause a lot of pain. Your lawyer can help you prove your injury, either in court or at the settlement table.
— Broken Bones and Bone Fractures
Bone fractures are perhaps the most common type of injury in pedestrian accidents. Sometimes they are not very serious. In other cases, you could end up in traction. A broken bone could even puncture an internal organ. Broken ribs, in particular, can cause debilitating suffering that might justify a large claim for pain and suffering.
— Traumatic Brain Injury
Pedestrian injuries and fatalities caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI) are especially common in car-pedestrian accidents. Symptoms might not show up immediately. Since TBI can result in death or lifelong disability, you need to begin preparing your claim as soon as possible after the accident. The assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer is a practical necessity.
— Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries include neck and back injuries. They frequently cause paralysis, which could result in total occupational disability. Serious spinal cord injuries frequently require long-term care, justifying large compensation claims.
Amputation of body parts such as arms, legs, or feet can cause lifelong disability and psychological trauma. Amputation injuries can easily justify incredibly high compensation claims, especially when combined with other injuries.
— Injured Extremities
The term “extremities” typically refers to the hands and the feet. Injuries to the hands and feet are common in pedestrian accidents. In some cases, the doctor might even need to amputate an extremity to prevent gangrene.
— Emotional Trauma
Indiana allows you to claim damages for emotional distress, especially if you sustained a physical injury as well. Damages for emotional trauma are a form of non-economic damages, and they can amount to more than half of the entire value of your claim.
If someone dies in a pedestrian accident, a wrongful death claim, rather than a personal injury claim, is appropriate. Wrongful death claims work differently than personal injury claims. The claim must be filed by the estate executor (for adult victims) or the parents (for child victims). Damages are different as well.
Damages that May Be Recovered in a Pedestrian Accident
There are three main types of damages that may be recovered in a pedestrian accident. These damages are meant to address the losses you might experience in a pedestrian crash and hold the at-fault party responsible.
- Economic Damages: Reimburse you for medical bills, lost wages, prescription drug costs, assistive devices, and other monetary losses and expenses.
- Non-Economic Damages: Meant to compensate you for intangible harm, like pain and suffering.
In addition, punitive damages designed to punish the at-fault party may be available if the driver’s behavior is especially egregious or shocking.
What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?
To protect yourself legally and physically, you need to know in advance what to do in case of a pedestrian accident. Following are some tips.
• Seek Medical Attention
Don't wait, even if you think you can afford to. Medical records are the best way of documenting personal injury in pedestrian accidents. Failing to seek immediate medical attention might give the defendant the opportunity to claim that her injuries resulted from something that happened to her after the accident.
• Record Information About the Accident
To the extent that your injuries allow, gather the following information:
- Photos of the scene of the accident, damaged vehicles, skid marks, and any injuries;
- Contact details for the driver of the other car (including insurance information) and any witnesses;
- License plate numbers of the vehicles involved; and
- A personal description of the accident and your injuries.
Be careful! In Indiana, leaving the scene of an accident can result in felony charges under certain circumstances.
• Do Not Admit Fault
The words “I'm sorry” should never come out of your mouth, even for the sake of politeness. Do not utter anything that the other side could twist into an admission of fault. There is no need to make it easy for the defendant to evade liability. You can be certain that the defendant will try to blame you for the accident if the facts give them an opening.
• Retain Legal Counsel
Defendants and insurance adjusters love pedestrian victims who represent themselves because it gives them a critical advantage. They also love victims who select substandard lawyers to represent them. Remember – the best way to stay out of court is to retain a law firm with a track record of winning in court.
Indiana’s Fault Insurance System
Indiana’s fault insurance system means that the person who causes your injuries, or their insurance company, is responsible for compensating you.
This system applies in any personal injury accident in Indiana, including:
- Commercial trucking accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Wrongful death
As long as you are not the primary cause of your accident, the person who is responsible will need to pay damages to compensate you for your losses.
Can Pedestrians Be at Fault for Pedestrian-Car Accidents?
Not every collision between a pedestrian and a driver is the driver’s fault. A pedestrian may be partially or completely at fault if the pedestrian:
- Is using their phone or headphones and not paying attention
- Crosses the street someplace other than at a crosswalk
- Walks in an area not designated for pedestrians
- Fails to obey traffic signs and signals
A pedestrian who is primarily responsible for causing an accident may not be able to recover any compensation.
Average Payout for Pedestrian Hit by Car
The average payout for a pedestrian hit by a car depends on several factors, including:
- The severity of your injuries
- How long you are away from work
- How much medical treatment you need
- Whether you will need ongoing treatment
- Whether you face ongoing physical or mental limitations
- How well your personal injury lawyer negotiates with the at-fault party
The amount of insurance coverage available and your decision on whether to settle will also impact your compensation award.
Your pedestrian hit-by-car compensation may range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars or more. The more severe your injuries are, the higher your pedestrian injury compensation award should be.
Factors that Impact Your Pedestrian Accident Settlement
Every pedestrian hit by car settlement will take into account the circumstances of the case. There is no average settlement for pedestrian hit by car cases. The factors that make the most difference in the size of any pedestrian-car accident settlement include:
- Severity of Your Injuries: Severe injuries and long recoveries generally result in a larger settlement
- Impact on Your Job: If your injuries make you miss significant periods of work or your ability to work is negatively affected, it will usually factor into a larger settlement award
- Evidence of Fault: The more the evidence points to the driver being fully or mostly at fault, the more eager the driver and their insurance company are to settle, giving you leverage
- Supporting Documentation of Losses: Your settlement is more likely to adequately compensate you if your losses are documented with bills, medical records, invoices, and other evidence
A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you identify and gather evidence to prove the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life. They will then submit the materials to an insurance company or the court.
Pedestrian Hit-by-Car Settlement Examples
Consider these examples of settlements from pedestrian-car accident cases:
• $215,000 Settlement
A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning motorist while the pedestrian was crossing the street. The driver was looking for other traffic and did not see the pedestrian. The pedestrian suffered injuries, including a concussion and a separated shoulder.
The pedestrian received a $215,000 settlement to cover his medical bills and two months of lost pay.
• $110,000 Settlement
Another injured pedestrian was hit by a negligent driver while the pedestrian was crossing the road via the crosswalk. The pedestrian required a plate in her face due to a broken orbital bone, resulting in high medical bills and a strong injury claim.
The driver’s insurance company paid $10,000 to the pedestrian, and a policy held by her husband providing uninsured motorist coverage paid $100,000.
Your pedestrian accident settlement might be higher or lower depending on your case. Having a pedestrian accident lawyer can maximize your personal injury lawsuit.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Following are some safety tips to help you avoid common injuries in pedestrian accidents:
- Wear bright clothing at night to increase your visibility. Consider carrying a flashlight while walking at night.
- Never jaywalk. Jaywalking is an invitation to pedestrian-car accident injuries that the driver may be able to blame on you, perhaps leaving you with no compensation.
- Stay off the shoulder of the road wherever possible. Since sidewalks are the safest place, plan your route around them.
- Avoid distractions such as earbuds playing loud music.
- Don't walk while intoxicated, unless the only alternative is driving while intoxicated.
- Do not talk about your pedestrian accident on social media. Statements you make on social media will be reviewed by the opposing party and can hurt your case.
In addition to the foregoing tips, always be aware of what is going on around you.
Pedestrian accidents tend to be serious, and they very often cause lifelong disability. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you calculate your future damages, which can be difficult to prove. Remember — once your case resolves, you won't be able to come back and ask for more money later. You have to get it right the first time around.
As Northwest Indiana's top personal injury lawyers, we offer the following:
- Over eight decades of successful trial experience;
- A track record of large personal injury settlements for our clients; and
- Thousands of satisfied clients.
We serve personal injury clients in Gary, Crown Point, Portage, Hammond, Merrillville, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Northwest Indiana.