Don’t Make These Mistakes After a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accidents happen far too often in our state.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, around 60 people are killed in pedestrian accidents each year in the Badger State, and another 1,200 are injured.
If you’re ever involved in a pedestrian accident, avoiding these common mistakes can protect your rights to maximum compensation.
Not Getting Immediate Medical Treatment
The first rule of all injury claims is to get immediate medical attention and treatment—even if you don’t think you were seriously injured. It’s even more important in pedestrian accidents, as being struck by a vehicle puts you at high risk of suffering internal injuries that don’t become symptomatic for hours or even days.
If you fail to get medical treatment right away, your injuries can worsen, and the insurance company will be more skeptical of your claim. The more time that passes between your accident and your initial medical evaluation, the more the insurance company will doubt that your injuries occurred when and where you say they did.
Admitting Fault for the Accident
Although pedestrians can be at fault for accidents, they usually aren’t. In most cases, it’s up to drivers to be alert, focused on the road, and prepared to stop to avoid collisions with pedestrians. And even when pedestrians think they’re at fault, it’s common for evidence to later reveal the drivers who hit them were even more at fault due to being distracted, speeding, or failing to yield.
Unfortunately, admitting fault to the driver who hit you, the police officer who responds to the accident, or even the EMS crew who transports you to the hospital can jeopardize your claim. Even if evidence later reveals you weren’t at fault, your initial admission of fault will continue to be used against you by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Not Following Up on Your Medical Care
Getting immediate medical attention is extremely important, but it’s not the only health-related requirement for successful pedestrian accident claims. They also require being honest about your pain levels and the severity of your injuries, complying with your doctor’s orders, attending appointments, visiting specialists and physical therapists, and getting recommended diagnostic tests.
If you stop getting medical treatment for your injuries, it can make the at-fault driver’s insurance company suspicious of your injuries. They may think you weren’t hurt as badly as you say you were or that you don’t deserve as much compensation.
Accepting the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer
Auto insurers have many tricks up their sleeves to pay victims as little as possible, and one of the most common is offering them “lowball” settlements days or weeks after their accidents. Insurers know victims need money for their medical bills and lost wages, and they also know that accepting a single settlement means victims can’t ask for more money later.
If you get a fast settlement offer, there’s a very good chance it isn’t enough money to cover your accident-related expenses. While it may cover your expenses the day you accept it, it’s unlikely to cover your future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, accepting a settlement offer also means accepting that you can’t file another lawsuit or damages claim.
Not Calling a Lawyer ASAP
Contacting an experienced law firm after a pedestrian accident is one of the most important moves you can make. First, it frees you up from having to talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Instead of calling, texting, or emailing you, the insurance company will be required to go through your lawyer, allowing you a chance to rest and focus on your recovery.
Second, a lawyer can protect your rights to the money you’re owed. They can advise you on the steps to take—and the mistakes to avoid—throughout the legal process. This maximizes your chances of getting fair compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Our Wisconsin Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
Pedestrian accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and more for victims. It’s unacceptable for insurance companies to give victims the runaround or even deny their claims outright, but it happens all the time.
At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, it’s our mission to protect the rights of injured pedestrians. Contact us today if you or someone you love was hurt by a negligent driver while you were walking in Wisconsin. We have the experience and aggressive approach you need to get the money you deserve.