Traveling near roadways as a pedestrian is often a risky undertaking, depending on the surroundings. Morgantown’s mountainous setting makes it both a beautiful and dangerous city for drivers and pedestrians alike. As a pedestrian on your commute, you are often in a vulnerable position, walking or jogging alongside vehicles, motorcycles, and tractor-trailers. Pedestrian accidents are often devastating collisions that result in severe injuries and, in the most extreme cases, death.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian in Morgantown, you are likely facing a long road to recovery, mounting medical bills, and uncertainty surrounding your future. Following a pedestrian accident, you may feel confused about how to protect your rights and seek compensation for the injuries that you have incurred. Obtaining legal representation early on will help ensure that your rights and best interests are protected and fought for throughout your Morgantown pedestrian accident matter.
If you have questions following a Morgantown pedestrian accident, reach out to the legal team at Wagoner Desai today.
Impacts of Pedestrian Accidents
Beyond the urgent and immediate need to heal and recover from your injuries, a pedestrian accident can impact your life in unimaginable ways. It is common for individuals injured in Morgantown pedestrian accidents to sustain severe injuries. These severe injuries often require time and extensive medical care, treatment, and rehabilitation to ensure a full recovery. This unexpected disruption in your life can result in interferences with your job, daily routine, and ability to complete everyday tasks.
As a victim of a Morgantown pedestrian accident, you may qualify to seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical treatment for your injuries, including rehabilitation
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries
- Wages lost due to prolonged absence during recovery or an inability to perform previous work duties
- Pain and suffering for the injuries you have sustained and the impact on your day-to-day life
- Damage to property involved in the accident
Most Common Types of Morgantown Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians face more perils than they realize while on foot along roadways and sidewalks. Many predictable and preventable situations can result in a Morgantown pedestrian accident, but some situations present greater risks. Unlike hiking and exploring in areas that vehicles do not frequent, roadways present constant hazards and dangers to pedestrians on neighborhood, rural, and city streets.
Some of the more common types of Morgantown pedestrian accidents occur in one of the following scenarios:
- While traveling along a sidewalk or designated pedestrian path
- While crossing a roadway
- In a parking lot or parking garage
- Traveling in rural areas or neighborhoods
- While walking or jogging along the road with vehicular traffic
Possible Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Morgantown
If you were in a Morgantown pedestrian accident caused by the negligent actions of another party, many circumstances may contribute to the accident and your injuries. Determining the cause of your accident, and all of the contributing factors, will constitute an important element of your Morgantown pedestrian accident lawsuit. Determining what caused or contributed to your injuries, both directly and indirectly, can also lead to the discovery of additional parties that share liability for your damages.
Common causes of Morgantown pedestrian accidents include:
- Limited visibility due to unfavorable weather conditions or nighttime hours
- Distracted driving while texting, talking on the phone, eating, etc.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless or careless driving
- Failing to obey traffic signals or signs
- Road rage
Determination of Negligence in Morgantown Pedestrian Accidents
One crucial aspect of a Morgantown pedestrian accident is establishing that the at-fault party acted negligently and that the negligence caused your injuries. Proving negligence is often complex, depending on the circumstances, and often requires extensive research, knowledge, and experience. While you may initially believe the only party responsible for your injuries is the driver of the vehicle that struck you, we can try to uncover additional at-fault parties.
When determining negligence and fault, a court will consider all of the circumstances of your accident and the possible factors that may have contributed to your injuries. Much of the focus will revolve around determining whether the party responsible for your injuries acted negligently.
The determination of negligence plays a large role in your Morgantown pedestrian accident matter. From insurance claims surrounding the accident to lawsuits against the parties responsible, whether there is evidence of negligence will determine whether you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and from whom.
Morgantown Pedestrian Accident FAQ
Pedestrians and drivers have a duty to remain safe on the road. Pedestrians must obey the rules of the road, just as vehicle drivers do. However, a vehicle driver has a higher duty of care because he or she must remain in control of the vehicle. When a driver loses control and hits a pedestrian, the accident is often catastrophic because pedestrians do not have any protection from the weight of the vehicle that hits them.
Are Drivers Always at Fault if They Hit Someone in a Crosswalk?
No. If the pedestrian runs out into the crosswalk in front of traffic, the driver might not be able to stop. While drivers do have to yield to those in crosswalks, pedestrians must also follow the rules, including traffic control signs and ensuring no traffic is approaching the crosswalk if the driver has a green light. If the crosswalk is not near an intersection, pedestrians must ensure that no vehicles are approaching the crosswalk.
What If the Driver Does Not Have Insurance or Is Underinsured?
If the driver does not have insurance, your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy should cover some of your damages. If the driver is underinsured, your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy should pick up the damages that the defendant’s insurance does not pick up.
What Do I Need to Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
If a vehicle hit you and you are able, you should:
- Make sure you are safe where other vehicles cannot hit you.
- Call first responders and the police.
- Obtain the driver’s contact, license, and registration information.
- Obtain contact information from witnesses. You can also ask them what they saw.
- Take photos of the accident scene.
- Allow the emergency medical technicians to check you over.
- Seek medical care as soon as possible.
- Document all of your medical care.
- Contact a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Injuries Could I Sustain in a Pedestrian Accident?
First, always seek medical attention after a pedestrian accident. Even if you think your injuries are minor, they could become serious. Some injuries take hours or even days to show up. Injuries could range from minor cuts and scratches to catastrophic injuries. Additionally, minor cuts and scrapes could become serious should they become infected.
The injuries you might sustain in a pedestrian accident include:
- Bumps, scrapes, bruises, cuts, and scratches.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Internal injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Road rash.
- Thermal and chemical burns.
What Kind of Compensation Could I Recover After a Pedestrian Accident?
You could recover compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages. Special damages, or economic damages, have a monetary value. General damages, or non-economic damages, do not have a monetary value.
Damages you might recover, depending on the severity of your injuries, include:
- Medical expenses, including future medical expenses. Medical expenses include surgeries, follow-up appointments, prescriptions, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological therapies. You could also recover compensation for fitting your vehicle with hand controls and adding mobility aids, such as a wheelchair ramp and grab bars to your home.
- Lost wages and future loss of earning capacity. Even if you can work part-time, or if your injuries force you to take a job that pays less than your previous job, you could receive a loss of earning capacity.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses if you lost a loved one because of a pedestrian accident. You might also recover certain other expenses, such as probate court filing fees.
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress. If you lost a loved one, you could also recover compensation for emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make life changes, such as using mobility aids or taking prescriptions for the rest of your life.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy time with your family.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do your regular chores, such as lawn maintenance, home repair and maintenance, grocery shopping, and house cleaning.
- Compensation for amputation.
- Compensation for excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
Can I Recover Punitive Damages?
In certain circumstances, you might recover punitive damages. You will have to prove that the defendant’s actions and/or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional, and the court must award compensatory damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit in Morgantown?
You have two years to file a lawsuit against a defendant in most injury cases. However, most insurance companies require you to start a claim within as little as 14 days. The sooner you can contact an accident lawyer, the sooner you can start working on your claim—and the more you will remember about the accident. If you were to wait, you could forget pertinent facts that could help your case.
Do I Need an Accident Attorney?
Yes, especially if you have severe or catastrophic injuries. Pedestrian accident cases can change your whole life. You need to recover the compensation you deserve to cover future medical expenses and other damages. Additionally, more than one person or entity could share responsibility for your injuries, which further complicates the case.
Finally, insurance companies are in business to make money. Thus, they may look for a way to deny your claim or offer you a pittance. Instead of wasting energy fighting with insurance companies, let an accident attorney fight for you to recover the compensation you deserve.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, contact a Morgantown pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.
Should You Contact Our Attorneys Following a Morgantown Pedestrian Accident?
Navigating pedestrian accidents is a complicated process, and many actions can put your case and settlement options at risk. It is best to consult with a qualified, knowledgeable, and professional Morgantown pedestrian accident lawyer at Wagoner Desai as soon as possible following your pedestrian accident to determine your best steps forward.
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are common in Morgantown. Following such an accident, you will likely direct much of your focus toward your recovery and regaining as much normality as possible in your life. Managing communications and inquiries from opposing attorneys, insurance companies, and other third parties involved in your case can prove time-consuming and tedious. Obtaining legal counsel as early as possible in your matter will help lift the burden of maintaining communications with these parties, as well as help preserve your legal rights and interests during each step of your Morgantown pedestrian accident case.
Pedestrian accidents can happen to anyone. Everyone traveling along the roadside is at risk of sustaining injuries in a pedestrian accident. Some cases involve victims who can’t defend themselves, such as children, the elderly, or disabled individuals. These cases require specialized and sensitive care and legal representation that takes into account the client’s specific needs and considerations. Everyone is entitled to the same legal rights. If the specific circumstances of a case seem to increase its complexity, it is especially important to obtain qualified legal counsel as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one was involved in a pedestrian accident, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Wagoner Desai today or call us anytime at (304) 470-2056 to discuss your eligibility to seek compensation.
Wagoner Desai, PLLC
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505