Getting struck by a car can cause severe injuries to a pedestrian. Sometimes, these accidents cause fatal wounds to the person on foot. These cases can involve large sums of money. Insurance companies have a significant financial motivation to fight pedestrian accident claims aggressively because of the amount of compensation at stake. Also, the automobile insurance laws in New Jersey are complicated and confusing.
You do not want to give up your legal rights because an insurance company claims adjuster pressured you for a decision. You will want to talk to a New Jersey pedestrian accident attorney before signing any documents, agreeing to a settlement, or even talking to the insurance company about fault or money. Here are a few things that a pedestrian hit by a car in New Jersey needs to know:
The Driver Is Not Automatically 100% at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident
Many people assume that when a car hits a walker, the driver of the vehicle is automatically at fault and liable for all of the losses of the pedestrian. In reality, New Jersey’s laws impose responsibilities on both pedestrians and people who operate motor vehicles.
Pedestrians have a duty to look both ways before stepping into or crossing the street. Walkers are supposed to use marked crosswalks when available. Let’s say that a jogger dashes into the street without looking for traffic. The jogger could have some blame if it was impossible for a car to avoid striking them.
Drivers have a duty to keep a constant lookout for pedestrians. There is a higher responsibility toward young children and people who might have a physical or mental impairment. A car should stop or swerve to avoid striking a pedestrian if at all possible, even when the walker was outrageously careless.
Your Automobile Insurance Policy Might Pay Some of Your Expenses Even When You Were a Pedestrian
Depending on your automobile insurance policy, you might have benefits that will pay some of your medical bills and other expenses even though you were a pedestrian and not in a car at the time of the crash. This fact might sound counterintuitive because you were not in a car, but a careful reading of your policy might reveal that you do, indeed, have a claim for some financial benefits under your automobile policy if a car was involved in the accident.
Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage Can Help in a Hit-and-Run Crash
Many hit-and-run collisions involve cars that hit pedestrians. The at-fault driver panics, thinking that they killed someone. If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your automobile policy, you might be able to pursue a claim for compensation.
Insurance companies treat hit-and-run crashes the same as uninsured motorist collisions because there is no driver present under whose policy you could make a claim. And also, underinsured motorist coverage could be useful if you have catastrophic injuries, the driver got caught, and their insurance was inadequate to cover your losses. Pedestrian accidents are complicated matters. A New Jersey personal injury attorney could help you sort out your insurance questions and help you seek compensation from the at-fault party. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation.