More cities are becoming more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, with designated trails and walkways to encourage foot traffic. However, pedestrians occasionally must cross streets or walk on roads without sidewalks, which puts them at risk of collisions with cars or commercial trucks. A motor vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries to a pedestrian.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you may face extensive medical treatments, costly medical bills, missed days from work, and unimaginable pain and suffering. You deserve compensation for your injuries.
But who covers the medical expenses in a pedestrian accident? Well, it depends on where you live.
How Different States Cover Medical Expenses in Pedestrian Accidents
Each state has different laws determining how to pay medical expenses after a pedestrian accident. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands state law to guide you through the confusing pedestrian injury claims process.
Who Pays Medical Expenses in a Pedestrian Accident in Pennsylvania?
Victims of pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania can pay their medical bills in one of two ways. First, if the pedestrian has their own car insurance policy, or if a spouse or relative living in their home has auto insurance, they can file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim. All motorists in Pennsylvania must purchase this insurance.
If neither the pedestrian nor a relative resident of the pedestrian has auto insurance, Pennsylvania law allows the pedestrian to file a PIP claim under the car insurance policy of the motor vehicle that hit to cover their medical bills.
A PIP claim will not cover all of the medical bills for a severe pedestrian accident. In this case, the injured pedestrian's health insurance may apply. The pedestrian may also seek compensation for other financial losses, like lost income and pain and suffering, through a pedestrian accident lawsuit. However, they can only seek compensation this way if the other party caused the accident.
Who Pays Medical Expenses in a Pedestrian Accident in Florida
Pedestrians injured in accidents in Florida must first seek compensation through their health insurance. Depending on your coverage and the severity of your injuries, your pedestrian accident may still leave you with steep medical expenses, co-pays, and deductibles.
Florida law requires all motorists to carry at least $10,000 in PIP insurance. So, if you own a car and a vehicle struck you while you were walking, running, or crossing a road, you would file a PIP claim through your own car insurance company. Your PIP policy will cover up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost income, but only under emergency medical conditions.
Because pedestrians are so vulnerable in accidents with motor vehicles, the law will consider most pedestrian accidents emergency medical conditions. However, your PIP policy will only pay you $2,500 for minor injuries, provided you seek medical care within 14 days of the accident.
If you don’t have PIP coverage, or if your PIP coverage does not fully cover your damages, you may file a pedestrian accident lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Who Pays Medical Expenses in a Pedestrian Accident in New Jersey
New Jersey also requires motorists to carry minimum PIP insurance to cover car accident injuries. Thus, pedestrians in New Jersey injured in car accidents can seek compensation for their medical bills through their PIP insurance or the PIP policy of a spouse or relative who lives with them.
If you or a resident relative don't have PIP insurance, the New Jersey Property Liability Guaranty Association (PLIGA) may pay your medical bills. However, this special state insurance fund will not cover your medical expenses if you own an uninsured vehicle.
New Jersey's pedestrian accident laws mentioned above only apply if an automobile struck you. If a non-automobile, such as a motorcycle, commercial vehicle, tractor-trailer, or bus, hit you, then the PIP insurance of the at-fault driver will cover your medical bills, even if you have your own PIP policy or live with a family member with PIP coverage.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Last year, 7,388 pedestrians died in accidents with motor vehicles—a 13 percent increase over the previous year. Pedestrian accidents account for 17 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities, with 84 percent occurring in urban areas. Non-fatal pedestrian accident-related injuries resulted in an estimated 104,000 emergency department visits.
These pedestrian accidents can occur anywhere and at any time, but they tend to happen in heavily trafficked urban areas.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cites the following reasons for these accidents:
- Divers under the influence of alcohol cause roughly half of all fatal pedestrian accidents.
- Around 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur when pedestrians are either on the street or crossing it outside of designated intersections, primarily at night.
- Vehicles turning left are three times more likely to strike pedestrians than vehicles turning right, mainly because drivers typically focus their attention on oncoming traffic, while pedestrians tend to look straight ahead.
Who Is to Blame for Most Pedestrian Accidents?
A negligent driver causes most pedestrian accidents through:
- Speeding or recklessly driving
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Disregarding traffic signals and stop signs
Pedestrians often suffer severe injuries when a motor vehicle strikes them because they do not have protective measures available to occupants of cars and trucks.
Pedestrians need to learn their rights and responsibilities to minimize the risk of accidents. However, you cannot control how drivers operate their vehicles.
What Is the Average Cost of Medical Expenses in a Pedestrian Accident?
Hospital stays in the United States can cost thousands, especially for uninsured individuals. On average, a day at the hospital with insurance coverage amounts to $2,607, while an overnight stay costs $11,700. Uninsured patients face an average bill of $9,300 for an overnight stay.
The expenses skyrocket if you require surgery. A surgery bill will charge you for anesthesia, the surgeon's fee, operating room expenses, and pre-surgery care. While insurance providers may cover a portion of these costs, insured patients usually still bear a significant financial burden.
Injured individuals often need to purchase prescription medication for their short or long-term care. The amount spent on medication depends on several factors, and generally, insured patients tend to pay less out of pocket compared to uninsured patients.
If doctors prescribe physical therapy, most health insurance policies cover most of the visits. However, co-payments for these visits can range from $25 to $75, depending on the insurance plan.
Naturally, the expenses escalate for those without insurance coverage.
Pedestrian accidents not only cause physical harm but also leave a substantial financial impact. Many victims of pedestrian accidents file insurance claims and lawsuits to cover their injury-related expenses.
What Damages Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit Recover?
PIP insurance only covers limited medical expenses.
If the driver who hit you bears liability for your injuries, you may recover compensation for other damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of future earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Doss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Disfigurement and scarring
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Pedestrian Accident Claim?
Always consult a lawyer before you accept the money offered by the insurance company.
Here are a few reasons why you need a lawyer for a pedestrian accident:
- Protecting your rights: A lawyer experienced in pedestrian accident cases will protect your rights. They can guide you through the legal process and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
- Assessing the true value of your claim: Insurance companies often offer settlements that may not fully reflect the true value of your claim. A lawyer can assess your injuries, evaluate their long-term impacts on your life, and calculate the appropriate compensation you deserve. They will maximize the value of your claim.
- Negotiating with the insurance company: Insurance companies are skilled at negotiating settlements and may attempt to settle for the lowest possible amount. A lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and fight for a fair settlement.
- Gathering evidence: A lawyer will gather all necessary evidence to support your claim, such as accident reports, medical records, witness statements, and any available surveillance footage. They will build a strong case to demonstrate liability and establish your damages.
- Dealing with legal complexity: Pedestrian accident cases involve complex laws, regulations, and insurance policies. A lawyer will navigate these complexities, meeting all legal requirements and deadlines.
- Handling insurance company tactics: Insurance companies may employ tactics to minimize your claim, such as delaying the process, denying liability, or questioning the severity of your injuries. A lawyer can deal with the insurance company. They will know how to counter these tactics effectively.
- Pursuing legal action if needed: If the other party refuses to reach a fair settlement, a lawyer can file a lawsuit, represent you in court, and present your case effectively.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer with The Levin Firm Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you likely face a long road to recovery paved with costly medical bills. Don't fight the insurance company on your own. An experienced personal injury lawyer can get you the compensation you need and deserve. Contact a personal injury lawyer today for your free consultation and case evaluation.