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What Injured Pedestrians Have to Prove to Recover Damages

August 28, 2023 Legal Team
outside of courtroom with caption: navigate the path to compensation

When an unprotected pedestrian and a 4,000-pound metal vehicle collide, the impact on the pedestrian is serious and often catastrophic or deadly. Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in most states, including Florida, where year-round weather, booming tourism, and increased eco-consciousness mean more people choosing to walk to local destinations. While it may seem clear that drivers are almost always at fault when they hit a pedestrian, according to the law, injured pedestrians bear the burden of proving a driver at fault for their injuries after an accident.

Insurance companies don’t just happily write out checks to cover damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Instead, an injury victim and their attorney must carefully gather evidence of negligence, prove liability, and make a claim for damages.

Proving Liability in a Pedestrian Accident

Proving liability after a pedestrian accident requires demonstrating proof of negligence. A skilled personal injury attorney will investigate the accident by watching traffic camera footage, examining the police report, interviewing eyewitnesses, and consulting with traffic accident reconstruction experts. Proving liability requires showing the following:

  • That the party at fault owed a duty of care to keep pedestrians safe by following traffic laws and avoiding distraction
  • That they breached this duty of care through an act of negligence or reckless driving
  • That the breach of their duty of reasonable care directly caused their injury
  • That the injured pedestrian suffered significant economic damages and pain and suffering due to the injury

Proving liability is an important step for making a compelling argument for compensation from the liable party’s insurance policy.

Proving Damages in a Pedestrian Accident

Once there’s compelling evidence of the liable party’s negligence after a pedestrian accident, you must prove that you’ve suffered damages as an injured pedestrian. Proving economic damages after a pedestrian accident requires showing evidence such as the following:

  • Medical bills and invoices related to the accident
  • Proof of lost wages through employer statements and W2 forms proving your usual income
  • If your injury left you disabled, you’ll require evidence of disability and its impact on your ability to earn a living
  • Evidence of pain and suffering and its impact on your life. Proving pain and suffering as well as other damages such as disfigurement, loss of limb, and emotional trauma may require testimony from medical professionals, submitting your pain journal as evidence, and testimony from family members on the effect of the injury on your life and daily routine

An experienced attorney can calculate your damages in a way that maximizes your compensation.

Negotiating a Settlement for Damages

Once your attorney gathers evidence of liability and damages, they’ll draft a compelling demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Typically, some back-and-forth negotiations take place before arriving at a settlement offer for your damages. Only in cases of insurance companies denying valid claims or seriously undervaluing them does the case proceed to a lawsuit in court.

Like most states, Florida has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. On March 24, 2023, Florida’s legislature passed a new tort reform bill, House Bill 837, that made significant changes to the state’s civil justice system. One of the most important changes was the reduction of the statute of limitations for negligence claims from four years to two years. This reduction in the statute of limitations has significant implications for individuals seeking to pursue compensation for personal injuries caused by negligence.

Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann Will Get You Justice

No one should have to go it alone against powerful insurance companies when they’re at their most vulnerable after a pedestrian accident. An experienced attorney is your best ally in helping to provide evidence to recover compensation for your damages. At Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann, we understand the challenges you’re facing, and we’re dedicated to providing you with strong legal representation. Our team will fight for your rights, navigate the complexities of insurance claims, and ensure you receive the justice you deserve. Contact our personal injury attorneys in Sarasota and Bradenton today to secure the experienced and compassionate guidance you need.