How Long Does It Take To Settle a Pedestrian Accident?

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A woman on a bicycle is struck by a male driver who stops to comfort her.

How long it takes to settle a pedestrian accident is highly variable and depends on several factors. Some cases settle in months, while others may take a year or more, though in general, the more damages you have, the longer it will take to resolve all the issues.

Cases in which the pedestrian was seriously injured or killed, or there is strong disagreement about the facts of the accident, will likely take longer.

The at-fault party’s insurance company can also affect the time frame if they take a while to respond, are uncooperative, or simply won’t agree to a reasonable settlement. Most of these cases settle eventually, but a few proceed to trial, which can further lengthen the process.

If you want an estimate of how long your case might take to settle, we recommend speaking with a North Carolina personal injury attorney. After learning the details of your case, your lawyer can give you a rough idea of how long it might take.

How Severe Are Your Pedestrian Accident Injuries?

Unfortunately, pedestrians involved in car accidents are much more likely to suffer severe injuries than those riding inside a car. This is primarily due to several safety features that protect people in vehicles – airbags, seatbelts, a strong roll cage, etc.

Even motorcycle and bicycle riders typically wear helmets to reduce the risk of head injuries in an accident. But pedestrians have none of these protections.

Unsurprisingly, the CDC reports that the vehicle’s speed strongly affects injury severity – the faster the car is going when it hits you, the more severe your injuries are likely to be.

Getting Help for Your Pedestrian Injuries

Being hit by a car is a profoundly traumatic experience. Sometimes people who have been hit by a car are in shock and struggle to think clearly.

Once you can get your thoughts in order, please seek medical attention for any injuries you have, even if they don’t seem serious. In some situations, pedestrian accident victims don’t experience significant pain or symptoms immediately because the adrenaline rush that helps with “fight or flight” can temporarily suppress pain.

Lack of pain is also a poor indicator that you are fine, as some injuries aren’t painful until the body tries to heal the injured area, and swelling and inflammation set in.

Finally, head injuries are common with pedestrian accidents and can be very serious – even in people initially feeling normal after the injury. For all these reasons, you should let the paramedics examine you even if you “feel fine.”

Seeing a healthcare provider should still be a priority if you develop symptoms a few hours or days after your accident. You can go to your family doctor or urgent care and explain the circumstances of your accident so that the doctor can check for injuries.

Pedestrian Hit by Car Settlement: Determining Injury Severity

More severe injuries necessitate more significant claims due to increased damages. To better understand the role of injury severity in your case, let’s first consider some common potential damages in a pedestrian accident:

  • Medical bills – Depending on what your health insurance covers, a relatively minor injury like a broken leg could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

If you have more severe injuries requiring surgery and a lengthy hospital stay, the bills could soar even higher, surpassing six figures in some cases involving intensive care.

  • Lost time at work – If you’re in the hospital and unable to work for several weeks after your accident, you are missing out on income you could have earned.

Even if you have paid time off, you’re losing those accrued days that you could have used on another occasion, and you deserve compensation for this lost time.

  • Permanent disability or disfigurement – If you have a permanent injury, you should seek compensation even if your income is unaffected.
  • Lost earning potential – When you’re injured severely enough to develop a permanent disability or impairment, you might not be able to return to work ever again.

In some cases, an injured person can work, but not at the same pace as before. They may need to take a less strenuous job, work fewer hours, or switch to a less physical occupation that doesn’t pay as well.

All these situations mean you’ve suffered lost earning potential, another type of damage.

  • Pain and suffering – An injury can lead to severe or even chronic physical pain, but the trauma of an accident can also contribute to anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Both kinds of pain are valid, and you deserve compensation.
  • Loss of consortium or companionship – if the accident has caused a change or loss of a close relationship.
  • Wrongful death – If a loved one has died in a pedestrian accident, you can seek damages for the loss of companionship, financial support, and other related aspects. Additionally, you can seek compensation for medical bills and funeral expenses.

This list makes it easy to understand why more severe injuries lead to heavier damages. The worse your injuries are, the higher your medical costs will be, the more time you’re likely to miss at work, the more pain and suffering you might have, and the more likely you are to sustain a permanent injury or disability.

When you speak with a North Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer, they will ask about your current medical bills and if you’re still in treatment. If you’re still receiving care, they may want to wait to settle your case until your treatment is complete to ensure no medical bills are overlooked.

If you have permanent injuries likely to require ongoing care indefinitely,  your attorney can estimate future medical costs to ensure you don’t settle for an insufficient amount. Your attorney will also ask about time missed at work and if you’ve been able to return to your job yet.

Suppose you don’t anticipate being able to return. In that case, the lawyer may seek a statement from your doctor about the permanent nature of your injuries and the likelihood that you will improve any more than you already have.

Get Help With Your Pedestrian Accident Today

To recover damages for your pedestrian accident in North Carolina, you must prove the driver was entirely at fault. The sooner you consult an attorney, the sooner they can gather evidence to support your case.

Please contact the Heavy Hitters at Tatum & Atkinson today – we’ve recovered over $100 million for our clients to date. There is no charge for your consultation, and if we take your case, you won’t pay anything until we settle it, so there is no need to worry about upfront charges.

Please call 800-LAW-0804 now to learn how we can help you recover your damages.