Interview: Seeking Help for a Pedestrian Accident

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What should you do if you’re injured in a pedestrian accident? How can we — as both drivers and pedestrians — prevent the steady rise of pedestrian injuries?

In this interview, JD Smith explains what you should do after a pedestrian accident injury. Smith is an attorney in Washington with the Law Office of JD Smith, PLLC. He can be reached at 888-981-0015 or by filling out the contact form on the side of this page.

What is a “fault state?”

Washington state is a fault state. This means that if a person is 10 percent at fault for an accident, they can be awarded 90 percent of damages resulting from a lawsuit. What makes Washington different from other states in terms of pedestrian accidents? In other states, the victim is barred from recovery once the threshold passes 50 percent. In most pedestrian accidents, the other driver is found to be 100 percent at fault.

As a pedestrian, you can use PIP (personal injury protection) of the at-fault driver. This means they can recover for medical bills and lost wages, although the wage loss has a 14 day exemption. It can also provide for home cleaning, yard cleaning, and babysitting services. That is unique to Washington. If the driver’s PIP is insufficient, then the injured person can use their own.

For an injured pedestrian, what can they expect from the claims process?

The first step is a call from a claims rep. While those individuals mean well, it’s important to keep in mind that they work for a company, whose goal is to save money however possible. An attorney can help guide in this process. This typically involves:

  1. Opening a claim
  2. Asking for a recorded statement
  3. Injured person receives medical treatment
  4. Negotiation process. If the negotiations fail, this is where the victim typically consults a lawyer, but it can be helpful to seek assistance earlier in the process.

When is the best time to call an attorney if you’re injured as a pedestrian?

As soon as possible. In many cases, they call an attorney too late. Even if they don’t hire an attorney, they can obtain some advice during a free consultation.

As an injured pedestrian, what should you tell the driver’s insurance company if they call you?

Most likely, both insurance companies will reach out. In Washington, you are required to provide a statement to your own insurance company. However, you are not required to provide a statement to the at-fault driver’s company, which many people don’t know. The statement you give to the other driver’s insurance company can be used against you. You are likely not in the best frame of mind to think clearly and provide a good statement. Talk to a lawyer before you take the call.

Are pedestrian accidents preventable?

Yes. Make sure you always walk defensively. Invest in a headlamp or reflective clothing if you plan on walking at night. As a driver, always keep an eye out for pedestrians. Don’t drive distracted.

What’s the most important thing to keep in mind about pedestrian accidents?

If the person doesn’t have significant physical injuries, many have emotional scars and traumas from being hit by a car. They thought they were about to die. Those emotional wounds don’t heal easily. Many people don’t seek the help they need. A counselor or therapist can be helpful in healing this harm. A lawyer can help document how much this injury has affected the pedestrian’s life.

This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.