In the contest between a pedestrian and a moving car, the pedestrian always comes out on the losing end. Pedestrians injured by vehicles can suffer injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives. Broken bones, head injuries, organ damage, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, and even amputations are all common. Of course, with an injury comes the expense of medical treatment. A competent pedestrian accident lawyer can assess the facts of your case and help you file a lawsuit to recover monetary damages for your injuries if the facts of your case so merit.
If you were injured by a car while walking, your injuries may be severe and you may feel overwhelmed with medical bills that seem to never end. Even if you have health insurance, your policy may not cover the entirety of your expenses. In the United States, medical bills are the most common reason that people file for bankruptcy. But that doesn’t have to be you. The law allows you to recover monetary damages from the person who injured you.
Filing Your Lawsuit
Beginning a legal action against the person who injured you requires two things in no uncertain terms: timely filing of your lawsuit and suing the appropriate person.
Nebraska law allows you four years from the date of the incident to file this type of lawsuit. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. While four years may seem like a long time, if you’ve been badly injured, it might take a significant amount of that period for you to recover. Contact a lawyer as soon as you can. If you file your lawsuit past the 4-year mark, the defendant can move the court to dismiss the suit out of hand, and the judge will almost always do so. This puts you in the awful place of being unable to recover any damages at all. Don’t make that mistake!
Your lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts of your case and recommend a way forward. Determining the proper person to bring your lawsuit against (the defendant) may seem like a simple task, but it can easily become complicated. What if the person was driving someone else’s car? Or was on the clock at the time of the accident? Suing the wrong defendant can result in the case being tossed by a judge, just as missing the statute of limitations can.
Each case is, of course, different and requires its own legal analysis, but depending on your situation and the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to recover some or all of the damages below through your lawsuit.
- Initial and ongoing medical costs – Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may have incurred significant medical costs. Unfortunately, in many cases, those costs don’t stop once you leave the hospital. Follow-up doctor’s appointments, seeking the care of a specialist, or maybe even subsequent surgeries can all increase your medical bills.
- Medication or medical devices and equipment – Your injuries may require you to take daily medication or to use specialized medical equipment. Often an injured pedestrian needs to use prosthetic limbs, a walking cane, or a wheelchair.
- Therapy or rehabilitation – Some injuries require physical or occupational therapy to allow the injured person to regain their ability to engage in activities of daily living. You may also be able to recover for costs associated with mental health therapy if the injuries you suffered caused mental trauma and you now also suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoia, or an overwhelming fear of walking on busy streets.
- Pain and suffering – Though more difficult to calculate, mental or physical pain and suffering are very real costs of an injury. This type of damages is meant to compensate the injured person for both physical pain and mental anguish. Calculating them may involve multiplying medical or other monetary damages by a factor of two or more. They may also be calculated by computing a total cost by using a per diem approach under which a daily amount is awarded for each day you suffer pain or mental anguish until your recovery is completed. At times, a formulaic approach may not be used at all. A competent personal injury attorney can help you determine the most appropriate manner in which to calculate your pain and suffering damages.
- Lost wages – If you were working at the time of your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for time missed at work for seeking medical care, because of an inability to work at all, or being required to accept a lower-paying job due to an inability to return to the work you did before your accident. When calculating your lost wages, be sure to document any lost tips, commissions, and retirement contributions you lose due to missing work.
- Future wages – As with pain and suffering damages, lost future wages are more difficult to calculate than those for which you receive a bill. But an actuary can help. The actuary will calculate your lost future wages by taking into consideration your pre-accident wages, education level, any possibility for advancement, and the time value of money.
Keep in mind that you must document all of the medical costs you have incurred throughout the process of diagnosing and treating your initial injury, as well as seeking ongoing medical care such as therapy or rehab. As painful as it may be to do so, watch your mailbox and file your bills somewhere secure.
How a Nebraska Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help
Pedestrians can suffer serious injuries when negligent vehicles hit them. If you were injured, contact an experienced attorney who offers a free consultation and case evaluation to find out if you can seek compensation.