What’s the Average Settlement for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?
Pedestrians struck by vehicles often suffer life-changing injuries.
Helpfully, Colorado law allows injured victims to sue any driver who is at fault for the collision and receive compensation to help cover the costs of their injuries.
At the Law Office of Steve Roberts, we receive numerous calls from the public every day. One question we receive regularly is “What is the average pedestrian accident settlement?”
People ask this question for a variety of reasons, and we decided to write a blog post about it.
Here’s the deal: personal injury settlements are private, so no one has collected all of the pedestrian accident settlements in Colorado to calculate the average settlement.
Furthermore, even if someone had done all this math, the number you get isn’t really helpful. Every pedestrian accident is unlike any other pedestrian accident, so “average” is not meaningful.
Instead, there are a few factors lawyers use to help calculate what would be a fair settlement in your case. We turn to them now.
You Can Receive Compensation for Your Economic Losses
Economic losses are money you spent as a result of the accident to try and recover. Some people refer to these losses as “specific damages,” but the term used isn’t really important. Under the law, you can be fully compensated for:
- Medical care received to treat your injuries. This includes the costs of transportation to the hospital, surgery, tests and bloodwork, prescription drugs, doctor visits, crutches or a wheelchair, and rehabilitation. Basically, you can receive compensation to cover any reasonable medical care that you need as a result of the accident.
- Lost wages or income, even if you were self-employed. If your injuries keep you from working, you can receive money to make up for the income lost.
- Property damage. Maybe your iPhone broke when a car hit you, or your glasses shattered when you fell to the ground. You can receive compensation to repair or replace any damaged property.
Calculating your economic losses is pretty easy. Find all receipts, bills, repair estimates, and pay stubs. Then you can add up all the amounts. Unless you are somehow to blame for the accident, you should receive 100% of these amounts.
How You Can Get Compensation for Non-Economic Losses
Non-economic losses are also called “general damages,” and they cover injuries that are harder to assign a precise dollar value to. For example, you can receive compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Negative changes to your marriage
Imagine that your injuries prevent you from ever picking up your grandchild or ever being able to be intimate with your spouse. These are real losses that you have suffered, and you deserve compensation. True, it would be better if you could have your old body back, but that isn’t an option. Instead, a court can award you a sum of money to try and make up for these intangible losses.
As an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, I can use my knowledge to estimate how much you can receive in general damages. Generally, someone with a permanent disability or disfigurement will receive much more than someone whose broken bones heal in a few months.
However, there are a variety of considerations to take into account. Realize that you can increase your chances of obtaining favorable compensation by fully documenting how the accident has impacted and changed your life for the worse.
Your Own Negligence Will Reduce the Amount You Can Receive
Many pedestrians contribute to their own accidents by, for example, doing the following:
- Walking on the shoulder when they could walk on the sidewalk
- Wearing dark clothing at night
- Listening to music or looking at their phone and not paying attention to where they are walking
- Crossing an intersection when they don’t have permission
- Darting out directly in front of traffic
- Walking while impaired by drugs or alcohol
In the event of a crash, the pedestrian is somewhat to blame for the collision. They might not be entirely at fault, but they also are not entirely blameless.
Colorado law recognizes that injured victims can sometimes contribute to their injuries and has developed the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, the amount of compensation you receive is reduced by your percentage of fault:
- If your injuries are worth $100,000 but you are 40% to blame, you can only receive $60,000.
- If your injuries are worth $100,000 but you are 20% to blame, you can only receive $80,000.
However, if you are 50% or more responsible, then you will not receive any compensation for your injuries. To be able to sue, you must be less responsible than all other defendants combined. In other words, you can be 49% responsible—but not more.
Discuss your own actions leading up to the accident with your attorney. If you were also negligent, then you shouldn’t expect to receive full compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
The Defendant’s Insurance Policy Can Limit Compensation
Colorado only requires that motorists carry $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability car insurance, and very few drivers carry more. This means that the driver who hit you might not have enough assets to pay full compensation for your injuries. Although you can sue the driver, he or she still might not be able to pay you even if you win the lawsuit.
Experienced Colorado pedestrian accident attorneys understand that sometimes there is more insurance in play than initially thought. For example, if someone hit you driving for their job, then their employer’s business insurance policy might cover the accident. If you have under-insured motorist coverage, then you can also tap that insurance as well.
Contact Us Today
After a pedestrian accident, you might be struggling with medical bills and other expenses. You need a settlement that helps you cover your expenses so that you can pay other bills and provide for your family.
Call us today, 720-515-7058. The Law Office of Steve Roberts is committed to the welfare of our clients, and we use our skills every day to advance their interests. We offer a free initial consultation.