Pedestrians and bicyclists are always at a disadvantage when they’re sharing the road with motor vehicles. They’re at a disadvantage, too, when they’re in a wreck, due to the fact that there’s no protective barrier around them to protect them from injuries.
Economic conditions and health concerns have more and more people biking or walking to their destinations, but urban areas are poorly designed for their safety. That’s partially the reason that U.S. pedestrian deaths are at a 40-year high.
Where can victims turn for compensation?
When a cyclist or a pedestrian is injured due to a driver’s mistake, the victim can usually look to the driver’s car insurance for compensation. (In some situations, such as when the driver is uninsured, obtaining compensation may be done by suing the driver directly.)
The type and amount of compensation that an injury victim receives can depend on the extent of the damages they’ve suffered, any level of fault the victim bears in the situation and the limits of the driver’s insurance policy or assets. In general, compensation may include:
- Economic damages: These are the losses that are fairly easy to calculate. They can include ambulance costs, hospital bills, post-hospital stays in nursing care facilities, physical rehabilitation costs, the value of the victims’ lost wages and the value of their damaged property (like a bike). It can also things like future medical expenses and future lost wages, depending on the severity of the injuries.
- General damages: These are the losses that are more difficult to put in numbers. It can include things like the emotional toll of permanent disfigurement, pain and suffering or the lost enjoyment of life following the crash.
- Punitive damages: These are rarely awarded, but there are times when a driver’s actions are deemed outrageously reckless or even intentional. When that happens, the court can impose financial penalties on the defendant in the form of punitive damages. These are designed solely to discourage both the defendant and anybody else from doing the same thing again.
If you’ve been injured while walking or riding your bike, it can be difficult to understand what your personal injury claim is really worth. Seeking legal guidance can help you understand what you deserve and where the funds can be found.