Navigating Insurance Claims After a Pedestrian Accident in Washington State

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Bicycle And Pedestrian Accidents, Personal Injury

Like many metropolitan cities, Seattle has made concerted efforts to increase accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists. Designated bike lanes and pedestrian walkways have made the city easier to explore by bike or on foot. Unfortunately, 24 years after Washington announced its commitment to decreasing the number of pedestrian deaths to zero, the data reveals that this goal is far from becoming a reality. Even though Washington was the first state to implement its Target Zero vision for reducing the number of traffic deaths to zero by 2030, the number of pedestrian deaths has risen since 2017 and remains concerningly high. In Seattle alone, pedestrian deaths have exceeded 20 fatalities per year since 2021. The city has responded by lowering the speed limit on many arterial streets, adding more sidewalks and ramps, and implementing infrastructure that separates pedestrians and vehicles at high-traffic intersections. While these efforts will likely have some impact on the number of pedestrian accidents, it’s essential that those exploring the city on foot do so safely and cautiously.

Accidents can happen to anyone at any time—even to the most cautious drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident in the greater Seattle area and you suffered an injury as a result of the collision, you have the right to explore your options for recovering the compensation you need to support the various aspects of your recovery. The pedestrian accident claims process can be tricky to navigate without the guidance of a knowledgeable legal professional who understands the nuances of these cases, so it’s usually best to discuss the details of your case with a dedicated and experienced pedestrian accident attorney. Together, you can identify the most strategic path forward that maximizes your settlement offer and secures you the most fair and favorable outcome possible. This post will explore some of the common causes and injuries associated with pedestrian accidents in King County and the steps you can take to recover the compensation you need to start getting your life back on track after the incident.

Common Factors Leading to Pedestrian Accidents in Washington

While pedestrian accidents can occur at any time of day or along any type of roadway, there are certain factors that increase the likelihood of a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. For instance, the majority of pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, as there is a naturally higher density of cars, trucks, bikes, scooters, and pedestrians. Moreover, approximately 75 percent of pedestrian accidents happen outside of designated crossways or intersections because drivers are less likely to watch for pedestrians attempting to cross the road in non-intersection areas. It may not be surprising to learn that pedestrian accidents tend to occur at night in poorly lit areas, as reduced visibility makes it more difficult for drivers to spot pedestrians.

Driving Behaviors That Contribute to Pedestrian Accidents

In addition to environmental factors, driver behaviors can cause pedestrian accidents. For example, drivers who travel well above the speed limit or drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to become involved in a pedestrian accident because of these risky and unsafe behaviors. Additionally, texting while driving or engaging in other distracting behaviors behind the wheel puts drivers and others at risk of collision. Other reckless or inattentive driving practices, such as failing to use turn signals, running stop lights, driving in designated bike lanes, and failing to check blind spots before turning, can all contribute to pedestrian accidents that involve serious physical injuries.

Recognizing Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

For the most part, pedestrians tend to sustain more serious and severe physical injuries than other motorists. Pedestrians lack any external protections or structures that can absorb some of the impact, which makes them especially vulnerable to painful (and even permanent) injuries. Generally speaking, accidents involving a car or truck traveling at higher speeds are more likely to inflict more serious or catastrophic injuries than collisions where a vehicle is moving more slowly at the time of impact. Below are just a few examples of common pedestrian accident injuries in Washington state.

Physical Injuries Resulting From Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians struck by a moving vehicle can suffer any number of physical injuries, including broken bones, ligament sprains, lacerations, fractures, and internal organ damage. In some pedestrian accidents, the force of the impact can result in spinal cord injuries and other neck or back injuries that may cause paraplegia, quadriplegia, or other permanent damage. Traumatic brain injuries can also occur, which may result in long-term brain damage or cognitive impairment. Most pedestrians who are struck by cars or trucks require immediate medical care, hospitalization, surgery, or other forms of medical intervention to treat the extensive injuries as quickly as possible.

The Psychological and Emotional Impact of Pedestrian Accidents

Injuries stemming from pedestrian accidents are not always physical. In fact, many people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the incident. Recurring nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of emotional distress can arise after surviving such a harrowing and frightening event. If you experience some of these symptoms, consider working with a mental health professional who can support your emotional and psychological recovery. Everyone’s path to recovery looks different, so it’s important to seek the assistance and services you need as you sort through the aftermath of this traumatic event.

Filing a Pedestrian Injury Claim in King County

In Washington state, injured parties have the right to pursue a pedestrian injury compensation claim to recover the financial support they need to account for the economic impact of the incident. Pedestrian accident insurance claims do not require legal representation, but working with a knowledgeable and experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer can give you the much-needed support you need to move through this process with greater clarity and confidence. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to recover the compensation you need to start getting your life back on track after sustaining a pedestrian accident injury in the Seattle area.

Get in Touch With a Skilled and Caring Personal Injury Attorney

Coping with the physical and emotional aspects of a pedestrian accident can be stressful enough. The last thing you want to think about is sorting through paperwork and negotiating with an insurance company that will do everything it can to pay you as little as possible. Working with a highly qualified and empathetic Seattle pedestrian accident attorney is a great way to ensure your best interests remain protected at every opportunity. Your vocal legal advocate can step in to handle these difficult negotiations with insurance carriers and push back against the various tactics these companies use to minimize payouts. Once you can trust that there is a dedicated legal professional who is handling the settlement negotiations on your behalf, you can focus on what matters most—your physical and emotional recovery.

Compile a Successful Personal Injury Claim

Your pedestrian accident lawyer understands how to compile a strong and successful claim to win you the compensation you need to support the costs of your recovery. To that end, it’s essential to locate, identify, and present various pieces of evidence that support your claim. For example, you can request a copy of the police report that the responding officer compiled at the scene of the incident. This document often serves as an objective account of the events leading up to and following the collision, and it may contain information about the driver’s negligent behavior (i.e., they ran a red light or their blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit at the time of the accident). You can also include witness statements that support your claim for compensation, as these accounts may identify the driver as engaging in distracted driving habits behind the wheel that took their focus away from the road. Your personal injury attorney will work with you to gather and present evidence in support of your pedestrian injury compensation claim.

Negotiate a Fair and Favorable Settlement

As someone who suffered injuries as a pedestrian, it’s natural to want to move through the claims process as quickly as possible in order to obtain the compensation you need to start paying down the medical costs and other expenses stemming from the incident. However, it’s important to recognize that insurance companies want to protect their bottom lines as much as they can, and they often make a lowball settlement offer with the hope that you will accept it right away out of your eagerness to move forward. If you can wait a bit longer, you can maximize your settlement offer by negotiating with the insurance company. Most insurers want to avoid the costs of litigation whenever possible, which means that they will likely cooperate with you to arrive at a fair and favorable settlement. With a dedicated and trusted Seattle personal injury attorney by your side, you can make informed decisions with confidence as you work to keep your future as bright and secure as possible.

The days, weeks, and months following a pedestrian or auto accident can be disorienting and challenging. However, you do not have to navigate the complexities of the insurance claims process on your own. The dedicated team at Menzer Law can help you take that first step. Please contact our Seattle office today at (206) 903-1818 for a complimentary review of your claim by our skilled and dedicated team.