Do Pedestrians Have Rights After A Car Accident? (Part 1)

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As with automobile collision cases, a pedestrian, in order to succeed in receiving a settlement or receiving compensation, must be able to produce evidence establishing negligence on the part of the vehicle operator.   Was the driver of the car speeding, not keeping a proper lookout, failing to yield to a pedestrian at a cross walk, failing to stay within a marked lane, or some other form of negligence?   Often this evidence comes in the form of eye witness testimony, skid marks, or accident debris.   When there is a lack of evidence, sometimes it is the word of the pedestrian versus the word of the driver.   And, in some cases, the driver will admit fault from the get go.

Once fault (commonly referred to as liability) has been established, then there must be evidence to determine the extent of the damages, including medical expenses, property damage, (if any), wage loss, and pain and suffering.  Ideally, this evidence can be submitted to the car insurance company and a reasonable settlement can be negotiated.   However, if the settlement offer is not acceptable, then the pedestrian would have only one other option; to file a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle and go to court.   The evidence and testimony would be presented to the jury and the jury would make a determination regarding liability and damages. The car’s insurance company would then be responsible to pay the jury verdict amount up to a maximum of the amount of car insurance limits purchased.  This is all very similar to cases involving car accidents between vehicles.  There are, however, a few things that all victims of a pedestrian accident should know.

Who pays your medical expenses if you are a victim in a pedestrian versus automobile accident?  The answer to this question is often surprising to most Oregonians.  Oregon law dictates the following priority of potential payers of medical expenses for injured pedestrians:  The primary payer of medical expenses for the injured pedestrian is the pedestrian’s own automobile insurance company under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.   Although the pedestrian’s car is not in any way involved in the accident, Oregon law dictates that the pedestrian’s own automobile insurance company is supposed to be the primary payer of medical expenses.  Intrigued?  This discussion and further explanation of the PIP benefits available in pedestrian claims continues on our next blog…stay tuned!


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