Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Assisting Clients in Denver and Surrounding Areas
According to a study published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in 2018, pedestrian accidents made up 17% of all traffic fatalities nationwide, and while car accident deaths increased by 2% between 2009 and 2018, pedestrian fatalities increased by 53% over the same time period in the U.S. These increasing numbers show that more and more Americans are the victims of pedestrian accidents. While there are more fatalities, as shown by the statistics in the GHSA report, there are also more non-fatal pedestrian accidents resulting in injuries. This increase in pedestrian accidents means that each of us is at risk every time we walk down a sidewalk or jog along a country road, for example.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident and someone else is at fault, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and the suffering they have caused. Don’t suffer in silence while the party who is at fault goes on with their life as if nothing happened. Call Greer Law Group at our Denver office today at 303-331-6460 to speak to a pedestrian accident attorney and explore your options.
What Are Some Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
The Arizona State University Center for Problem-Oriented Policing published a study that listed some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. Researchers broke the causes down into three main categories, listed here:
- Pedestrian Behavior: Types of pedestrian behavior that led to accidents in the ASU study included jaywalking, crossing against the light, jogging or walking in the wrong direction, standing between parked cars, or standing in a road.
- Vehicle and Driver Factors: In the study, pedestrian accidents were often caused by distracted or impaired driving, excessive speed, high volume of both pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and vehicle types, with light trucks and SUVs likely to cause more serious pedestrian injuries due to their increased bumper height.
- Physical Environment: The ASU study found that physical factors such as lack of crosswalks or crossing devices, wide roads, lack of sidewalks, and crossing signals that changed too fast were factors that increased pedestrian accidents.
What Are Some Common Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents?
Arizona State University researchers have found that when a pedestrian is hit by a regular passenger car, the bumper typically hits them in the lower legs, often throwing them into the windshield. This may cause injuries to the lower extremities, as well as head injuries and possible lacerations if the windshield breaks. When a pedestrian is hit by a light truck or SUV, however, the higher bumper is more likely to hit them above their center of gravity, possibly throwing them forward where they have a higher likelihood of being run over by the same vehicle. It is believed that this, combined with the increased size and weight of light trucks and SUVs, contributes to the fact that these accidents are 3.4 times more likely to be fatal to the pedestrian.
The most common injuries to pedestrians in accidents include soft-tissue damage, broken bones and fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Any of these injuries can be life-changing. If someone else is at fault for your accident, you are entitled to compensation to help get you back on track.
What is “Comparative Negligence” and How Does it Apply to My Colorado Pedestrian Accident Case?
In some states, a method of determining fault in an accident is used that is called contributory negligence. In contributory negligence, if the plaintiff is found to be at fault in any part for their accident, they are barred from receiving compensatory damages. Other states use a comparative negligence model. In its pure form, a comparative negligence process allows the plaintiff to receive damages, but those damages are reduced by the percentage of the liability that they carry for their accident. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 10% negligent in their accident, they are only eligible to receive 90% of the full damage award. Even if the plaintiff is 99% liable, they are still able to recover 1% of the damages awarded in this “pure” model.
Colorado uses a modified comparative negligence model. What this means is that if you are found to be partially at fault for your accident, you may receive damages, but they will be reduced by the amount of your liability, just as in the pure model of comparative negligence. What is “modified” about Colorado’s comparative negligence model is that if you are found to be 50% or more liable, you cannot receive any damages at all. In this way, Colorado’s negligence model is a kind of hybrid of the two models.
What Kinds of Compensation Can I Seek for my Pedestrian Accident in Colorado?
There are two main types of compensation that the victim of a pedestrian accident can seek: economic (or pecuniary) damages and non-economic (non-pecuniary) damages.
Economic damages encompass all of the direct costs that you have incurred as a result of your pedestrian accident injuries. These can be things like medical bills, lost wages, costs of over-the-counter medications and medical devices like wheelchairs or crutches, and non-medical costs like the cost of travel and lodging when going to out-of-town doctor’s appointments.
Non-economic damages are paid in compensation for intangible losses, like the loss of an activity or hobby, physical pain that you have suffered, or mental and emotional trauma that has resulted from your accident, for example. Some consequences of an accident that would be considered non-economic might be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, panic attacks, a divorce caused by the trauma of the injuries, scarring or disfigurement, or the loss of a limb.
In rare cases of gross negligence, a court will award punitive damages on top of the economic and non-economic damages, but this is not something that can be requested in the original claim.
Are There Limits on Damage Awards in Colorado?
Colorado does not have limits on the amount of economic damage compensation you can be awarded. These costs are straightforward and easily documented. Non-economic damages do carry limits, however. While the amount of the limit changes approximately every two years to account for inflation, the current limit on non-economic damages in personal injury cases in Colorado is $613,760 for incidents that occur on or after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2022. For accidents that happen on and after January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2024, the cap is $642,180. The Colorado Secretary of State publishes a Certificate with all of the current damage caps. Check there to find out what the caps are at the time of your pedestrian accident claim.
Should punitive damages be awarded, they are generally limited to an amount equal to the total economic and non-economic damages awarded. For example, if you were awarded $20,000 in economic and non-economic damages combined, then any punitive damages awarded would be limited to $20,000 in additional compensation. The limit on punitive damages can be raised in certain circumstances, however, at the discretion of the court.
It can be difficult to decide on the right amount to seek as compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages. It is important to fight for damages that are no so low that you will be left without fair compensation for your injuries, but not so high that it looks like you are being unreasonable in your request. A skilled personal injury lawyer will have a lot of knowledge and experience to help you determine the right number.
How Can a Lawyer Help in My Pedestrian Accident Case?
When you are recovering from serious injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, the last thing you need is the stress of trying to fight for compensation on your own. To receive compensation, there are many steps that need to be taken. The accident needs to be thoroughly investigated, witnesses need to be interviewed, legal paperwork needs to be filed, and either a settlement needs to be negotiated, or a trial needs to happen.
You need to rest and recover, not deal with all of those headaches. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney from Greer Law Group can take all of that work off of your plate so that you can heal. You will rest easy knowing that everything is being handled and that your best interests are being professionally represented. Our attorneys stand ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. We have the legal knowledge and experience to take on big insurance companies and their legal teams, and we will fight to win. You are not alone. We can help you get the compensation you need to get your life back on track and keep your family afloat in this difficult time.
The pedestrian accident attorneys at Greer Law Group have the right combination of compassion and toughness to stand with you and fight for what’s right. You need us on your side, and we will be there every step of the way. Our attorneys are here to help. 303-331-6460