Damages in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are often catastrophic and can sometimes even be fatal. Pedestrians who do survive these collisions typically face a long and costly recovery that the reckless driver should finance.
If you were following the traffic rules while walking, and a motorist hit and injured you, a seasoned pedestrian attorney can help you fight for recovery. Damages in pedestrian accidents can be substantial, but it is imperative that they be calculated correctly to ensure you get the recovery you deserve while you go through the healing process.
The Four Elements of Negligence
To collect damages in a pedestrian collision claim, the injured party must prove the motorist involved was acting negligently. Negligence has four elements: duty, breach, causation, and injury. Motorists are expected to drive in a manner a reasonable person would drive, meaning everyone should follow the traffic laws and be attentive to pedestrians and the other drivers on the road. By neglecting to drive reasonably, the driver breaches the duty. If that breach of duty causes an accident, and the acts are the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, the driver might be held liable for the plaintiff’s damages.
For example, if the pedestrian was hit and injured by a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the four elements of negligence will likely be met, which would allow the pedestrian to sue for damages with the help of a skilled attorney.
Damages Available to an Injured Pedestrian
Damages in injury cases are divided into two categories: compensatory and punitive. One is meant to compensate victims for any losses, while the other is intended to punish perpetrators.
Compensatory damages can be awarded under economic or non-economic categories. Economic damages can be monetarily measured. For instance, medical bills, lost wages, damaged property, any medical devices needed, and more would be awarded under economic damages.
Non-economic damages are more elusive and must be estimated. These include the degree of pain a plaintiff suffers, the loss of time spent with loved ones, the psychological effects of disfigurement, and future lost wages. It is crucial to consult a local lawyer with experience calculating damage amounts before settling, as once a lawsuit is settled, the plaintiff cannot go back and ask for more money if the damage amount was underestimated or insufficient.
State courts do not routinely award punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, in personal injury cases. However, if the courts determine the defendant acted with extreme malice or with nefarious and egregious intent, punitive damages may be available to the plaintiff as well. Importantly, punitive damages are calculated and based on the amount of compensatory damages awarded.
Ohio Revised Code Sections 2315.21(D)(2)(a) and (b) indicate that punitive damages cannot exceed two times the plaintiff’s compensatory damages award. Additionally, an individual defendant or small employer’s punitive damages cannot exceed the lesser of twice the compensatory damages or ten percent of the individual’s net worth up to $350,000.
Let an Attorney Fight for Damages in Your Pedestrian Accident
Motor vehicles can cause irreparable damage to the human body in a pedestrian accident. If the motorist’s reckless actions caused your accident, you may be entitled to money damages.
Call Tittle & Perlmuter to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who understands how to calculate and fight for the damages you are owed from your pedestrian accident today. Dedicated representation is standing by.