First, let’s be clear what a settlement is. A settlement in an agreement between parties involved in a legal case. Settlements compensate for the financial losses (also called damages) after an accident or crash that wasn’t their fault, such as medical bills. A settlement specifies how much money the at-fault party should pay the injured person, which is typically paid out through an insurance policy.
What Can Pedestrian Accident Settlements Pay For?
Your attorney will examine your costs and any losses you may have in the future and use them to calculate how much money you can request from the at-fault party’s insurance company based on the costs you need to cover.
Those costs usually fall into two categories:
- Economic damages are measurable, financial costs related to the accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and medications.
- Non-economic damages are more subjective but cost you in quality of life, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of opportunity.
Occasionally, settlements also include a third category called punitive damages. Punitive damages are rare, generally reserved for cases of serious recklessness, such as drunk driving. The purpose is to punish the at-fault party and discourage the behavior in the future.
What if the Injured Person Was Party to Blame for the Accident?
Texas uses the rule of comparative negligence (also called proportionate responsibility). This means that if an injured person bears any responsibility for the accident and their resulting injuries (according to the police report and investigation), they can still recover a settlement. However, the settlement amount may be reduced by the percentage of their fault.
If the insurance representative suggests that, for instance, because you were still in the intersection when “do not cross” light appeared, or you were “jaywalking” in a residential neighborhood where you live when you were hit, that you aren’t eligible to collect any compensation, this simply isn’t true. These factors might make your case more complicated, but they don’t erase your options.
In these difficult situations, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as you can. They can help you logically assess the situation, understand your legal options, and make a plan that protects your future. In particular, they can help you navigate your claim if you’re being blamed for the crash that hurt you.