Pedestrian Accidents Involving College Students – Frequently Asked Questions
College students spend a lot of time on foot, either walking across campus to catch a lecture or crossing a busy street to grab a cup of coffee. In college towns, it’s not unusual to read news stories about serous pedestrian accidents involving students. Such accidents remain a major cause of injuries and fatalities involving college students in Florida and elsewhere across the country.
Knowing what to do after a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming, especially for college students far from home and unfamiliar dealing with the police and insurance companies. That’s why we compiled this list of frequently asked questions college students have about pedestrian accidents. The more you know, the smarter the decisions you can make. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you should seek the advice of legal counsel. A West Palm Beach, FL pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to help.
- How common are pedestrian accidents?
- Where do pedestrian accidents tend to happen?
- What age groups are more prone to be involved in pedestrian accidents?
- Do I need an attorney after a pedestrian accident on campus?
- How much is my pedestrian accident claim worth?
- What if I’m partially at fault for my pedestrian accident?
- How much does a pedestrian accident lawyer cost?
A: In 2011, a total of 4,432 people were killed in pedestrian accidents nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That figure’s less than the total number of pedestrian fatalities in 2005, when a 10-year-high of 4,892 pedestrians was killed in accidents that year, according to the NHTSA. However, the total number of pedestrian fatalities in 2011 represents a higher percentage of all motor vehicle related fatalities:
- 14 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2011 involved pedestrians
- 11 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2005 involved pedestrians
A: Most pedestrian accidents happen in urban environments. The NHTSA reports that 73 percent of accidents involving fatalities occurred in urban areas, compared to 23 percent in rural areas.
A: Older pedestrians – those over 65 – accounted for 19 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and about 10 percent of all pedestrian injuries in accidents. Children 15 and younger accounted for 6 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in 2011. They represented 19 percent of all pedestrians injured in accidents. In 2011, more than 21 percent of all children between 10 and 15 who died in accidents were pedestrians.
While you don’t have to hire an attorney, you may get more compensation for your losses with an attorney than without one. People who work without an attorney on a pedestrian accident claim often end up with less money to pay for their losses than those who hire an experienced lawyer. Pedestrian accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Even if an accident is caused by another driver’s negligence – perhaps he or she was drunk, texting while driving or speeding – insurance companies might try to take advantage of accident victims.
A: It depends on many factors: the nature of your injuries, the amount of insurance the at-fault driver carries and specific circumstances about your life. You typically would pursue “damages,” which is a legal term that refers to the compensation recoverable in a personal injury case. While each case is unique and no two accidents are the same, pedestrian accident victims are often entitled to compensation for medical expenses and cost of future medical care, loss of future earning capacity and more. In other cases, an attorney might be able to obtain damages for pain, suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages designed to punish drivers who acted with gross negligence or malicious intent.
A: You may still be entitled to compensation if partially at fault in a pedestrian accident on campus. Determining fault in pedestrian accidents is oftentimes a complex, difficult process. Other drivers – and their insurance companies – may be eager to point the finger at you for causing the accident. They may say you were drunk or you were texting while walking. That’s why it’s wise to consult with an attorney who can protect your rights.
A: You pay nothing for your consultation, and you pay nothing until you win. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only receive a percentage of the final settlement or verdict. This arrangement allows people like college students, who typically don’t have a lot of money to spend on an attorney, to obtain competent representation without worry about how they can afford it. The arrangement also serves as an incentive for the attorney to work hard on the case. That’s because the attorney doesn’t get paid if he or she loses.