Pedestrian deaths from car accidents have reached a 25-year high. As the rate of other traffic fatalities falls, the number of pedestrians struck and killed by motorists is higher than ever. When a pedestrian is hurt or killed, insurance may be available to help offset resulting financial losses.
The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the US in 2017. That represents a 27% increase since 2007, while other traffic deaths fell by 14%. Some deaths result from a pedestrian’s own inadvertence, but too often deaths are caused when motorists disregard pedestrians or fail to respect their right of way. In the devastating situation of families who lose loved ones because of a pedestrian accident, it’s important to understand available insurance and the option of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Coverage Available for Pedestrian Injuries
Car insurance often includes no-fault “medical payment” benefits, typically ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. “Med pay” benefits can be accessed for medical costs or funeral expenses. Depending on policy language, there may be coverage both under the insurance policy on the vehicle involved and under a policy on which the pedestrian was an insured.
If the motorist was at fault, there likely is additional insurance available. Bodily injury liability coverage on the policy insuring the car is the first insurance to consider. Beyond that, if the driver was covered by a different auto policy, that policy may provide additional coverage. If liability coverage is inadequate – or there is none – the uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on the pedestrian’s own policy may apply. In the case of death, insurance policies owned by the deceased’s closest survivors should also be read to see if they provide additional uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Next Steps to Take
Gather all relevant evidence and discuss it with a lawyer. Details like police reports, witness contact information, and photos of the accident scene can help your attorney evaluate your claim. Especially if you’re contacted by an insurance company, don’t sign or agree to anything until you’ve consulted an attorney experienced in handling insurance claims, personal injury, and wrongful death cases. The right attorney can help you find no-fault benefits and determine if you can make a fault-based claim.
Attorneys Working for You
At Turbak Law Office, PC, we can help you learn more about your legal rights. If you want information about personal injury or wrongful death settlements in South Dakota or how to recover from a pedestrian accident, contact us right away. We can give you the legal assistance you deserve. You can send us an email or call (866) 231-0914 to chat with an attorney right here in South Dakota.