Pedestrian road accidents usually end in emergency room visits. Meanwhile, the number of pedestrian fatalities in Nevada is growing every year.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you are likely to seek compensation. The time it takes to receive a payout depends on many factors. Some pedestrians can reach a settlement within months. Others have to wait several years.
One of the simplest ways to speed up the process is to speak to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. Legal assistance is crucial to avoiding common mistakes that delay damage recovery.
Conducting an Investigation
The key to getting a fair settlement is determining liability and proving negligence. To do this, you would need to collect as much evidence as possible, speak to witnesses, and determine all circumstances of the accident. The allegedly at-fault party’s insurance company will be doing the same.
Liable parties may be:
- The driver of the vehicle (car, bike) that hit the pedestrian.
- Employer of the driver, if the driver was working at the time of the accident.
- Government entities that were negligent with road, signs, or traffic signal maintenance.
- Vehicle’s manufacturer if the vehicle malfunctioned due to their negligence.
Depending on how complex the accident is, and how many parties are involved, the investigation could take anywhere from a few days to several months.
During the investigation process, the at-fault party’s insurance company may offer to settle. It’s not advisable to accept a settlement until you have all the facts.
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Filing a Claim
In Nevada, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. Usually, this means that you have two years from the day of the accident to file a claim. If you discover your injuries after a good deal of time has passed, the clock starts running from the moment of discovery.
When you file a claim with the insurance company, you need to be ready to make your case. The insurance company will fight hard to reduce the payout. That’s why you need to have all the weapons available to defend yourself, including:
- Evidence from the scene of the accident
- Police report
- Evidence of your injuries
- Evidence of damages you incurred due to the injuries
- Expert witness testimonies
- Eyewitness testimonies
Once you file the claim, the insurance company should accept or deny it within 30 days. The company can also request additional documents. These requests could make the process longer.
Negotiating Your Claim
Once it conducts its own investigation and processes your claim, the insurance company can make you a settlement offer. If you aren’t happy with the figure, you can negotiate a higher payout.
These negotiations are usually time-consuming and stressful for pedestrians. Many people give up and take a lower settlement offer simply to put an end to the process. A pedestrian accident attorney can handle negotiations, taking the pressure off their client.
During the negotiations, the insurance company may try to prove that the pedestrian was partially responsible for the accident. In this case, the settlement may end up being lower.
Modified Comparative Negligence
According to §41.141 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, the payout you receive is proportional to your fault in the accident. However, if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you can’t receive any compensation.
For example, a speeding driver hits a jaywalking pedestrian. Both are at fault. The pedestrian files a claim for $10,000.
If the insurance company or the judge determines that the driver is 80% responsible while the pedestrian is 20% responsible, the pedestrian can only get 80% of $10,000 – $80,000. However, if the pedestrian is 55% responsible for the accident, they can’t recover any damages.
Negotiations with the insurance company can take anywhere from a few days to several months. If you can’t agree on the amount, the case can proceed to court. Even if your claim ends up in court, it doesn’t mean that the case will go to trial. It’s still possible to settle at any time during the proceedings.
What If the At-Fault Party doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance, you can file a lawsuit. To do that, you need to file a formal complaint with the local court. The complaint will describe the nature of the accident, the grounds for recovery, and the details of allegedly at-fault parties.
After filing a complaint, you have to serve the defendant with a summons. Once you do that, they have 20 days to reply. When you receive a reply, you need to proceed with:
- Discovery – conducting an investigation, collecting evidence, speaking to witnesses, hiring expert witnesses, taking depositions, and anything else that has to do with determining liability and negligence. This phase can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.
- Negotiations – negotiating with the defendant to reach a settlement. This can take between a few days and a few months.
- Trial – if negotiations fail, the case will proceed to trial. The trial itself takes about three to five days. However, setting the trial date may require a few weeks.
If the defendant loses the case, they can file an appeal. This will add several more weeks to the lawsuit timeline.
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When Will I Get My Money?
Once you finish negotiations or win your case in court, you can usually receive compensation within 30 to 60 days.
While insurance companies don’t usually delay payments, defendants may do so. If the at-fault party doesn’t have enough money to make a lump sum payment, the judge could allow them to pay in monthly installments.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
If you are worried about delays in your pedestrian accident case, consider hiring an attorney. With an experienced legal representative in your corner, you can speed up the process and improve your chances of fair damage recovery.
If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, call our legal team for a free case review at any time.