Personal Injury Attorney
I’m going to explain whether a pedestrian has a case if he or she is hit by a car. I’m also gonna tell you how I value pedestrian accident cases. We’re gonna look at some of my past settlements and lots more. after a car accident? Well, in a state like Florida where I practice, the pedestrian’s own auto insurance company typically pays up to $10,000 of medical bills and/or lost wages. They typically pay 80% of the total medical bills and 60% of the total loss wages, again, up to $10,000. That is if a pedestrian owns a car or lives with a relative who owns a car and has car insurance. If neither of those two scenarios apply then the vehicle who hit the pedestrian in Florida, their auto insurance will pay the first $10,000 of the pedestrians medical bills, regardless of fault. Now that was no-fault insurance that I’m talking about.
The pedestrian may still have a case against the at-fault driver assuming that the pedestrian can prove fault, which we’ll get into in a little bit. And that case would be for pain and suffering, out-of-pocket medical bills and any lost wages not covered by PIP. PIP is personal injury protection. In addition to personal injury protection paying the pedestrian’s medical bills, the pedestrian can use their health insurance or Medicaid or Medicare, and those should all pay after PIP pays. And oftentimes what happens is the pedestrian’s personal injury protection will get billed. And then the hospital or doctor will try to bill the health insurance, but health insurance and Medicare and Medicaid typically paid a much lower rate than personal injury protection. So the hospital or doctor often writes off the balance.
In other words, the patient doesn’t owe the provider anything. A pedestrian can sue If they’re hit by a car, only if the pedestrian can show that the driver was at fault. For example, if the pedestrian is in a crosswalk, that’s typically clear liability on the driver, meaning the driver’s often 100% responsible for the pedestrian’s pain and suffering, out of pocket medical bills and lost wages. Now, if the driver didn’t do anything wrong, if it was dark outside and the pedestrian darted out into the middle of the road and the driver had no time to stop and the driver was going the speed limit and really did nothing wrong, the pedestrian may not have a case at all. But this doesn’t mean that the pedestrian has to be in a crosswalk in order to have a case. In fact, I settled a case for $70,000 where my client got out of a car in the middle of the street to retrieve a hose in the middle of broad daylight and a car hit my client and we settled for $70,000. She had a broken leg.
She also had a sacrum fracture and she had a herniated disc. If we take that same case that my client was in the crosswalk we would’ve got in the $100,000 limits of the at fault driver probably very quickly because in that case, my client wouldn’t have been at fault. But USAA the insurance company who paid the $70,000 settlement argued that my client should not be walking in the middle of the street, not in a crosswalk, but in the middle of the street in broad daylight. One of the good things for a personal injury case, if you’re a pedestrian who’s hit by a car in Florida, is you can still recover money for pain and suffering and your other damage and medical bills and lost wages, even if you’re more than 50% at fault. Some other states have very harsh laws that say if the pedestrian is 1% at fault, they get no recovery. Or if the pedestrian is 50% at fault, they get no recovery.
Or if the pedestrian is 51% at fault, they get no recovery. But in Florida, a pedestrian can be 80% at fault, 90% at fault, and still get a recovery. That said, the value of the pedestrian’s case is reduced by their percentage of fault. Meaning if a pedestrian is 90% at fault they’re only going to get 10% of the full value of their case. In other words, if the driver was 10% at fault for hitting the pedestrian, the driver only has to pay 10% of the full value of the pedestrians claim. Now in a state like Florida, even if the pedestrian is in a crosswalk or did very little wrong to cause them to get hit by a car, the pedestrian can only sue for pain and suffering in most cases, if the pedestrian has a permanent injury. Meaning a doctor, a medical professional has to say that pedestrian’s injury’s permanent. On the other hand, if the pedestrian has permanent scars or disfiguring, they do not need a doctor to say that the injury is permanent.
But because of that permanency requirement which is also known as the tort threshold, that results in auto insurance companies offering less money or no money sometimes for pain and suffering if the injuries were not permanent. Now as the pedestrian’s injury is larger, this permanent threshold requirement is not such a big deal. For example, if the pedestrian has a broken arm with a rod in it, the insurance company for the driver’s going to have a much harder time outside the state of Florida and they are on vacation or they’re a tourist or they’re on a work assignment. And they’re hit by a car as a pedestrian while in Florida. And sometimes the out of state, no-fault insurance may pay. I’ve had this happen where a client of mine from California was walking and got hit by a car in Florida and his own medical payments coverage on his California auto insurance policy paid for, I think it was $5,000 of his medical bills.
That was the limits, even though he was hit by car and he wasn’t in his own car. The pedestrian’s medical payments coverage or personal injury protection coverage pays regardless of fault. So even if the pedestrian was 100% at fault, their personal injury protection insurance or med pay coverage should pay for their medical bill. Now, typically the driver can not go to jail for hitting the pedestrian. The exceptions to this are if the driver was drunk or on drugs or reckless driving, meaning drag racing or weaving in and out of lanes at a high rate of speed. Those things can cause a driver to get arrested and go to jail for the incident. All things equal, the pedestrian has a better case if the driver that hit the pedestrian was drunk or recklessly driving or under the influence of a drug.
This is because the pedestrian can threaten and sue for punitive damages. Those are the in addition to pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. The punitive damages are tied into the driver’s net worth. So if a very wealthy person hits you, your punitive damage claim is likely going to be a lot larger than if someone hits you who has no assets or money to their name. Now in Florida, the insurance company for the driver who hit the pedestrian, they do not have to pay for punitive damages. However, they have a duty to promptly and fairly settle the pedestrian’s case. So if the pedestrian’s making a reasonable claim to settle the case, and they’re also claiming punitive damages, the insurance company should do the right thing and factor in those punitive damages.
In other words, the pain and suffering is likely going to be valued higher if the driver was drunk or intoxicated and the insurance company should offer more money, even though they don’t have to pay for the punitive damages part of the claim. If a driver gets a ticket for hitting the pedestrian in Florida personal injury cases, that is not admissible in court, meaning in a jury trial, the jury will never get to hear that the driver received a ticket. Now for practical purposes, insurance companies from my experience put a lot of weight on who got the ticket. Although if a lawsuit is filed and a defense attorney looks at the case and puts less weight on who got the ticket.
I did a Article about four years ago on pedestrians who were hit by cars and their settlements and whether they have a case and how to value those cases. I’m going to link to that Article in the description below. A lot of those past large settlements I’m not going to talk about here so I don’t talk about the same stuff again. I’m going to talk about newer cases that I’ve had. Let’s look at a case where Alice received a $90,000 settlement paid by the driver’s insurance, Progressive, who hit her while she was a pedestrian. Alice’s accident happened in the parking lot of a supermarket in Miami, Florida. And I initially got the call from one of Alice’s relatives who wanted me to represent Alice. She had some bruising to her face.
She fractured her ankle. She had complaints of head pain. She went to the hospital, they did not find an ankle fracture there. They also did not find anything wrong with her brain. She then went to an other emergency room who found that she had a fractured ankle. Now in any pedestrian case it’s important to request the 911 audio call. Now the 911 audio call in certain counties is only available for 30 or 60 or 90 days or a few months or a year or so after the crash, so request it soon so it doesn’t disappear. In some cases, you may hear the driver admit fault. They may say I hit the pedestrian. They may say I made a mistake. They would say, I wasn’t paying attention. Perhaps they say I’m on a cell phone. All those things can add value to the pedestrian’s case. So in Alice’s case, she took an ambulance to the hospital.
Taking an ambulance to the hospital increases the full value of a pedestrian’s personal injury case. This is because they’re entitled to a higher full value for pain and suffering. The insurance company likely believes that the pedestrian was in more pain if they needed to take an ambulance to the hospital. They also are less likely to question whether the injuries were caused by the accident. Taking an ambulance to the hospital also results in higher medical bills. Now, shortly after Alice hired me as her pedestrian accident lawyer, I wrote a letter and requested that the supermarket preserve all Article footage of the incident. Unfortunately, the supermarket would not turn that footage over to me.
Now, I likely could have gotten that Article if I would have filed what’s called a pure bill of discovery. In other words a lawsuit asking the judge to give me the surveillance. Although Alice was a pedestrian in this case, she owned a car that was insured with United Automobile Insurance Company, and they paid out $10,000 to her medical providers for medical bills that she incurred as a result of the incident. Progressive, the driver’s insurance company, offered $50,000 as their initial offer to settle this case. Eventually we settled for $90,000. Again, Alice did not need surgery fortunately to her ankle and she made a pretty good recovery. If Alice would have had surgery, Progressive would have likely quickly paid us $100,000.
I’m referring to the fact that if Alice would have had surgery to her ankle fracture, Progressive would have likely paid $100,000 very quickly. $100,000 was the limit of the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability insurance. And again, that’s what pays the pedestrian for pain and suffering, out of pocket medical bills and lost wages if the pedestrian can show that the driver was at fault. In this case, I argued to Progressive’s insurance adjuster that the driver had a clear line of sight. There was nothing blocking their view and there was no excuse for the driver hitting my client. You can see this comparison between the $50,000 first offer and the $90,000 final settlement paid by Progressive. Now like most cases where you have a serious broken bone or surgery, most of the settlement is likely going to be for pain and suffering.
In Alice’s case, you can see by looking at this graph that 94% of the total settlement was for pain and suffering. That’s about $84,792 for pain and suffering. You can see about $6,000 was what we had to pay back to her health insurance lien and her medical providers. So we paid about $5,208 back to her medical providers and health insurance liens. And if you hire an attorney, the way it works is the attorney’s fee is from the total settlement. We charge 33-1/3% of the total settlement here. Then we had to pay back medical providers, in this case, $5,208. And Alice received the remaining amount. So this means that I wrote Alice, a check for $54,779. In other words, Alice got 60-2/3% of the entire settlement.
If you’re thinking about hiring a personal injury attorney and you’re a pedestrian who was hit by a car, personal injury attorneys do not charge for the initial consultation when you speak with them. So there’s really no harm in calling an attorney, getting your thoughts on the claim. When people call me, I tell them the main purpose of the call is to see if I can represent them. It’s not to tell them how much their case is worth. It’s too difficult to give a quick opinion on the value of a case without knowing all the facts and looking at all the medical records and seeing the liability situation as well as the crash report and witness statements, et cetera. In Alice’s case, the total $90,000 settlement was about 17.5 times her out of pocket medical bills and health insurance liens. Progressive ended up switching adjusters to a large loss adjuster who tried to convince me that Alice’s case was only worth $75,000.
Progressive is one of the major three auto insurers in Florida. The other two are Geico and State Farm. Progressive is typically known for being pretty cheap when valuing your pain and suffering as a result, if you’re a pedestrian hit by a car. Let’s look at mid-block pedestrian cases. Those are cases that occur in the street but they do not occur in the crosswalk. In this case, the typical best case for the pedestrian is it’s broad daylight. Now the insurance company in these cases will likely decrease the full value of the claim. However, the pedestrian has the argument, especially if the accident does not occur in the first lane that’s closest to a sidewalk, that the driver should have been paying more attention. In other words, in broad daylight a drivers should not hit a pedestrian.
In a mid-block pedestrian crash, the pedestrian’s case is much tougher if the accident occurs at night and the driver should not have seen or was not able to see the pedestrian. This is because what did the driver do wrong if they argued the lighting was poor and they were looking straight ahead and they could not have seen the driver. The pedestrian’s case may get much better if it’s shown that the driver was on a cell phone. Sometimes this can happen in the crash report. Very infrequently the driver will admit that he was on a cell phone or perhaps the pedestrian heard that the driver was on the cell phone if the driver admits it after the accident, or sometimes this will only be learned when the pedestrian files a lawsuit which you typically need an attorney, because lawsuits are very complex and complicated.
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And when the driver answers the what’s called interrogatories under oath, questions under oath, they sometimes will admit to being on a cell phone. And that’s generally best if the driver admits that they were holding the phone to their face because then the pedestrian can argue the driver only had one hand on the wheel and they weren’t paying attention. And as you can see, all these cases really boil down to the specific facts of the case. If you’re getting value out of this Article smash that like button. Now, one of the main battles in many pedestrian accident cases is whether the accident caused the pedestrian’s injuries. These battles typically occur when the pedestrian’s injury is either a tear or a herniated disc, or just general pain.
If the pedestrian has a fracture or a surgery, it’s very unlikely that the insurance company is going to say that the accident did not cause the fracture or the surgery. But when we start getting to herniated discs, especially with people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, even late 20s or people older than 60 years old, the insurance company for the driver that hit the pedestrian is likely going to argue that the herniated disc was either pre-existing, meaning it existed before the crash or it is not serious. It’s not impinging on the spinal cord or something else. And thus, it’s not a serious injury. The same is true if the pedestrian is claiming that a tear was caused by the injury, such as a meniscus tear, a tear in your knee, a shoulder tear, a rotator cuff tear, a tear in your ankle, something like that.
Now, if the pedestrian is really young like in their teens or in their late teens, the insurance is a lot less likely to say that the accident did not cause the herniated disc or tear because herniated discs and tears typically don’t exist in people who are young. But as we get older, it’s not uncommon for someone to have a herniated disc. In fact, one Dr. Scott Boden did a study years ago with many people who had no lower back pain. And the study showed that even with people that did not complain of lower back pain but had an MRI, a lot of them had herniations. So what ultimately matters is what your doctor says. Does your doctor say that your injuries were caused by the accident?
The insurance company for the driver who hit the pedestrian is going to have the right if a lawsuit’s filed, to hire their own doctor. If your injury is a tear or herniated disc, most likely the defense doctor is going to say that the accident did not cause the tear or herniated disc, or the defense doctor is going to say that even if they did cause the herniated disc or tear, that the injury is not permanent. And again, in Florida in most pedestrian accident cases, the pedestrian is not entitled to pain and suffering if a doctor does not say that the injury is permanent. The seriousness of the pedestrian’s injury is a major major factor in every pedestrian accident case. Even if the driver’s 100% at fault and the pedestrian is seriously injured. One of the most important parts of any pedestrian accident case is insurance coverage.
in a state like Florida, unfortunately, most drivers do not have to have any bodily injury liability coverage. If the driver and owner who hit the pedestrian have no insurance coverage and they weren’t working at the time of the crash and there’s no other insurance coverage to discover. And the pedestrian has no uninsured motorist insurance coverage on their own car or a relative who they live with’s car, the pedestrian may get $0 for their case. This is why pedestrian with a broken wrist, who’s hit by a car that has $100,000 of liability insurance coverage may get more than someone who has a serious brain injury or 10 surgeries to their body who’s a pedestrian if the car that hit him had no insurance.
Now value wise, one of the best cases for a pedestrian is if an Uber or Lyft driver hits the pedestrian and the Uber or Lyft had already accepted a ride request and were on their way to get the ride or were already on their way to drop off the passenger. In those cases, Uber and Lyft in Florida carry $1 million of liability coverage that pays out for both property damage and personal injury. I settled a case for $325,000 for a European gentleman who was hit by a car when he was a pedestrian. Since I’ve already done a separate Article on that settlement, I’m going to put a link in the description below. In that case, the value of his pain and suffering was about 78% of the entire settlement, so $251,650. He had hardware put in his lower leg and then he later had it removed.
He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and his travel insurance and European health insurer claimed the right to get paid back from the settlements. So I got them to significantly reduce that as I talk about in that separate Article, but the breakdown of his pain and suffering was about 78% of the total settlement and his out of pocket medical bills and health insurance lien were about 22% of the settlement. After my attorney’s fees and costs and paying back his health insurance company for what they paid and paying back any other out-of-pocket medical bills he received 47% of the entire settlement. And he got a check for $151,522. And as you’ve already seen, the cases that result in the largest settlements are typically those where people have surgery.
Obviously, if someone dies, those are very valuable cases. They’re very sad cases but they happen to be very valuable cases in terms of just monetary compensation. If you have a brain bleed or shearing of the brain or diffuse axonal injury those cases are worth a lot of money as well. I settled another case for pedestrian hit by a car for $110,000. I’ve done a separate Article on that. I will link to that in the description below. Now earlier on I mentioned a $65,000 settlement that I had for a California gentlemen who was hit by a car in Miami beach, Florida. His name was Doug. You can see the diagram of the accident. Typically if you’re a pedestrian hit by a car, the police officer is going to draw a diagram of the crash.
Now, when the crash happens they’re likely going to give you just the driver exchange of information. That is not the full-blown crash report. That is just the preliminary information so each driver or pedestrian knows who the other person’s insurance is. Typically, if the car is listed as vehicle one in the driver exchange information that means the officer believes that car was at fault. Now, an ambulance took Doug to the hospital. Again, that increased the value of his case. There he was diagnosed with a lower leg fracture. Specifically he had a fibula fracture. That is the thinner of the two lower leg bones. Now Doug did not have surgery. If he would have had surgery to his fibula his lower leg bone, that would have significantly increased the value of the case.
It’s not uncommon for surgery to increase the case value by two to three times. Now because Doug was from out of state, California, and he was injured in Florida, and he did not have the equivalent of $10,000 of PIP, he did not need a permanent injury in order to get money for pain and suffering. And I argued this to the at-fault car’s insurance company, who was Geico. Doug had medical payments coverage on his own car and they paid his medical bills. But one of the very nice things about having an attorney in the state of Florida where I practice is, if you have an attorney they have to reduce their claim to get paid back by your attorney’s fees and costs and any other equitable factors. Other equitable factors, that just is a fancy word for saying fair factors.
Now equitable factors are if the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance coverage or if you are partially at fault. Now Geico currently is an average insurance company. They’ve gotten slightly better. However, they typically, from my 17 years of practicing, I’ve seen them go from being pretty good or pretty bad to average. Now Geico may get very bad again. We’ll see what happens through time. And to show you that Geico is just an average insurance company, even though they had records that my client had a broken lower leg and he had back pain as well. Their opening offer was only $14,700. Geico loves to low-ball and give a very low opening offer.
Now, I ultimately settled this case with Geico for $65,000, but to show you how Geico’s just an average insurance company in pedestrian accident cases, if we would have had the exact same accident and the driver of the car would have been insured with Nationwide, Hartford, even Travelers or USAA, their opening offer would have likely been a lot more than $14,700. They probably would have opened up with an offer of $30,000 or $40,000 or 50,000 as their first offer, or maybe even higher. I’m going to give you another example of a terrible-paying insurance company which is United Automobile Insurance Company in Florida. I represented actually two pedestrians in an accident.
They were in a crosswalk crossing the street and a car hit them. Unfortunately for them, the at-fault driver only had $10,000 per person of bodily injury liability coverage. That meant that each of my clients who were both pedestrians could only get $10,000 for their pain and suffering, out-of-pocket medical bills and lost wages. You can see a diagram of this crash here. And one of the nice things about their case was that they were in the crosswalk. So the at-fault driver’s insurance company could not argue that my clients were partially at fault. Now my female client took an ambulance to the hospital. She was diagnosed with a broken thumb and a broken shoulder.
She began her search for Miami pedestrian accident lawyers. And ultimately we spoke, her and her husband only spoke Spanish. Her son spoke English. My paralegal is fluent in Spanish and I can speak a little bit of Spanish myself, but they hired me. Now here’s a photo of her with a sling around her shoulder that I took when she was in my office. I personally met with her in my office. Now, one of the things that separates me from many other law firms is each client is welcome to speak with me. We often get calls from other people who want to fire their attorney and hire us. And one of the most common complaints that I get is that their attorney will not speak with them. All right, I’m not going to give myself another plug.
Her injury was comminuted. That means the bone broken into many pieces. Fracture of the humeral neck. Humerus is the shoulder bone. And it was the proximal humerus, which just means it’s the part of your upper arm bone closer to the shoulder. In addition, paying for the $10,000 for pain and suffering and out of pocket medical bills and lost wages under the bodily injury liability coverage, under a separate coverage under their policy known as personal injury protection coverage, PIP they paid $10,000 to my client’s medical providers. In order for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay the $10,000 in PIP benefits, they’re going to want to likely take the pedestrian’s statement or have the pedestrian complete forms attesting to the fact that they do not own a car or live with anyone who owns a car.
This is a picture of me and my client when she came to my office to pick up her settlement check. Now, United Automobile Insurance Company insured the at-fault driver and they did not just roll over and quickly pay the $10,000 limits. Even Geico and Progressive as cheap as they are, both of them would have paid $10,000 to me very quickly. But United Auto Insurance Company is absolutely terrible. Now, if my client would have been hit by let’s say an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the settlement would have likely been much larger for two reasons. The primary reason is because because there would have been more insurance coverage. If the Uber or Lyft driver would have had the app on but not been engaged in a ride, each of my clients would have been able to get up to $50,000 in bodily injury payments.
Now, I still would have had to prove that their injuries were worth that amount in order to get that. Now, if the Uber or Lyft driver would have had the app on and been engaged in a ride, either with a passenger, on their way to get a passenger, there would have been up to $1 million in liability coverage. That means the most both of my clients combined could have gotten would have been $1 million. Now Uber or Lyft would likely only pay up the $1 million if there were multiple surgeries or a brain injury or a death. In another case, I represented a valet attendant. A car ran over his foot and he had soft tissue injuries. Since he was working when he got hit by the car, his Worker’s Compensation insurance paid most of his medical bills. The at-fault driver was insured with Allstate only with a $10,000 policy.
They take us the $10,000 policy. Here’s a picture of my client when he met with me personally in my office, and you can see the air cast on his foot. You can see a diagram from the actual Florida crash report showing that he got hit by the car. If a car hits you while you are a pedestrian, the time that it takes to settle is likely going to be determined by two or three major factors. They are the amount of the insurance coverage available, the extent of your injury, and fault. In cases where you’re very badly injured And the at fault driver is 100% at fault. And there’s a low limit of insurance coverage, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely quickly pay. They don’t want to expose their driver to a jury verdict and judgment above the insurance limits and they don’t want their driver to then sue them for failing to protect them. On the other hand, even if you’re very badly injured and the driver’s 100% at fault, if the insurance limits are very, very very high, the case may take longer to settle.
This is because the insurance company has less money to pay. If you have minor injuries the case is likely going to take a lot longer to settle because you’re still going to be treating even if the injuries are minor, and they will likely be worth less than the insurance limits. What happens if a pedestrian is handing out flyers in an intersection or in the roadway and gets hit by a car? Well, first off it may, depending on whether there was a sidewalk available, and I’m speaking from a past case. It wasn’t my case, but where a court ruled in the state of Florida. In that case, the court said that the pedestrian was illegally handing out flyers in the intersection. Now, even if a pedestrian is handing out flyers in the middle of the intersection and they should not be, the pedestrian may have a decent case if the driver was drunk or on drugs or speeding or not in the correct lane of travel or was running a red light. To learn how to maximize the value of personal injury cases,