Billings Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Offering Guidance for Montana and Wyoming Claims
If you were struck by a passing vehicle while crossing the street or walking or jogging along the side of the road, securing financial compensation could be an important step on your road to recovery. While auto insurance covers pedestrian accidents, obtaining a fair settlement is not easy and, if the driver’s insurance company refuses to settle, you may need to take your case to trial. In order to protect yourself, you should hire a Billings pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible, and you should choose one who has decades of experience recovering compensation for accident victims’ losses.
With offices in Billings and Worland, our personal injury firm handles pedestrian accident cases throughout Montana and Wyoming. If you need a lawyer, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our compassionate legal team will help you navigate the legal process every step of the way. Our lawyers have been practicing law in Montana and Wyoming for more than 40 years, and we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for clients injured in all types of accidents and collisions.
- “Ragain and Clark found insurance coverage that applied to my case that I did not even know existed.”
- “Thank you for all of the legal help you have given me over the years. You are so generous and kind.”
- “The brief you filed was readable and easily understood. Polite, yet demanding. I have a new appreciation for the great job you and your team did with our response. Nice work! Please share my appreciation with all who helped.”
Montana Laws That Protect Pedestrians
When a pedestrian is struck by a car the consequences can be deadly. While pedestrians should always be mindful of their own safety, the reality is that many drivers aren’t looking out of them at all. Factor in drivers who are distracted, reckless, or simply not paying attention, and you realize just how dangerous our roadways can be for someone on foot.
Although Montana may not be the most pedestrian-friendly state, the Montana Code does contain a number of laws intended to protect pedestrians. For example:
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way in both marked and unmarked crosswalks.
- Drivers must exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, even when the driver has the right-of-way.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way on sidewalks to vehicles that may be crossing the sidewalk.
If you were injured by a motorist, failing to abide by the law may be helpful in proving your claim. For example, proving the driver’s negligence may be relatively simple if you were struck by a car while in a crosswalk while the “walk” signal was illuminated. Understanding who had the right of way can be critical, and you should be aware that the police don’t always issue a traffic citation when they should. A Billings pedestrian accident lawyer can determine whether the driver was at fault in your accident and whether they can be held accountable for your injuries.
Parking Lot Accidents -- A Leading Cause of Pedestrian Injuries
One of the greatest dangers for pedestrians is being struck by vehicles in parking lots. Although vehicles are generally moving more slowly than on the open road, the resulting injuries can be extremely serious. Unfortunately, pedestrians often find it difficult to obtain adequate compensation for their injuries.
Some common hazards for pedestrians in parking lots include the following:
- Congested Parking Lots: The more congestion in a parking lot, the greater the chance of an auto-pedestrian collision.
- Poor Weather: While even rainy weather makes accidents more likely, ice and snow are especially hazardous. With the extreme winter conditions common in Montana and Wyoming, pedestrians in these states face even more risk.
- Vehicles Backing Up: It is all too common for drivers to back out of spaces without looking behind them or being sufficiently cautious.
- Poor Parking Lot Maintenance: Potholes and cracks in a parking lot can contribute to pedestrian collisions. Since most parking lots are private property, the fault may lie with the parking lot owner.
- Inadequate Lighting, Pavement Markings or Signage: As with poor parking lot maintenance, the parking lot owner may be the one at fault.
- Distracted Drivers: Drivers tend to be more distracted in parking lots. A driver may be speaking on their phone, checking texts or emails, operating their GPS, or reaching for something in the vehicle.
Challenges of Seeking Compensation for Pedestrian Parking Lot Injuries
Pedestrians injured in parking lots will often face unique legal challenges not usually present in open road accidents. A Billings pedestrian accident law firm can help Montana and Wyoming pedestrians overcome these challenges.
Assigning fault in auto-pedestrian parking collisions can be especially difficult. Often pedestrians do not pay complete attention to their surroundings, and insurance companies can use the pedestrian’s lack of caution as a defense.
If any of the parking lot conditions were a cause, the parking lot owner will likely attempt to shift blame to the driver, the pedestrian, or both. And if poor weather was a factor, any party sued will use this in an attempt to avoid liability.
Absence of Police Reports or Citations
Traffic laws are generally not enforceable in private parking lots. Accordingly, there is less likelihood of any police citations in a parking lot accident, as there would be in an open road accident.
In addition, there are often no police reports for parking lot accidents. The police often do not respond to accidents on private property unless there is a serious injury. The lack of an official report by a law enforcement agency is another challenge for pedestrians seeking legal damages.
Recovering Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident
If the driver who hit you stopped and gave you his or her insurance information, securing compensation for your injuries will be similar to securing compensation after a vehicle-on-vehicle collision. Your case will most likely involve a claim under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy (although you could potentially have other claims as well), and maximizing your financial recovery will be a matter of convincing the insurance company to offer a fair settlement or, if a fair settlement is not on the table, taking the insurance company to trial.
In order to know what constitutes a fair settlement, you need to have a clear picture of your current and future losses. With decades of experience representing individuals with severe traumatic injuries, our lawyers can help you calculate the full value of your claim. Your Billings pedestrian accident lawyer will also work with trusted medical professionals and other experts in Montana and Worland, WY who can help definitively establish the financial and non-financial costs of your injuries.
Securing Financial Compensation after a Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accident
If the driver who hit you did not stop, you still have options for recovering your losses. From tracking down the driver using forensic investigation techniques to filing a claim under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, your Billings pedestrian accident attorney will outline your options for securing compensation after a hit-and-run pedestrian accident. However, to maximize the chances of identifying the driver who hit you, it is important to conduct an investigation as soon as possible.
Damages Your Billings Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Will Pursue
Many pedestrians focus only on their medical expenses when they are injured in an accident. If they have health insurance, they therefore think they don’t need to pursue a claim, only to later discover that their losses extend far beyond their medical bills. If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to be made whole - or, in other words, to be compensated as if the accident never happened. As a result, you may be entitled to the following damages in addition to your covered medical expenses:
- Uncovered medical losses such as your copays and deductible
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
Of course, your medical expenses could be quite high if you don’t have health insurance. Regardless, an experienced Billings pedestrian accident lawyer can evaluate your claim and provide an estimate of how much your case may be worth.
Speak with a Billings Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
For more information about protecting your legal rights after a pedestrian accident in Montana or Wyoming, contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call 406-651-8888 to schedule an appointment with a Billings pedestrian accident lawyer, or tell us how to reach you online and a member of our firm will be in touch as soon as possible.