How Can an Attorney Help With a Pedestrian Accident in Burlington, Vermont?

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How Can an Attorney Help With a Pedestrian Accident in Burlington, Vermont - pedestrians walking across burlington street

Burlington, VT Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you or your loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Burlington, Vermont, you may be eligible for compensation. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can significantly increase your chance of obtaining a favorable settlement after such an accident. Here's how a pedestrian accident attorney in Burlington can help you or a loved one who has been injured in this kind of an accident. 

Case Evaluation 

A seasoned personal injury attorney can help evaluate your case. So what's the purpose of a case evaluation? Why shouldn't you go ahead and file a claim against the other party and collect your settlement? Well, the truth is, it is not always that easy. 

Here's why:

A case evaluation helps determine whether you have a valid case against the other party. What most people don't realize is that car accident laws are complex. In addition, most insurance companies do not accept liability, especially if the accident itself has various legal loopholes the insurer could take advantage of to evade liability.

When you contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer for a case evaluation, they will analyze the circumstances that led to the accident. For example, what were you doing before you got injured in the accident? Were you walking, standing, or seated? 

In a pedestrian accident case, every small detail counts. You don't expect the other party to tell you this because there is always a possibility that they will try to find ways to dispute or reduce your claim. 

Identifying the At-Fault Party

As mentioned before, every tiny detail counts when seeking compensation following a pedestrian accident in Burlington, Vermont, or anywhere else in the country. For example, although Vermont is an at-fault state, there are certain instances where comparative or contributory negligence comes into play. 

To begin with, in an at-fault state, the party responsible for the accident compensates the accident victim for the injuries caused. So, for example, if you get injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a drunk driver, the driver's insurance company will be responsible for compensating you. 

Remember when we mentioned that an attorney would also want to know what you were doing when you got injured in the accident? This is because Vermont is also one of the many states that practice comparative and contributory negligence law.  

Contributory negligence allows both parties to share a certain degree of responsibility following an accident. For instance, if you were jaywalking and you got hit by a drunk driver, the court could rule that you were not supposed to be jaywalking in the first place. However, the driver's failure to stop and also driving while drunk makes them even more responsible for the accident. 

For this reason, the court could decide that both parties share a certain degree of fault, something like 80% for the drunk driver and 20% for the pedestrian who was jaywalking. In this particular case, the court will limit the amount of compensation the plaintiff can recover from the defendant by 20%. 

However, if the court determines that the plaintiff was at least 51% responsible for the accident, they may not be able to recover anything from the defendant. Insurance companies are always aware of this rule, and that's why they'll contact you right after the accident to find out more details about the accident.

All along, they hope that you will say something that could reduce your claim or dismiss it altogether. But when you work with a seasoned attorney, they will help identify the party responsible for your injuries. Remember, there are times when it may be possible to file a claim against more than one party. This is part of what an attorney can do for you. 

Collecting Evidence

It is quite difficult to prove the other party's role in the accident without evidence. Sometimes, what you think counts as evidence may not be admissible in court. This is one of the many reasons you need an experienced attorney to fight for you. They know what counts as great evidence, what evidence is not as solid, and also what does not count as evidence at all. 

A skilled and well-equipped attorney can help you collect evidence even when you did not have it initially. For example, when reading or researching what you should do after a car accident, you've probably read that you should take pictures of the accident scene and interview witnesses, among other things. While this can be helpful, what happens if you're unconscious or broke several bones? What if you woke up in the hospital? 

You don't have to worry about these questions when you have a car accident attorney handling your case. The attorney will go out of their way to collect important evidence to be presented before the other party when negotiating a favorable settlement.

For example, even though you may not have the chance to interview a witness right after the accident, an attorney can request a police report about the accident. The attorney will then retrieve the contacts of the witnesses from the report and contact them to find out more about the accident. The same applies if there is a need for surveillance videos or any other form of evidence you may not have immediate access to. Again, an experienced and skilled attorney can help you collect the evidence you need to file a successful claim. 

Calculating Damages 

When you get injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, the driver's insurer will most likely contact you to find out more about the accident. When they realize that their insured is at fault for the accident, the insurance company may try to convince you to settle the case right away. Most people fall for this trick, thinking that the insurance company cares for them. But that's usually not the case.

One of the main reasons insurance companies try to get a hold of you after an accident caused by their insured's negligence is because they want to close the case as soon as possible. They know that with each passing minute, there is always the possibility that you might consider hiring an attorney to represent you. This is usually an insurance company's worst nightmare. 

Insurance firms do not always play fair, even if they seem to care about you. For example, they may trick you into accepting a settlement offer because they know you might require additional treatment for the injuries. 

If you don't feel any pain right after the accident, it does not mean that you are not hurt. Some injuries take time to show their symptoms but do not expect the insurance claims adjusters to inform you about this. Instead, they know that the case will be officially closed once you agree to sign the settlement agreement, and that's their primary goal. 

On the other hand, an attorney will calculate the damages suffered after the accident and use them to negotiate a favorable settlement for you. Some common damages you might be entitled to after such an accident include:

Medical expenses: The attorney will help you compile evidence of medical expenses resulting from the accident. 

Lost income: You may be eligible for additional compensation if you could not go to work due to the accident. 

Property damage: If the accident also led to property damage, your attorney can help you recover additional compensation. This could cover the costs of repairing or replacing the damaged property. 

Non-economic damages: Your lawyer can also convince the court that you deserve compensation for additional damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc. 

Providing Legal Advice 

On the contrary, when you have an attorney fighting for your rights, you will always benefit from their experience dealing with insurance companies. In addition, the attorney can advise you on where to go for a medical checkup, including therapy, counseling, etc. 

The attorney will also let you know about different tactics insurance companies use to find reasons to dispute your claim. For example, some companies hire private investigators to monitor the plaintiff's movements after such an accident. 

Remember, the investigator's job is to try and find reasons to reduce or dispute such a claim. And you'd be surprised how far private investigations will go to serve the interests of insurance companies. Some will even stalk you on social media to find any valid reason to question your injuries.

The main point here is that you need legal advice before filing a claim. When it comes to car accidents or any other type of personal injury lawsuit, anything can change instantly, and that's what an attorney prepares you for. 

Filing a Claim

After building a strong case against the other party, the attorney will help you file a claim with them. At times, it may be necessary to pursue compensation from more than one party. The pedestrian accident lawyer can also help you file multiple claims if applicable.

The process of filing a claim is usually complicated. Things can get even more complicated depending on the nature of the accident. Missing an important step along the way is all it takes to jeopardize a valid claim, but that's not something the insurance company will tell you. Instead, they'll hope that you make mistakes along the way. But since pedestrian accident lawyers constantly deal with such cases, you can count on their experience to help you file a claim correctly and within the required timeframe. 

Negotiating on Your Behalf

After building a strong case against the other party and calculating favorable compensation, your attorney will negotiate on your behalf. This strategy prevents the insurance company from using different tactics to intimidate you. 

When you have an attorney fighting for you, there is always a high possibility that the other party will agree to cooperate, especially if their insured is clearly at fault for the accident. However, if they refuse to cooperate, that takes us to the next step. 

Representing You in Court

When both parties fail to reach a settlement agreement out of court, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. They will also represent you in court, protecting your interests and rights. And if they win, the defendant will be responsible for the additional attorney expenses. This is one of the many reasons most insurance providers prefer to settle most claims out of court. 

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Morgan & Morgan

  • When You Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Burlington

    At Morgan & Morgan, you can always count on our pedestrian accident attorneys in Burlington, VT, to fight for you or a loved one who has been injured in such an accident. Our law firm boasts over 30 years' experience fighting for individuals like you. 

    Our army of over 800 personal injury attorneys handles a wide range of injury cases, including those involving automobiles. So whether you have been injured by a car, motorcycle, truck, or any other kind of vehicle, we have the right attorney to pursue your claim.

    Pedestrian accidents are not usually the easiest to settle, especially without an attorney. And even if you have an attorney, they must have access to unlimited resources to fight for you, something many lawyers and law firms don't. 

    As a result, the attorney will most likely settle for a lowball offer and move on to the next case. And when that happens, you'll still struggle with huge bills, but you won't be able to do anything about it if the case is already closed.

    Morgan & Morgan is the largest personal injury law firm in the country. Fill out our free, confidential case evaluation form or call us today at 802-557-6300 to speak with one of our representatives if you need a lawyer who will put your interests above anything else and negotiate the settlement you need and deserve. 

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