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Pedestrian Accidents | Negligence Claims

Can I sue the driver for negligence for my injuries in a pedestrian accident?

If you were involved in a collision with an automobile as a pedestrian, you are likely wondering what your legal rights are. Not only may you be entitled to no-fault PIP benefits as a pedestrian, but you may also be able to bring a pedestrian accident liability claim against the driver for negligence. No-fault benefits include:

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  1. payment of reasonably necessary medical expenses;
  2. replacement services for day-to-day service items like housecleaning and yard care;
  3. reimbursement of work loss up to three years and subject to a monthly cap;
  4. and survivor’s loss benefits to beneficiaries in instances of death.

If the driver of the motor vehicle that caused your injury was negligent, Michigan law allows the pedestrian to bring a negligence claim against the driver and his or her insurer. In this negligence lawsuit, the injured person may recover non-economic damages — sometimes called “pain and suffering” damages. Injured pedestrians may also make a claim for damages against the at-fault driver for excess economic loss. These damages compensate the victim for their losses that extend beyond the three-year cap on no-fault PIP benefits and may include excess wage loss for someone who remains unable to work.

pedestrian in crosswalk near automobileIn addition, dependents of the injured pedestrian, such as spouses or children, may be entitled to bring a claim against the at-fault driver to recover for the losses they suffered as a result of the pedestrian’s injuries.

Pedestrian accident liability – establishing driver negligence

To be eligible to collect non-economic damages and excess economic damages, the injured pedestrian must show that the driver of the motor vehicle was negligent as well as this negligence caused their injury.

As a general rule, a driver has a legal duty to abide by the law. This includes the traffic laws of the jurisdiction in which he or she is driving. When a driver fails to abide by these laws and injures someone else, that conduct typically constitutes legal negligence.

Many types of evidence may be used to establish that a driver was negligent. Such evidence may include:

  1. reports, video or testimony from a police officer who investigated the accident.
  2. testimony from eyewitnesses to the accident.
  3. surveillance video that shows how the accident occurred.
  4. the victim’s testimony regarding his or her recollection of the events.
  5. reports from accident reconstructionists or private investigators regarding the accident.

Learn more about negligence suits (also called “tort claims“) against at-fault drivers.

Threshold Injury Requirement

In addition to establishing the other driver’s negligence to recover non-economic damages, an injured pedestrian must also show that the injuries amounted to a “threshold injury. The No-Fault Act says a threshold injury may be established by showing that the injury consists of one or more of the following:

  1. serious impairment of a body function;
  2. permanent serious disfigurement; or
  3. death

The types of injuries that will satisfy these categories are a subject of constant reinterpretation by the Michigan courts. As a result, we encourage injured pedestrians to contact an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney as quickly as possible.  Our attorneys are foremost auto accident experts and understand the complexities of both the state’s no-fault statute and claims against at-fault drivers. We proudly represent clients throughout the state of Michigan. Submit an online contact form here or call 866.758.0031 today.