Pedestrian accidents may be minor for the driver of a car, but they are often catastrophic for the pedestrian because there is nothing to cushion the force of the collision. If a pedestrian accident results in serious injuries, you may need to take time off work, undergo substantial medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation, obtain replacement services, and experience significant pain and suffering.
Michigan is a no-fault state. This means that if you are injured in a collision involving a motor vehicle, you must first look to your own no-fault insurer to pursue PIP benefits. This contrasts with fault states, in which you can sue a driver and potentially receive compensation through his or her insurance if that person was at fault or played a significant role in causing the accident.
The at-fault rule applies to injured pedestrians as well. If you are a pedestrian who is hit by a car, you must first obtain compensation through your own no-fault policy. PIP benefits can be collected regardless of whether you were partly to blame or whether the accident was entirely someone else's fault. In most cases, you are entitled to collect the benefits as long as your injury arose out of an accident involving a motor vehicle, so you would not need to establish a driver's negligence in order to obtain benefits.
MCL 500.3107 provides that an injured pedestrian can collect the following PIP benefits: reasonably necessary medical costs, lost wages for three years, and replacement service expenses, which are what you incur if you need to hire someone else to do domestic tasks. You cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering or other more subjective losses through PIP benefits. If a pedestrian dies, survivor's loss benefits can be collected by the pedestrian's estate.
If you cannot obtain benefits through your own policy, you can look to other insurers in a certain order to obtain coverage. Often, it is helpful to consult an attorney to make sure that you are making claims on the correct insurance in the right order.
There are certain serious circumstances in which you are allowed to sue an at-fault driver after a pedestrian accident. If you endure the serious impairment of a bodily function, permanent disfigurement, or the death of a loved one, the at-fault driver can potentially be held responsible through a negligence claim.
In this type of lawsuit, you may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering and disfigurement if you can prove the driver's negligence. You would have to prove the driver's duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. In some cases, a defendant may raise the issue of comparative negligence. However, if you were 50 percent or less responsible for an accident, you still may be able to recover a damages award that is proportionate to the defendant’s degree of fault. If you were more than 50 percent at fault, you will not be able to recover non-economic damages, but you can potentially recover economic damages that are proportionate to the defendant’s fault.
In the event you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact the experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at Neumann Law Group for a free consultation.