A Key Lesson For Attorneys Who Handle Lawsuits Concerning A Pedestrian Death

 By: J. Hernandez
Pedestrian accident cases often end in fatalities. As per information from a few years ago, a pedestrian is killed in a motor vehicle accident roughly every 111 minutes. That turns out to be four thousand five hundred pedestrian fatalities each year. Attorneys who handle motor vehicle accident claims that resulted in the death of a pedestrian should have the experience and the skill to grasp the damages to the victim's family and need knowledge of insurance issues to be able to fully pursue different sources of recovery.

In one lawsuit, as he tried to turn left a driver hit and killed a sixty two year-old man crossing the streeton a walk signal. The pedestrian victim died from the resulting injuries. Liability was not an issue in this matter. The driver admitted to being at fault for the accident. The issue concerned the amount that could be recovered. But as is so often the case in motor vehicle accidents with serious injuries to or the death of the victim, the driver only had fifteen thousand dollars in insurance coverage. In this lawsuit this amount was completely insufficient given that the victim was killed.

The law firm that handled this matter on behalf of the victim's family recognized that, while the driver had been operating his own car when the accident took place, the driver was on his way to a store to make a purchase for his employer. They were thus able to establish that the driver was acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. This makes the employer liable as well. Therefore, the law firm was able to reach the employer's insurance policy and recovered an additional $1 Million. The law firm thus achieved a full recovery in the amount of $1.015 Million on behalf of the victim's adult children.

In another lawsuit, as a man was walking on a sidewalk, the 90 year-old was hit from behind by a pickup truck. The pickup, which weighed a ton, was backing out of a construction site when it hit the pedestrian. The truck did not just strike the man, it actually ran over him, went forward and then ran over him again. The man died of his injuries. The man was survived by his adult children. They retained a law frim which pursued a lawsuit for them. They named the driver, his employer, the developer of the construction site, and the contractor as defendants. The developer settled for $200,000. The contractor settled for $150,000. While the driver's employer did not deny liabity if the driver were liable, the employer claimed that the driver was not liable because the real cause of the accident was the developer who did not have a lookout person at the location while the driver was backing up. After the trial, the jury found against the driver and the employer and ordered that they pay $1.3 million to complensate the victim's family for their loss.

The lesson from these matters is the importance of recognizing the value of the damages and to completely check out all possible sources of recovery. An attorney handling one of these lawsuits must look to all potential defendants. This can include employers and anyone else who can be vicariously liable. Applying this lesson, even when the potential defendant denies liability, could substantially increase the sum recovered for the family of a pedestrian killed in a motor vehicle accident.
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