What Types of Damages are Available in Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits in North Carolina?

When a negligent driver strikes a pedestrian accident, the pedestrian can suffer severe and life-threatening injuries. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident that was not your fault, you probably would see your medical bills pile up. You may be wondering how you will pay for them because you cannot return to work. You may be entitled to compensation through an insurance settlement or by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Understanding the damages available in your case can help you navigate your claim.

Proving Liability

You will need to prove liability before obtaining damages from your pedestrian accident. Under North Carolina law, victims of personal injury accidents need to prove the following evidence to obtain compensation:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances
  • The defendant breached that duty through negligence 
  • The breach of duty caused the pedestrian accident
  • The victim suffered an injury as a result of the damages 

If a person or entity is at fault for your accident, you can recover damages if you do not bear any liability or fault for the accident. North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state. If you, as the injured person, are determined to have any amount of liability for the accident, you will not be able to recover any damages. Working with an experienced attorney can help you investigate your case and gather the evidence you need to prove that you were not at fault for the accident.

Successful Pedestrian Accident Plaintiffs are Entitled to General Damages

Plaintiffs who can prove all of the required elements of negligence are entitled to general damages, also called compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are the most commonly awarded damages in pedestrian lawsuits. These damages are more straightforward to quantify than non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Keeping a detailed record of all your medical expenses and any other costs you incur due to your injury will help you determine the total amount of general damages you are entitled to.

Medical Expenses

The majority of compensatory damages typically involve medical expenses, including the following:

  • Emergency transportation via an ambulance
  • Surgery costs
  • Hospital stays
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Specialist appointments
  • Future ongoing care caused by the car accident
  • Medical equipment
  • In-home health care aide
Lost Wages

In addition to medical expenses, successful plaintiffs are entitled to past wages, including any salaries, commissions, and bonuses they would have earned if their injuries had not occurred. When a pedestrian accident results in a permanent disability that prevents you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost earning capacity. You will need to prove that the injuries you have sustained make it impossible or extremely difficult for you to earn a living in order to recover lost future wages.

Property Damage

Pedestrians can also recover compensation for any property damage they incur, such as the destruction of a laptop, cell phone, or any other damaged property.

Pain and Suffering

Pedestrian victims frequently suffer significant mental and emotional harm. They may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from experiencing being hit by a vehicle. In North Carolina, victims can obtain compensation for their pain and suffering. Proving the full extent of your pain and suffering can be challenging, though. Mental health practitioners can provide expert testimony regarding your mental health symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Grief
  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must schedule an appointment with a medical provider to receive treatment. As with other medical conditions, you should keep all the documentation that can help you substantiate your pain and suffering damages.

The Plaintiff May be Entitled to Punitive Damages

When the defendant acted fraudulently or with willful or wanton conduct or malice, a pedestrian accident victim may be entitled to additional punitive damages. You will need to show that the plaintiff engaged in an intentional disregard for the safety of others. An example would be a driver becoming intoxicated and colliding with a pedestrian lawfully using the crosswalk.

Have You Suffered a Pedestrian Injury? We Can Help

Pedestrian accidents can lead to severe and life-altering injuries. If you or your loved one has suffered a pedestrian injury, you need a fierce attorney on your side. Contact the skilled personal injury accident attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for your right to compensation. 

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