Dec 262008

::iimageright(“Pedestrian.jpg”,”Car vs Pedestrian Accident”)::

It scares me as I watched people walk on the snow covered streets because the snow plows have covered the sidewalks with a foot or more of snow. What amazes me is that everyone I have seen doing this is on the wrong side of the street. Instead of facing traffic as they walk, they have their backs to the oncoming vehicles! Ignorance may be bliss, but I would like to have a fighting chance of jumping out of the way of a vehicle who did not clear his windows enough to see me.

In a pedestrian vs. vehicle accident, the police and lawyers are going to be the ones to determine fault. As pointed out recently at the InjuryBoard blog, Washington State pedestrians have some extra coverage that is not available in all states. If you are hit as a pedestrian, not only are you able to seek compensation from the vehicle owner’s liability policy, you also have access to the vehicle’s medical coverage.

If a driver has this coverage, not only does it cover the medical bills for anyone riding in the vehicle, it can be used by a pedestrian to pay for bills while they’re waiting for the case to settle. It essentially treats the pedestrian as an injured passenger in the car. Whatever medical coverage exists does not get subtracted from the driver’s liability coverage either. His insurance company may be entitled to take credit for whatever bills they paid at settlement time, but they don’t get to subtract it from coverage. Of course, accessing this coverage when you also have a claim against the same company for a liability settlement can create strange bedfellows. On the one hand, the liability adjustor has the right to do everything in his power to deny, defend or delay your claim. However, the medical coverage adjustor is supposed to treat you like any other passenger in the car, meaning fairly and honestly and is even required to keep any medical information they obtain on you confidential.

This can take the pressure off of settling a claim early just to pay bills and get you taken care of like you should be. As always, if you are involved in a serious accident you should seek legal advice.

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