Does Car Insurance Cover Me if I Hit a Pedestrian?
Due to the enormous size difference between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the potential for severe injuries is significant when the two collide. In many cases, a pedestrian struck by a car could face permanent– or even fatal– injuries.
Your auto liability policy covers you in accidents involving another vehicle, but does it protect you if you strike a pedestrian? The good news is that your liability policy should cover the injuries of a pedestrian– if you were responsible for the crash. Unfortunately, there are consequences you could face in this situation, even with insurance coverage.
Liability in a pedestrian accident is not always clear. While they generally enjoy the right-of-way when crossing a road, there are exceptions. In certain circumstances, a pedestrian could be at fault under the law. A New York car accident attorney could advise you of your rights.
What liability insurance will cover
Liability insurance is mandatory across the country, and New York is no exception. These policies are designed to protect you. Typically, these policies pay out for injuries and property damage. That said, other drivers are not the only people who could file a claim on your policy. Passengers in your vehicle or owners of roadside property damaged in the crash could also file a claim.
Further, if you strike a pedestrian with your vehicle, they can file a claim under your liability insurance policy. If your carrier agrees that you were at fault, they could negotiate a settlement with that person on your behalf.
The types of benefits available to a pedestrian under your liability policy are expansive. They could include any medical costs related to their treatment. This includes emergency room bills, hospital expenses, and the cost of physical therapy. An injured pedestrian could also seek compensation for any time away from work caused by the injury.
When pedestrians are at fault
An important part of the process involves your insurance company determining who was at fault. While pedestrians typically have the right of way, there are several circumstances where they could be liable for your losses. For example, if a pedestrian steps into your path without warning or time to avoid them, they could be responsible. A pedestrian could be at fault if they are walking in areas where it is expressly prohibited.
If your insurance company determines the pedestrian was at fault, they will not pay out. They could even pursue subrogation against the pedestrian and seek to recoup anything they paid to you.
Liability insurance can be a lifesaver in many cases. However, there are some important drawbacks to be aware of. First and foremost, your insurance policy limits will play an important role. While they are required to pay out on any liability claims against you, they are only obligated up to your coverage limits. For example, if your policy carries limits of $50,000 for bodily injury, that is the most they will pay. If the pedestrian’s injuries are more than that amount, you could be responsible for the balance.
It is also important to remember that a successful claim against your liability policy will likely impact your deductible. Insurance companies are notorious for raising their rates after an accident, so you could end up paying more out of pocket even if the carrier settles it.
How we can help
If you have been involved in an accident with a pedestrian, it is important not to jump to conclusions. While you might feel guilty, the reality is the pedestrian could be at fault. Fault is a legal determination best left to your attorney, so you should never admit to being in the wrong after a crash. It could work against you, especially if you did nothing wrong.
To ensure your rights are protected or to discuss pursuing your own damages against a pedestrian, contact Douglas & London right away to set up a free consultation.