How Long Do Pedestrian Accident Claims Take to Settle?

Written By: Darl Champion

Date Posted: 06.01.24

Category: Pedestrian Accident

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident, one of your first questions is likely: “How long will it take to get a settlement for my injuries and damages?” It is understandable that you have concerns about when you will receive your compensation, as the bills are likely piling up and you might have lost income from missing work due to your injuries.

The truth is that the timeline for settling a pedestrian accident claim depends heavily on the specifics of your case. While a simple claim with clear liability and moderate injuries may settle relatively quickly, a complex case involving severe injuries, disputed liability, or an uncooperative insurance company can drag on for a year or more.

No matter your situation, consulting with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer is the best way to understand your legal rights, build a strong case, and work towards a fair settlement as efficiently as possible. Let’s explore the key factors that impact the pedestrian accident claim timeline and settlement process.

If you’ve suffered an injury in a pedestrian crash, don’t wait to get the legal guidance you need – contact a skilled pedestrian accident attorney today for a free consultation.

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Key Factors That Affect the Pedestrian Accident Settlement Timeline

Every pedestrian accident case is unique, but in general, the following factors tend to have the biggest impact on how long the claims process takes from start to finish:

Severity of Your Injuries

Key Factors That Affect the Pedestrian Accident Settlement Timeline

In pedestrian accidents, victims frequently suffer severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, compound fractures, and internal organ damage. The more serious your injuries, the longer your medical treatment and recovery is likely to last.

It’s advisable not to settle your claim until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), the point at which your condition has stabilized, and your doctor can determine whether you’ll have any permanent disabilities or limitations. Reaching MMI can take a few months to a year or more.

Why is it so important to wait for MMI to settle your claim? Once you accept a settlement offer, you’ll be required to sign a release that prevents you from seeking additional compensation for your injuries, even if you have future medical needs or discover that your injuries are worse than you originally thought. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will help ensure you don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Liability Disputes

In some pedestrian accidents, liability is clear cut – for example, if a drunk driver ran a red light and struck you in a crosswalk. But other cases involve complex questions of fault.

Maybe the at-fault driver is trying to claim you darted out into traffic outside of a crosswalk. Or perhaps your accident involved a hit-and-run driver who is difficult to identify.

Disputed liability will lengthen the settlement process as your lawyer works to gather evidence, bring in expert witnesses, and build an airtight case demonstrating the other party’s negligence.

Cooperation of the Insurance Company

We buy insurance to protect ourselves in the event of an accident, but sadly, insurance companies are ultimately most concerned with protecting their bottom line. It’s common for insurers to deny valid claims, offer lowball settlements, and engage in bad faith delay tactics to wear down injured claimants.

If the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, your lawyer may need to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit to keep your case moving forward. While most cases still settle before trial, litigation will extend the overall timeline. Throughout it all, your lawyer will be a staunch advocate for your rights, shielding you from the insurance company’s tactics and fighting for the maximum compensation you’re owed.

The Pedestrian Accident Claims Process from Start to Finish

While no two pedestrian accident cases follow the same path, below is a general overview of the claims process and estimated timeline:

Medical Treatment

The Pedestrian Accident Claims Process from Start to Finish

In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, your first priority should be your health and well-being. Seek medical care immediately, follow your doctor’s treatment plan, and attend all follow-up appointments. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may need extensive treatment like surgeries, hospitalizations, rehabilitative therapy, pain management, mental health counseling, and more.

Throughout your treatment, be sure to save all medical records and bills. These will become important evidence in your injury claim. Avoid discussing your accident or injuries on social media, as anything you post online can be used to devalue your claim.

Lawyer Investigation

Once you hire a pedestrian accident lawyer, they will investigate your case in-depth. This involves:

  • Gathering evidence like the crash report, photos and videos from the scene, witness statements, and surveillance camera footage
  • Obtaining your medical records and bills
  • Consulting with experts like accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, life care planners, and economists to build a persuasive case and assess the full value of your damages
  • Identifying all potential sources of compensation, such as the at-fault driver’s auto insurance, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and more

Issuing a Demand & Negotiations

Once you’ve reached MMI and your lawyer has finished their investigation, they will send the insurance company a demand letter outlining your case and the full extent of your damages, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Disability and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket costs

The demand letter triggers settlement negotiations. Your lawyer and the insurer will exchange phone calls and emails until they reach an agreement.

A skilled pedestrian accident attorney will have a strong command of the evidence and the true value of your claim. They’ll stand firm and keep fighting if the insurer tries to shift undue blame onto you or make unreasonable low offers.


Ideally, negotiations will lead to a fair settlement in a reasonable timeframe. But if the insurance company refuses to budge, your lawyer may need to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit to show that you mean business. The litigation phase involves:

  • Filing a formal complaint in civil court
  • The discovery process, where both sides exchange evidence and take depositions (sworn out-of-court interviews)
  • Mediation, where a neutral third party tries to help the two sides reach a settlement
  • Trial, where your lawyer presents your case to a judge and jury, who will determine if the defendant is liable and how much compensation to award you

It’s important to note that a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean your case will end up in front of a jury. The vast majority of pedestrian accident lawsuits settle out of court during litigation. However, you need an attorney who is a skilled litigator who isn’t afraid to take your case to trial to secure a just outcome.

Settlement and Disbursement

Once a settlement is reached, the insurance company will send your lawyer a check and settlement documents to sign. Your lawyer will deposit the check in a special client trust account.

Before releasing the funds to you, they’ll use a portion to pay off your outstanding medical bills and legal fees. You’ll then receive your settlement in a lump sum or structured payments, depending on what you’ve arranged. If your case went to trial and you won a jury verdict, the payment process may take longer, especially if the defendant appeals the decision.

Total Pedestrian Accident Settlement Timeline

The pedestrian accident settlement process typically takes several months to two years or even more. While no one wants to wait that long for a resolution, it’s best not to rush the process.

If you’re feeling financial pressure, your lawyer can send the insurance company a “demand within limits,” which requests the insurer to pay the maximum amount on the policy as soon as liability is clear. They can also help you defer medical bills and find other sources of support.

Though the settlement process takes time, you only have a limited window to act. Each state has a statute of limitations that places a strict deadline on your right to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit. If you try to file suit after the statute expires, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case.

In some states, you have as little as one year from the date of your pedestrian accident to get your lawsuit started. The clock may also be ticking on other key deadlines, such as the timeline for filing a claim against a government entity (if you were hit by a public bus, for example).

The sooner you contact a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney, the better. A lawyer will jumpstart the investigation process, ensure you meet all applicable deadlines, and handle the day-to-day aspects of your claim so you can focus your energy on healing.

FAQs About Pedestrian Accident Claims and Settlements

Q: Should I accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer for my pedestrian accident?

A: Taking an insurer’s initial offer is almost never advisable. Insurance companies are known for beginning negotiations with lowball offers that don’t reflect the true value of your damages. A pedestrian accident lawyer will assess the full value of your losses and fight for a settlement that provides fair compensation.

Q: How much is the average pedestrian accident settlement?

A: Settlement amounts can range from thousands to millions of dollars depending on factors like the severity of your injuries, insurance policy limits, whether you bear any share of fault, and the strength of the evidence. Rather than comparing your case to averages, it’s best to consult a lawyer who can personally assess your claim’s potential value.

Q: What if the driver who hit me was uninsured or underinsured?

A: If you were struck by an uninsured motorist or your damages exceed the driver’s insurance limits, you can file a claim with your auto insurance company if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Your lawyer can identify all potential avenues for recovering compensation.

Q: What if I was hit by a drunk driver?

A: If an intoxicated driver caused your pedestrian accident, you may have grounds for a dram shop claim against the bar, restaurant, store, or social host who overserved the driver before the crash. Drunk driving accidents may also warrant punitive damages to punish the driver for their egregious misconduct. Your lawyer can build a case to hold all negligent parties fully accountable.

Q: How much does it cost to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer?

A: Most pedestrian accident attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get compensated if they win a settlement or verdict for you. The standard contingency fee is around 33 percent of the recovery, but it may vary depending on the complexity of your case and whether it goes to trial. You typically won’t have to pay any upfront costs or fees to hire a lawyer.

Q: What if the driver who hit me was on the job at the time of the pedestrian accident?

A: If you were struck by a commercial vehicle or a driver who was working at the time of the crash, you may have a claim against their employer under a legal theory known as vicarious liability. Employers can be held responsible for the negligent actions of their employees in the course and scope of their job duties. Your lawyer can help identify all potentially liable parties and insurance policies.

Reach Out to a Trusted Pedestrian Accident Attorney

No amount of money can erase the trauma and hardships of being injured in a pedestrian accident. However, pursuing a settlement can provide vital support to help you rebuild and move forward after a devastating crash.

Though the pedestrian accident claim process takes time, you don’t have to go through it alone. An experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer can handle every aspect of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery with the peace of mind that your claim is in good hands.

If you have suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident, don’t wait any longer – contact a trusted pedestrian accident lawyer in your area now for a free consultation.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.