2013 Settlement of Pedestrian Accident Case
On the night of the accident in question, our client had been drinking with friends at a bar in Biddeford. He left the bar in a fairly intoxicated state and proceeded to walk home along the side of the road. As he tried to cross the road to get to his house, a car approaching from his right hit him, throwing our client approximately 20 feet. Our client suffered serious injuries due to the collision and was hospitalized for 10 days following two surgeries.
We were contacted by a family member while our client was in the hospital and immediately began to investigate the case. At first blush, it appeared that our client was partly—or even completely—at fault for the accident. His intoxication, while certainly not an insurmountable barrier to him being able to collect payment for his medical expenses and obtain other compensation, was a major concern. Another significant concern was that the area where the accident occurred was poorly lit and the defendant claimed that our client, who was wearing dark clothes at the time, was not visible.
To address these concerns, we hired an expert on vehicle lighting and visibility to determine the distance that the defendant driver could have seen our client in the road had he been paying attention and driving at the speed limit (as he claimed). Our expert concluded that our client was visible at a distance that was more than sufficient for the defendant driver to apply his brakes and stop his vehicle.
Despite our expert’s opinion, the insurance company refused to negotiate, forcing our firm to file a lawsuit. During the litigation that ensued, we obtained copies of the defendant driver’s cell phone records which indicated that he had made calls close in time to estimated time of the accident. Because the time of the exact time of the accident was unclear (the driver went to assist our client and was with him for several minutes before calling 911) and because our client had no recollection of the accident, the cell phone records were helpful to the case, but did not provide clear evidence that the driver was distracted by talking on his cell phone.
During the deposition of the defendant driver, we learned for the first time that the defendant had passed through that same area where the accident occurred, only minutes before, and noticed that our client was staggering in the road. The defendant claimed that he had to swerve to avoid our client, almost hitting him on his first pass through the area. This information was important in convincing the defendant’s insurance company that they should change their position that the defendant was not at fault for the accident. The insurance adjuster conceded that the defendant driver was on notice that our client was intoxicated and in the vicinity where the accident occurred. The insurance adjuster also grudgingly conceded that the defendant driver should have been more careful as he drove back through the area and should have been on the lookout for our client. A fair and reasonable resolution of the case was reached based on these concessions.
The lesson from this case is that very often important information about what happened in a case is not readily apparent and can only be uncovered through diligent investigation of a case. Peter Thompson & Associates has a well-earned reputation for digging deeply into cases to find out how accidents happen and pursuing compensation for our clients aggressively.