Is It Worth Getting a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Being involved in a pedestrian accident can be a traumatic, life-altering experience. Pedestrian accident victims often suffer serious injuries, lost wages, ongoing medical bills, and mental distress. Injured pedestrians may wonder if it’s worth hiring a pedestrian accident attorney.
Here are some ways a personal injury lawyer can help your claim:
- A specialized pedestrian accident attorney possesses in-depth knowledge of personal injury law, ensuring you have an expert advocating for your rights.
- Pedestrian accident cases can be complex. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer understands the legal procedures and can guide you throughout the whole claims process.
- Pedestrian accident attorneys can help you evaluate the value of your claim. They will help you seek full and fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- The other party’s insurance company may try to assign you a share of the fault or deny your claim. Pedestrian accident lawyers know how to handle insurance claims and negotiations. They will take your claim to court, if necessary, to recover a fair settlement.
- Having an attorney allows you to focus on your recovery while they handle the legal complexities, providing peace of mind during a challenging time.
Common Pedestrian Injuries from Car Accidents
Pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries due to the vulnerability of individuals traveling on foot. Some common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents include the following:
Fractures and broken bones – The impact of a car can lead to fractures and breaks in various parts of the body. These kinds of injuries may require immediate medical attention, rehabilitation, and extensive recovery periods.
Head injuries – Pedestrians have no protection against a motor vehicle and can suffer severe head injuries in a car-pedestrian accident. Traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and skull fractures are common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents and can lead to long-term consequences.
Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis or lifelong disabilities which can drastically alter the victim’s quality of life.
Soft tissue injuries – Sprains, strains, and contusions are common in auto accidents and might lead to chronic pain and discomfort.
Internal injuries – Blunt force trauma can cause damage to internal organs, leading to internal bleeding, which requires immediate medical intervention.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in California
In 2021, there were 1,108 pedestrian fatalities across California, a 9.4% increase from 2020. How do motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents happen? Pedestrian accidents in California occur due to various factors, and understanding these causes is essential for prevention and legal recourse:
Drivers distracted by their cell phones, GPS navigation systems, or other factors may not notice pedestrians and may not have enough time to avoid a crash.
Speeding reduces a driver’s reaction time, making it difficult for them to slow down and stop their vehicle if necessary.
Alcohol or drug-impaired drivers have altered judgment and coordination, which significantly increases the risk of pedestrian accidents.
Failure to Obey Traffic Signals
Disregarding traffic signals and pedestrian crosswalks leads to dangerous situations where pedestrians can be hit.
Low visibility conditions, such as fog or night-time, make it challenging for drivers to see pedestrians, increasing the likelihood of accidents. For better visibility, it’s best for pedestrians to wear reflective, or bright-colored clothing.
Sometimes, pedestrians might cross the road outside designated areas, across unmarked crosswalks, or without observing traffic rules. In California, Vehicle Code 21950 requires motor vehicle drivers to yield to pedestrians within any marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk.
Who is Liable in a Pedestrian Car Accident?
Determining liability in a pedestrian-car accident is critical. If a driver was speeding, distracted, or impaired, they might be held liable for the accident. Failure to yield to pedestrians or obey traffic laws also constitutes negligence.
Pedestrians must also follow traffic signals and use crosswalks where available. If a pedestrian jaywalks or behaves recklessly, they may share liability for the accident. Poorly designed roads, malfunctioning traffic signals, or lack of pedestrian signs can make government entities liable if these factors contributed to the accident.
Determining liability often requires a thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and expert legal analysis. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for your losses.
How is Fault Determined in Pedestrian Accident Cases?
Establishing fault in pedestrian accident cases involves a careful examination of evidence and circumstances.
Eyewitness testimonies – Statements from witnesses who saw the accident can provide crucial insights into the sequence of events and the actions of both the driver and the pedestrian.
Accident reconstruction – Experts can reconstruct the accident using available evidence, such as skid marks, debris, and vehicle damage, to determine how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
Surveillance footage – Video footage from nearby security cameras or traffic cameras can provide clear evidence of the accident, helping establish fault.
Police reports – Law enforcement officers create detailed reports after accidents. These reports often include their assessment of the scene and statements from involved parties.
Expert analysis – Accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and other specialists can provide expert opinions on the accident, helping establish fault in complex cases.
It’s crucial to collect evidence promptly and secure legal counsel to help you navigate the complexities of a pedestrian accident case.
Pedestrian Traffic Laws
Pedestrian traffic laws are designed to ensure the safety of individuals walking near or across roadways. Understanding these laws is vital for both pedestrians and drivers:
- Pedestrians have the right of way in marked and unmarked crosswalks. Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the road within these designated areas.
- Pedestrians must obey traffic signals and cross the road only when signals indicate it is safe to do so. Similarly, drivers must stop at red lights and allow pedestrians to cross.
- Crossing the road outside designated crosswalks is dangerous. Pedestrians engaging in jaywalking risk accidents and may be held partially liable for any resulting collisions.
- Pedestrians should use sidewalks where available. If there is no sidewalk, they should walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
- In general, pedestrians have the right of way, but they must also exercise caution and not suddenly step into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Types of Compensation in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
Pedestrian accident victims can pursue various types of compensation to cover their losses and damages. Compensation in pedestrian accident claims may include:
Medical expenses – This can include compensation for medical bills related to the pedestrian accident. For example, medical costs can include hospitalization, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy.
Lost wages – If the accident causes the injured victim to miss work, they can claim compensation for lost wages and any reduction in earning capacity due to their serious injuries.
Pain and suffering – These damages can include physical pain, mental distress, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of activities. Pain and suffering damages are often compensated based on the severity of the injuries and their impact on the victim’s life.
Property damage – The victim can pursue compensation for the repair or replacement of personal property damaged in the accident, such as clothing, cell phones, or other personal property.
Wrongful death – In fatal pedestrian accidents, the surviving spouse or family members may seek compensation for damages including burial and funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of consortium.
Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
In California, victims of pedestrian accidents generally have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. In fatal pedestrian accidents, the family of the deceased has 2 years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If a government entity is involved, there are specific rules and shorter timeframes for filing claims, often ranging from 6 months to 1 year. It’s essential to consult with a pedestrian accident attorney promptly after the accident to ensure compliance with the statute of limitations and preserve your right to compensation.
Comparative Negligence Laws in California
California follows a comparative negligence system, which means that even if a pedestrian is partially at fault for the accident, they can still seek compensation, although the amount may be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
Therefore, if the pedestrian injured in the crash is found partially at fault, their compensation is reduced proportionally. For example, if a pedestrian is deemed 30% at fault and the total damages are $100,000, they would receive $70,000 after the reduction. Understanding comparative negligence laws is essential, as they can significantly impact the compensation amount in a personal injury case. Having an experienced attorney can help navigate these complexities and maximize the compensation you receive.
Contact a California Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney promptly. If you’re seeking justice and fair compensation after a pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to contact a California pedestrian accident attorney today. At Grove Accident Lawyers, we maintain a 99% success rate and have won millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Call us today to schedule a no-risk, free consultation.