Whether you live in one of California’s bustling cities or one of its quieter, rural areas, chances are, you share the roads with motorists as a pedestrian from time to time. You may cross the street to enter a restaurant, you may walk to work, or you may jog around your neighborhood for exercise.
As a pedestrian, you have rights—and if you are struck by another vehicle and injured, you may be entitled to compensation.
Can Pedestrians Get Compensation For Injuries?
Pedestrians have zero protection from impact. For that reason, a pedestrian hit by a car is likely to suffer head injury, neck injury, back injury, broken bones or other serious injury. With serious injuries come serious expenses: medical bills, lost wages and more.
Thankfully, pedestrians hit by careless drivers may be able to pursue compensation, and the Kuvara Law Firm can help. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience helping injured pedestrians get fair compensation as fast as possible.
We are not going to push you into accepting a lowball settlement just to resolve your claim quickly, nor will we force you to undertake time-consuming litigation in order to maximize your compensation. We will use the techniques we have honed over the course of our careers to do what is right for you.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Pedestrians are at a surprisingly high risk of being in an accident involving a car. In 2015, for example, 5,376 pedestrians were killed due to traffic crashes. This is a worrying number and justifies the need to take every precaution possible to prevent pedestrian accidents. What’s more, during each trip, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than a passenger sitting in a moving vehicle to be killed by a car.
Those who are often involved in an accident are those who are visually impaired or have reduced mobility. Therefore, most at risk are older people, namely those who are over the age of 65. In fact, 19 percent of all pedestrian deaths in 2015 were people over the age of 65. Pedestrians who are impaired by alcohol or other drugs are also more at risk.
What To Do If You’re Involved In A Pedestrian Incident
If you have been involved in a pedestrian incident, you will know that it is a terrifying experience. If you are the victim of an accident involving a car, it is vital that you take certain steps to ensure that the important evidence is preserved.
1) Call Emergency Services
If a person is injured, someone at the scene should call 911 and request an ambulance or the police as soon as possible. Calling the police from a legal standpoint is extremely important to ensure that statements are taken and that evidence is collected in a proper way.
2) Take The Driver’s Details
Someone at the scene should immediately take the driver’s details, including his or her name, address, phone number, license plate and insurance number. If possible, getting the contact details of as many witnesses as possible will help you in making a claim.
3) Take Pictures
Taking pictures of the damage and of the scene as soon as possible after the incident will help document vital evidence. Images of the injured can also help the jury come to a more informed decision.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian incident involving a vehicle, it is important to seek trusted legal guidance so that your claim can be assessed fully with your individual situation taken into account.
I Was Hit by a Car—Now What?
If you were hit and injured by a motor vehicle—or if your loved one was struck and killed—you may be entitled to damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
To obtain compensation after a pedestrian accident, the injured pedestrian must show the following:
- The at-fault driver (or motorcyclist, bicyclist, etc.) owed a duty to the victim;
- Because the at-fault driver was negligent, this duty was breached; and
- Because this duty was breached, the victim was injured.
Each of these elements must be supported with evidence for a California personal injury claim to stand. If one of the elements cannot be proven, the claim will fail and the victim will not be entitled to any damages.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you need to consult an experienced California pedestrian accident attorney right away. These attorneys examine copies of your medical records, accident reports, and other pieces of evidence to build your case and support your claim for damages.
Pedestrian accident attorneys take over your claim from the moment they are hired, so you no longer have to worry about the at-fault driver’s insurance company calling you and pressuring you to accept an inadequate settlement offer. In addition, your attorney drafts and files all necessary documents in your case and conducts any hearings that may be scheduled.
Pedestrian accident attorneys often help their clients increase the value of their case by identifying all possible avenues of recovery and ensuring that the right type of evidence is submitted to support these claims. For example, many accident victims are unaware that the cost of future surgeries and physical therapy may be sought in a legal claim.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are numerous types of negligence that may cause a pedestrian accident. These include:
- Texting and driving, or other types of distracted driving
- Failing to give the right of way
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Not using a turn signal when turning
- Driving recklessly in poor weather
- Failing to check for pedestrians at a crosswalk
There are a number of reasons why a pedestrian accident may occur. With the assistance of an experienced California pedestrian accident attorney, responsible parties will be properly identified and claims will be pursued against them.
At-fault drivers may also try to blame the pedestrian for the accident. Common arguments include:
- The pedestrian was distracted
- The pedestrian did not use a designated crosswalk
- The pedestrian walked in front of the vehicle
- The pedestrian was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The pedestrian did not walk at a crosswalk when the “walk” light was on
Even if the pedestrian did not do anything wrong, at-fault drivers and their insurance companies may try to use these arguments to avoid liability. However, experienced personal injury attorneys study video surveillance footage, consult accident reconstruction experts, and locate eyewitnesses to build their clients’ cases and fight these claims.
CALIFORNIA IS NUMBER ONE IN PEDESTRIAN DEATHS
Coming in the first place is not always a good thing. Unfortunately, a recent study ranked California as the number one state in the U.S. for pedestrian deaths.
According to an article from SFGATE, pedestrian deaths are at an all-time high nationwide. While California actually saw a decrease in fatal pedestrian accidents during the first half of 2016, the state still maintained the number one position, in large part because of its size.
What Is The Cause Of Pedestrian Fatalities?
Not surprisingly, one of the experts behind the study attributed the increase in pedestrian fatalities to the proliferation of cellphones and the rise of distracted driving. Simply put, more people are not paying attention when they drive.
The report also cited the thriving economy as part of the issue. People have more money and can afford more vacations, which means more cars and pedestrians on the road. The greater number of drivers and pedestrians translates to a greater number of crashes.
What Can Be Done To Stop This?
The Governors Highway Safety Association, the organization responsible for the study, has recommended the creation of safety islands, pedestrian bridges and other structures to keep pedestrians safe. Meanwhile, major metropolitan areas are introducing a variety of pedestrian safety initiatives. For example, Vision Zero SF has been launched in San Francisco. Furthermore, efforts need to be made to stop distracted driving and speeding.
Pedestrians who have been hit by negligent drivers may not have to deal with medical bills and other costs on their own. They may be able to seek compensation with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
PEDESTRIANS MUST EXERCISE SAFETY
Many individuals mistakenly believe that pedestrians always maintain the right of way when they enter a street. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous and inaccurate idea, one that costs many pedestrians their lives each year, and leaves some of those who survive an injury accident with few options to seek compensation for their injuries.
It is crucial to take responsibility for your own safety as much as possible when you are a pedestrian. Simply being mindful of several pedestrian safety principles can help you avoid becoming the victim of an automobile-pedestrian accident.
Most injury accidents occur when a motorist does not see a pedestrian enter a street. While crossing a street or roadway somewhere other than a crosswalk is not always illegal, and may seem much more convenient, you risk being struck by a motorist who has no reason to expect a pedestrian might enter the street. This is especially true when a pedestrian enters a street from between vehicles parked on the side of the street.
Many other injuries occur because pedestrians are not mindful of their surroundings. It is never wise to cross a street while looking at your mobile device, and certainly not wise to cross a street without looking both ways to check for oncoming traffic.
Crossing a street with children is also a dangerous thing in its own right. If you are crossing a street with a child, always be sure to hold the child’s hand as you cross, and be sure to look both ways twice to make sure you can safely make it to the other side.
Pedestrian Accident FAQ’s
What is the first step to take when attempting to make a claim?
You should try to have all evidence documented to as large a degree as possible. This can include your personal notes about the event that took place. You should pay particular attention to the damages that you suffered and the effect that it had on you.
The accident was partly my fault. Can I still make a claim?
The courts acknowledge that very often there is some blame on both sides, therefore they try to work out how much each person was to blame. If you are to blame, you can still make a claim; it will just affect how much in damages you are entitled to.
How soon should I make a pedestrian injury claim?
There is always a limit on how long you can wait, so you should file a claim as soon as possible. However, you should also make sure to make a full recovery before going through the stressful process of making a claim.
What Types of Damages May I Be Entitled To?
Pedestrians who prevail in their accident claims may be entitled to a variety of damages, depending on the facts of the case. These include:
Medical expenses, including the cost of future medical care that may be required
– Lost wages
– Loss of earning capacity
– Loss of employment benefits
– Pain and suffering
– Emotional distress
Your attorney will ensure that all of the damages you are entitled to are sought in your case.
At Kuvara Law Firm, We Help Injured Pedestrians
The personal injury lawyers at Kuvara Law Firm take pedestrian accidents seriously. If you have been injured and would like to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options, contact us at 1-800-4-INJURY.