What You Need to Know About California Pedestrian Accident Cases

Pedestrians Walking Across a WalkwayPedestrian accidents are on the rise—both in California and across the country. According to a 2019 report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of people killed in pedestrian accidents reached a 30-year high in 2018, with more than 6,220 pedestrians dying in traffic accidents. That's not all. Research shows that the deaths in just five states—California, Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Arizona—accounted for nearly half of all the pedestrian accident fatalities in the United States that year. California alone reported more than 430 pedestrian deaths in just the first six months of 2018.

Even if you were fortunate enough to survive a pedestrian accident, you may find yourself seriously injured, unable to work, and facing growing medical and household expenses. If your injuries and losses were caused by another person or company's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving - such cell phone use, smoking, inattentiveness
  • Drowsy driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks
  • Disobeying traffic signs or signals
  • Failing to signal while turning
  • Aggressive driving
  • Driving inappropriately for the current road, weather, or traffic conditions

Injuries Associated With Pedestrian Accidents

Because pedestrians have nothing protecting them from an oncoming vehicle (or them and the road), the injuries associated with these accidents are often catastrophic or deadly. Common pedestrian accident injuries include:

  • Lacerations
  • Contusions
  • Severe abrasions
  • Broken or crushed bones
  • Concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord trauma (which may result in varying degrees of temporary or permanent paralysis)
  • Lost limbs or amputations
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Psychological trauma

Available Damages

Filing a pedestrian accident insurance claim or lawsuit allows you to pursue compensation for a wide range of damages. These damages can be divided into two main categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages compensate you for direct financial losses such as related medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, while non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for intangible damages like pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and reduced quality of life. Additionally, if your case goes to court and the defendant's behavior is deemed especially egregious, the judge may order them to pay you punitive damages. These damages are specifically intended to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct.

Potentially Liable Parties

In pedestrian accident cases, the liable party is often the driver of the involved vehicle. However, the driver isn't always to blame. If the accident was caused by a defectively designed or poorly maintained road, sidewalk, or parking lot, you may be able to hold a government agency, property owner or maintenance company responsible.  Most people don't realize that in addition to potential recovery from persons who caused or contributed to the injuries, a pedestrian may potentially make a claim against their own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage if that type of insurance was purchased before the accident and the policy covers the injured pedestrian.  This is often an under utilized source of compensation.

In some cases, you may be partially responsible for the accident and your injuries. Fortunately, in California, the law follows the pure comparative negligence legal standard.  This means you are only barred from recovery to the extent you were responsbile for your injuries.  After an accident, all involved parties are assigned a percentage of fault, and any portion assigend to the pedestiran is deducted from any settlement or financial awarded. For example, if the pedestrian was found to be 15 percent at fault and the amount awarded was $100,000, the jury award would be reduced to $85,000.

Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident, but Weren't Struck by a Vehicle? You Can Still Seek Compensation for Damages

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to actually have been struck by a vehicle in order to pursue a pedestrian accident insurance claim or lawsuit. If you were injured in an attempt to evade an oncoming vehicle, you can still pursue a claim for damages.  The most important part of this type of claim is making sure the driver of the vehicle is identified and witnesses confirm the events supporting the pedestrian.

Consult an Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney About Your Pedestrian Accident Case

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, the knowledgeable injury recovery professionals with the Inland Empire Law Group can review your case, conduct a thorough investigation, and help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.

 

David Ricks
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Rancho Cucamonga Car Accident Attorney and Victorville CA Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Inland Empire