Walking is a popular mode of transportation that can save money, spare the environment, and serve as healthy exercise. Unfortunately, for all of its benefits, walking isn't always safe. Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise all across the United States in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 5,400 pedestrians were killed—and almost 129,000 were injured—in vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes in 2015 alone. Sadly, the number of pedestrians injured or killed in these accidents has only continued to grow in the years since.
Pedestrian accidents are an everyday occurrence in California. The state reported more than 350 pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2017 alone, earning it the unenviable ranking of 15th in the nation for pedestrian deaths.
If you were injured—or lost a loved one—in a California pedestrian accident caused by another person or entity's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Here's what you need to know about common pedestrian accident causes before taking legal action.
Pedestrian Accident Causes
Negligence is a common factor in pedestrian accident cases, whether that negligence is on the part of the driver or the pedestrian. That makes pedestrian accident injuries and deaths even more heartbreaking, as they're almost entirely preventable. Though most pedestrian accidents are caused by negligence, that negligence can come in many forms. Here are some of the most common negligence-related causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while drowsy
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Driving unsafely for current weather, road conditions, or traffic conditions
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to signal while turning
- Aggressive driving
Who's Most at Risk for Involvement in a Pedestrian Accident?
Decades of research into pedestrian accidents have revealed certain demographics more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident. According to the CDC, these at-risk groups include:
- Pedestrians age 65 and older
- Children, particularly those under the age of 15
- Alcohol-impaired drivers and pedestrians
Additionally, research shows that most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas at night, when visibility is greatly reduced.
Potential Damages in Pedestrian Accident Cases
Pedestrian accident victims may be seriously injured, require extensive medical treatment, and be unable to work while they wait for their injuries to heal. Unfortunately, sometimes the financial consequences of another person's negligence can only make things more painful when combined with the physical injuries. However, pedestrian accident victims in California can seek compensation for a wide range of damages including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential, if applicable
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Total disability
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
In cases where the defendant's behavior was particularly heinous, such as a repeat intoxication, pedestrian accident victims may be eligible for a third, rarely-awarded type of compensation known as punitive damages. Rather than being intended to compensate accident victims for an economic or non-economic loss, punitive damages punish the defendant and discourage similar conduct in the future.
Injured in a California Pedestrian Accident? You Need a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Lawyer With Experience Handling Pedestrian Accident Cases
After a California pedestrian accident, a lot is riding on the outcome of your personal injury case. Don't leave the outcome to chance or to an experienced lawyer. You need a skilled personal injury attorney who knows the ins and outs of California tort law. The exceptional attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can provide the experienced, competent, and aggressive representation you need when fighting for the compensation you deserve. If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, we can help. Contact the Inland Empire Law Group today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial case consultation.