Pedestrians who get struck by automobiles are at significant risk of major injury or even death. While motorists are protected by the steel frames and other safety features of their vehicles, pedestrians are far more vulnerable.
If you’re a pedestrian who was injured by an automobile, it will be your responsibility to explain how the accident occurred. Recovering compensation therefore requires an understanding of some of the most common reasons for pedestrian accidents.
Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers represents the rights and interests of pedestrians in California who were injured because of negligent drivers. We can get started on your legal case today. Contact our pedestrian accident lawyers in Fresno now.
The Rate of Pedestrian Accidents in California
Data from the California Office of Traffic Safety indicates that pedestrian accidents are quite common in the state. In the most recent year of reporting, there were approximately 1,000 total pedestrian deaths and more than 10,000 pedestrian injuries.
California’s pedestrian fatality rate is nearly 25% higher than the national average. In fact, no other state has more pedestrian deaths on its roads and highways. Even though various local governments throughout California have implemented policies designed to make their cities safer for pedestrians, accidents involving them and automobiles remain stubbornly frequent.
Pedestrians can be injured by any type of vehicle, from bicycles and motorcycles to cars, large trucks, and buses. Obviously, the larger and heavier the vehicle, the more serious the pedestrian’s injuries will be. Since these accidents are usually caused by negligent drivers, the victims have the right to file a lawsuit to seek damages.
How Pedestrian Accidents Occur
Anytime someone is injured and wishes to take legal action to recover compensation, the burden lies with the victim to prove how the at-fault party caused the accident. For that reason, it helps to understand a few of the common causes of pedestrian accidents in California, such as:
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
It is illegal to drive while impaired, whether it is due to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication. Driving under the influence delays reaction times and makes it far more difficult to safely operate the vehicle. In some cases, bars and restaurants that serve too much alcohol can be held liable for drunk driving accidents.
Anything that takes a driver’s focus off of the road or interferes with driving can be considered a distraction. Some of the top culprits include texting while driving and other cell phone use, talking with passengers, and eating and drinking. All drivers owe a duty to pedestrians to pay attention to their driving.
Speeding can take the form of either driving over the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. For instance, during foggy or rainy weather, a driver should slow down to minimize the chances of an accident. Higher speeds increase the likelihood of a catastrophic or fatal injury to a pedestrian victim.
Some drivers don’t want to wait for pedestrians to cross the street, even at designated crosswalks. One driver may stop to wait for a pedestrian to cross, but another driver may become impatient and drive around. This is a dangerous maneuver that could easily lead to an accident.
Failure to yield
Drivers are generally required to yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street, especially at intersections, crosswalks, in parking lots, and at entrances to parking lots and driveways. It’s important for drivers to slow down and stop, wait for the pedestrian to safely cross, and then make sure no other pedestrians enter the street. Disregarding these precautions can point to driver negligence.
Who Can Be Sued For a Pedestrian Accident in California?
A number of parties may be held liable for causing a pedestrian accident, including:
- Drivers: The first place to start when determining liability is usually the driver who struck the victim, for instance because of one of the above reasons.
- Automobile manufacturer or repair shop: If the vehicle’s brakes were correctly applied but failed, this could indicate a vehicle defect, implicating the manufacturer or a repair shop.
- Bars and restaurants: Whenever a drunk driver is served too much alcohol by a bar, restaurant, or similar establishment, that business can be held liable for a pedestrian accident.
- Government entity: Many pedestrian accident cases are due to insufficient street lighting or defective crosswalk signs and signals, which are usually the responsibility of local governments.
- Private, non-motorist party: There are also cases in which private parties, like construction contractors, are responsible for blocking pedestrian access to crosswalks which then results in crashes.
Compensation For Pedestrian Accident Injuries in California
Pedestrian accident victims may seek compensation to cover the following losses, among others:
- Medical bills, including for ambulance care, hospitalization, surgery, adaptive medical equipment, physical therapy, and more
- Lost income while the victim is recovering from his or her injuries or tending to accident-related matters
- Lost future income and benefits if the victim is not able to work at the same productivity level as before the accident
- Non-economic damages (which are generally subjective in nature) such as pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of enjoyment of life
- Certain wrongful death damages if the victim dies from his or her injuries
Why Hire a California Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Having an experienced attorney is important to proving the necessary elements of a personal injury lawsuit. Our firm will investigate the circumstances surrounding your pedestrian accident to determine not only how it occurred but who may be held liable. In some cases, multiple parties may share blame, which means there are more individuals or entities who can be ordered to pay compensation.
The defendant might try to shift blame for the accident to the injured individual. That’s because in California, if the victim partially caused the wreck (for example, by running out into the street without looking), the total damages award will be reduced by the victim’s share of responsibility.
Your lawyer will challenge any attempt to place blame for the accident on you. Finally, your attorney will determine a fair amount of compensation to seek from the at-fault party and, if possible, negotiate an out-of-court settlement with that party’s insurance company.
Contact a Fresno Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers
Pedestrian accident cases are unique because of the potentially high amount of damages for which the victim may be eligible. Ultimately, if the insurance company won’t negotiate in good faith for a fair amount, we will be prepared to take your case before a jury.