The cases of pedestrian injury and vehicle hit-and-run are on the increase. The number is so high that the Los Angeles Times puts the grim figures at about 20,000 annually. That means as a pedestrian, there are high chances that you may end up injured by unleashed dogs, cars, or even bikes. If there isn’t protection between you and the ground, a minor hit may lead to severe injuries, including broken, torn ligaments, knee or leg injury, internal bleeding, nerve damage, or injuries to the spine.
If you or your loved one has been injured by an unleashed dog, car or bike while walking down the street, sidewalk, across a crosswalk, you might be entitled to compensation for all injuries incurred. If you have been injured by a vehicle while walking down a sidewalk, street, across a crosswalk, or another roadway, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.
Thankfully, there is hope for you. The LA Personal Injury Law Firm has curved-out a reputation as one of the best injury law attorneys in Los Angeles. Our team of experienced attorneys has helped recover hundreds of thousands in payments to personal injury claims in Los Angeles.
Background to California Pedestrian Injury Law
It is unlawful under California for the driver not to give way at a pedestrian crossing. Under Vehicle Code 21950(a), the driver should:
“…give way to pedestrians: crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.”
Vehicle Code 21663, on the other hand, lays down the special rules geared at protecting pedestrians crossing streets to avoid cases of pedestrian knockdown. If by any chance, a pedestrian is hit by a car, bicycle, or even a stray dog, you can file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident.
Some of the compensation for the damages includes:
- Lost payments or wages.
- Clearance of medical bills.
- Suffering and pain you underwent
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Future medical costs
What You Need to Do If You Get Hit by a Car in Los Angeles
If you are hit by a motor vehicle in a parking lot, crosswalk, in the street, or even on the road, you need to seek compensation. If a reckless or negligent driver injures you, you can sue them for damages under California's negligence laws.
For you to recover damages after an accident, you, your attorney or surviving family members must prove several things before the court:
To recover damages after an accident, the accident victim or surviving family members generally need to show the driver was negligent.
This involves showing:
- That the driver in question owed you a duty of care as stipulated under California Civil Code section 1714(a)
- The said driver acted in contravention to the statute through sheer negligence
- That the death or injury caused was as a result of negligence
Under the California State law, drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists and drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road. Different actions constitute negligence, including distracted driving, traffic violations, among others.
VC 21960 requires drivers to give way to pedestrians at an intersection or any marked crosswalk. Again, the code makes it illegal for drivers to drive in areas dedicated to pedestrians (safety zones). But, even if the incident happened in other areas other than the crosswalk, the driver still won’t be let off the hook. If the pedestrian is injured anywhere else as a result of negligence, the motorist will be liable for the injuries caused.
There are other causes of driver negligence that may result in pedestrian injuries:
- Failure to yield
- Running a stop sign
- Texting and driving
- Running a stop sign
- DUI driving
- Hitting another driver in the break-down line.
- Driving around a stopped school bus.
In case you sustain an injury in the street, crosswalk, promptly contact a qualified catastrophic injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Don’t rush to contact the motorist’s insurance company.
Why is it important? When you contact the insurance company first, they might not give you full compensation with regard to the severity of injuries. Insurance firms will try as much as possible to pay the lowest fee in compensation. Hiring an experienced and aggressive attorney will take up the case for you and ensure that the firms won’t take advantage of you.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Resulting From Pedestrian Injuries?
If you usually walk through a parking lot, sidewalks, and crosswalks and anywhere in public, there are high chances that you may be involved in a pedestrian accident. Most of the injuries depend on the type of incident, the circumstances around the incident, and the location of the accident. A simple fall could lead to severe back, neck, or head injuries.
Some of the injuries that might result from the accident include:
- Broken bones
- Facial trauma
- Bruises, cuts, and lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Brain injuries
While anyone can be injured, some people like children and the elderly.
When is the Best Time to File a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
If you are injured at a pedestrian crossing, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you think that the injuries you sustained are minor, make sure you have sought medical attention. However, you have to note that there are time limits as to when you can file your claims after the knockdown incident.
According to California State’s Statute of Limitations regarding personal injury law, you need to fill out a claim within a specified amount of time. Their limitations depend on whether you are filing a claim against someone or a government agency:
- Filing claims against government agencies – Claims against the government must be filed within six (6) months. But there are times when these claims can be denied. If the government agency rejects your application, you may submit it in court. However, before you sue a government agency, you will need to file a special claim with the government agency(administrative claim ) before submitting your claim in the court.
- Personal injury - You have a period of not more than two years to file your personal injury claims. However, if the injury was not discovered right away, then it is a year after the date of discovery. But, other incidents that tend to murder are treated differently. That means they won’t carry any statute of limitations period.
If you are not sure how to get started, take your time and review Code sections: 905 and section 911.2. You can also hire an excellent attorney who understands the intricacies involved when filing such claims.
NOTE: Failure to file the claim within the stipulated period means renders the claims invalid because the statute of limitations with regard to that particular case has “run out.”
What Are Other Non-Vehicular Pedestrian Accidents in Los Angeles
Motor hits cause most of the serious or fatal pedestrian injuries. However, other incidents result from other causes. Some of the other accidents that would result in pedestrian knockdowns include uncontrolled dog, a jogger on the sidewalk, bikes, among others.
When a Bike Knocks You Over
There are times when bikes may be hazardous for pedestrians on the sidewalk. Under California State law, biking policies are different for different cities. Biking in some cities might be a violation but perfectly legal in other cities but still under the same state. For instance, biking on the sidewalk is legal under Los Angeles City.
But there is a condition – A driver must not drive in a way that gets them in the way of pedestrians with utter disregard for their safety.
In case you are injured by a cyclist while walking on a sidewalk in California, you can still sue them for damages. But you must prove the following:
- The mistake (negligence) of the cyclist. For example, was the cyclist disregarding the safety of pedestrians? Was he/she riding too fast?
- Was he/she riding in contravention of Code 56.15 of the Los Angeles “willful disregard of pedestrian safety”? There are times when cyclists deliberately jump pedestrians’ feet (yes, there are such nasty people) or any other action that is deemed “negligent per se” according to the law.
But in cases where biking is illegal on the sidewalks, anyone riding on the sidewalks would be doing it against the law if they hit you or your loved one while on the sidewalk, they are liable to injuries caused. Under such situations, the statute will treat the bicycling as “negligence per se.”
When a Reckless Jogger Knocks You Over
Most people in Los Angeles Municipality prefer exercising on the sidewalks to avoid the busy streets. While most of these runners are willingly sharing the narrow sidewalks, there are other nasty, inconsiderate, or outrightly reckless people that might knock you over. The joggers are running at high speed. If they hit you, they could easily knock you into the street (where a car might run over you) or knock you over on to the ground resulting in an injury.
When Unleashed Dog Injures You or Your Loved One
Dogs are good. But if you don’t have reasonable control over your pup, it may hurt people and cause them injuries. As a result, you might be liable for serious injuries or accidents. There are times when aggressive dogs on the loose can also charge at pedestrians. The case might cause them to fall and suffer injuries. There are other cases where large dogs may jump on children resulting in injuries.
According to California State law, dog owners are responsible for “what their dogs do.” If an unleashed dog knocks you over, resulting in injuries, all they need to do is to prove “their act of negligence.” You need to prove that the owner should have known the threat posed to the pedestrian by the dog.
You also need to prove that the owner did not take reasonable steps to prevent such ugly situations. There are other situations where the dog could be violating state law. As a result, the dog owner is liable to the state’s negligence "per se" law. One way a dog owner can act in contravention of this law is by letting the dog go unrestrained in a prohibited area.
When the Car, Truck or Bus is Driving Close to the Sidewalk
There are times when a bus comes close to the sidewalk. For example, when a bus pulls up at a bus stop. In such cases, mirrors may hit people walking on the sidewalk leading to injuries. If a truck mirror hits you because the driver isn’t not paying sufficient attention, you may sue them for damages.
What If You Meet Obnoxious Groups Who Won’t Share a Sidewalk
While most people are cautious enough to give way for other people on the sidewalk, there is still a bunch of nasty people who won’t budge. That could be a group of youngsters trying to act tough and not willing to yield and let other pedestrians pass.
If such a group knocks you or your loved one over, they will be liable for injuries incurred. But the bulk of proof (whether they acted in negligence or not rests entirely on the determination of the jury). If the jury determines that the group failed to give way, and then will be deemed to have violated their duty of care. As a result, you will recover damages.
What Do You Need to Do if You are Knocked Over in Los Angeles?
If you are knocked over while in Los Angeles, make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are injured or feel something not okay, call 911 immediately. If you can’t call them, have someone do it for you. Most people make the mistake of assuming they are okay only to develop serious issues later. Even low impact falls, back trauma, head or neck injuries, however, how minor you think they need to be evaluated by a qualified doctor.
There are many cases where people walk away after an accident because they felt ‘okay” only to be unable to walk out of bed the following day. If you sustain spinal cord and brain injuries, failure to seek medical advice might lead to serious consequences later. Besides, make sure you have gathered as much information as possible after an accident, including:
- The contact information and names of the people involved
- If there was a vehicle involved, ensure you get a driver’s license, the name of the driver's license plate information, and any other related information
- The contact information and the names of any witnesses
In case you have any photo-capable mobile device (including your mobile phone), it will be a good idea to take videos or a few photos of the scene. Also, make sure you have taken pictures of your injuries.
What If You Tripped on a Broken Sidewalk in Los Angeles?
According to California Civil Code Section 1714(a), property owners are required to keep their property under reasonably safe conditions. That means when pedestrians trip and fall on an icy surface or broken sidewalk in Los Angeles. The property owner may, according to law, be liable for your injuries.
How can you prove that the owner of the premises is liable for the tipping?
- The defendant owned the premises/property
- He/she controlled, occupied, or even owned the premises
- That you were harmed as a result of their negligence
- That he/she was negligent with regard to the maintenance and use of the property
Pedestrian Knockdown Damages Available in Los Angeles
There are different damages available that you can claim if you or your loved one is injured or dies as a result of the injury. Some of the damages you can claim include:
- Counseling fees
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages and earnings
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Any lost earning capacity
- Suffering and pain incurred
- Lost limbs
- Disfigurement or scarring
In case you incur one or more of the above damages, you may sue for compensatory damages. The compensation is intended to put you back into the position that you would otherwise have been if the injury/accident had not occurred.
If, for example, the accident leads to loss of limb or death of a spouse, you may file for compensation for “loss of consortium.” Loss of consortium implies a loss of intimacy, support, or companionship between domestic partners or spouses.
What if the person that caused the injury acted in outrageous or extreme conduct, you may sue for punitive damages. These cases are rare. At times, they may involve cases where the driver was on a deliberate “mission” to hit you or your loved one.
What If the Defendant Blames You For the Fall?
There are times when the driver may blame you for the incident. The driver might claim that during the time of the injury, you were not in the crosswalk. That implies that it was your fault that you got hit by the car. But, the fact that you were not in the crosswalk doesn’t mean that the driver wasn’t negligent. However, just like the driver, you also need to exercise due care (“duty to use”) when you are using the road for your safety.
The truth is after the accident, each side will trade blame games, and no one would want to admit fault.
NOTE: Do not be quick to admit fault. Sometimes, ‘fault’ may not be evident. That is especially so if you don’t know what might have gone wrong. Admitting fault could make you part with huge sums to foot your medical expenses. You might also be required to pay for the driver’s damages.
California’s “comparative fault” law allows you to recover damages even in cases where you are partly at fault. Again, if more than one person is sharing in the fault, the jury might apportion the blame. As a result, you might end up having the damages cut down.
When Your Spouse or Child is Killed in Pedestrian Accident?
There are times when pedestrian injuries may result in fatalities. In such cases, the victims are not in a position to report the incident or file a lawsuit. However, California State law allows the surviving family members to file a lawsuit for any wrongful death. That way, the family members can seek compensation for damages after the wrongful death.
Some of the compensations include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost financial earnings that the loved one would have made if they were alive
- Loss of support and companionship (spouse and kids) for the family members
However, not everyone can file a wrongful death claim under California law. The only surviving family members that can file a claim include:
- A spouse
- A domestic partner
- Anyone else apart from an immediate family member who is entitled to deceased property according to California State laws
What Is a “Survival” Cause of Action?
What if the deceased owned estates? Under the California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30, the estate can sue for compensation for damages incurred as a result of the death and on behalf of the victim’s estate. Filing claims for damages incurred as a result of the wrongful death is akin to triggering “a survival cause of action” the statute.
Hire the Best Los Angeles Injury Law Attorney Near You
Have you or your loved one been injured in an accident and want to file a claim for compensation? Don’t hesitate to contact The LA Personal Injury Law Firm for reliable legal assistance. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have helped thousands of clients in Los Angeles not only heal but also rebuild their life after an injury. We understand that it is difficult for an untrained eye to wade through the murky waters of personal injury law. If you are not sure where to get started, contact us at 310-935-0089 for a free consultation. We will be glad to help you.