Los Angeles is one of the most congested cities in California, meaning that there is a high number of pedestrians on the road each day. California Vehicle Code Section 21950 obliges drivers to be careful when approaching pedestrians and to give way to them at the crosswalk. However, some motorists put the focus on other drivers and thus breach their duty of care towards the pedestrian. If you or your loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident from the negligence of a motorist, contact an attorney from The LA Personal Injury Law Firm. We serve clients throughout Los Angeles, California, to guide you in the legal process of acquiring compensation for your injuries.
Overview of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are very common, and in most cases, these accidents are as a result of the motorist’s negligence. However, this does not mean that the pedestrian is free from blame. Most drivers find it difficult to operate vehicles in areas with many pedestrians properly. Some of how drivers can cause pedestrian accidents to include:
- Failing to yield right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks. Under California Vehicle Code 21960, the driver must yield the right of way to pedestrians at any marked intersection. Also, it makes it illegal to drive in safety zones.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- Distracted driving which results from using mobile phones or eating while driving
- Running a stop sign or a red light
- Over speeding
- Driving while fatigued which impairs the driver’s vision.
Although most pedestrian accidents are vehicle-related, not all accidents will result from driver negligence. There are other incidents where the pedestrian could get knocked to the ground resulting in severe injuries. Other pedestrian accidents in California include
- Biking on the sidewalk - For pedestrians, bicycles on the sidewalks may be hazardous. If a cyclist acts in negligence and causes an accident, they will be held liable for your injuries even if cycling is legal.
- Runners and joggers could knockdown children the sidewalks - Many people in California use paths as grounds for exercising. The speed they run is enough to knock down a pedestrian and cause injury
- An uncontrolled dog knocks a pedestrian over - Dog owners who have no control of these animals can get sued for the injuries caused by these pets. Large dogs can knock down children and cause serious injuries.
- A Passenger opening doors of parked vehicles - Open car doors are likely to protrude from the parking to the pathways and can cause trip and fall accidents for pedestrians.
- Cars that are wrongly parked could move and hit someone in the absence of the driver.
If you are injured because of the negligence from the other person, you have a right to file a personal injury claim. A successful claim will see you get compensation for the injuries you or your loved one has suffered.
Common injuries sustained in Pedestrian Accidents
Vehicles are made of heavy materials, and even at slow speed, the force involved is enough to cause severe damage to your fragile body. If you survive a pedestrian accident, you are likely to sustain injuries such as;
- Pelvis Injury - When you are hit by a vehicle, the first impact will occur around the pelvis and waist area, this could lead to bone fractures in the , the broken bones will take a long time to heal, depending on the severity of the fractures. This will hinder you from carrying out your normal activities.
- Internal organ damage - When a pedestrian accident occurs, your whole body will have an impact on the vehicle. There is a chance that you will sustain internal injuries such as rib fractures and internal bleeding. If not checked and attended to immediately, internal bleeding could lead to death.
- Head Trauma - When an accident occurs, the pedestrian does not have anything to protect themselves and may end up sustaining traumatic brain injuries. Anytime the brain is involved in a collision, the stakes of injury are quite high. No matter how small, brain injuries must be addressed immediately. Traumatic brain injuries may hurt your life, especially if they are permanent.
- Spinal cord injuries - Impact from a pedestrian accident will put pressure on your spinal cord and can cause severe damage. Injuries which occur higher on your spinal cord are often more severe and will result in loss of bodily function. Spinal injuries may cause paralysis of the legs, arms, and torso, which are often irreparable. Losing the complete functionality of your limb will significantly affect your life.
- Lacerations - While most people suffer scrapes and cuts from all sorts of accidents each day, lacerations are much more severe, and even after treatment, it can lead to complications. Most cuts will affect just the outer layer of the skin, but tears damage all layers of your skin and can be very painful. During a pedestrian accident, you may get knocked down by the vehicle and get cut by objects on the roadside. Alternatively, you may suffer lacerations from glass or other parts of the car.
- Amputation injuries - If you suffer fractured ones on the limbs accompanied by severe damage to the blood vessels and tissues, you may end up with an amputation. This could either occur at the accident scene or later when the doctors see no possibility of saving the limb.
Recovering from such severe injuries may take a long time, and you could end up with permanent disabilities. Other than the physical injuries, you are likely to suffer psychological trauma, which inhibits your ability to enjoy your life. All this may bring hefty financial expenses as a result of another person’s negligence. If you are in such a situation, you will want to seek compensation from the liable party.
What Should I do if I was a Pedestrian Injured in a Car Accident?
If you are knocked over while walking on the streets of California, the most important thing is first to seek medical attention. Even when you do not notice an apparent physical injury, you should get checked to ensure you do or have some internal injuries. After a pedestrian accident, you need to gather as much information as possible regarding the nature of the accident. Information that could be of significant importance in your injury claim include:
- The name and contact information of all parties involved in the accident
- Names and contact information of witnesses who are willing to testify in the personal injury claim
- If a vehicle was involved, you should get the insurance information of the driver, the plate number as well as the license information.
- Medical reports. After seeking medical attention for your injuries, it is crucial to ensure that all your injuries are documented. Your medical records are an essential piece of evidence in the compensation claim.
Also, if you have a mobile phone, it is a good idea to take photographic evidence of the accident occurrence and record the vehicle information. You should be careful what you say to the person involved in the accident. This is because they can use the words of apology to blame you for the accident. You should also avoid dealing with the insurance personnel on your own but allow your attorney to negotiate your situation.
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section335.1, you have two years to file a compensation claim against those who are liable for your pedestrian accident. Filing a claim after the given timeline has passed could lead to a dismissal. In numerous pedestrian accidents, defective and poorly maintained roads contribute towards the accident occurrence. In this case, the government agency responsible for road maintenance will be held liable for your injuries. According to Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury claim filed against a public entity must be made within six months after the occurrence.
Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Case
Liability has to be proven to establish who is responsible for the accident To get compensation for a pedestrian accident. There are three main areas of liability in a pedestrian car accident, including:
Most pedestrian accidents on the streets of Los Angeles result from driver negligence or misconduct. Such motorists will get prosecuted for different forms. In extreme cases where death resulted from the accident, the driver will face criminal charges besides the civil personal injury lawsuit.
In pedestrian accidents, liability for the accident is not automatic. As a pedestrian, you must act responsibly by following all traffic rules. Therefore, you must make a reasonable observation of the traffic conditions before crossing. If the pedestrian acts carelessly by suddenly jumping in front of a moving car, it is unlikely that the driver will be held liable for the injuries.
There are situations in which the accident and injuries suffered by the pedestrian are not the drivers or the pedestrian’s fault. The weather may play a significant role in the accident by hindering the driver’s vision. During rainy seasons, the road could get slippery, making it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle. If you or your loved one suffered significant injuries in a pedestrian accident, it is crucial to consult a personal injury attorney.
If you are hit by a car in a crosswalk, parking lot, or even the road, you may be able to seek compensation. Under California negligence law, the driver or motorist may be liable for your injuries if the accident resulted from their negligence. To have a solid lawsuit, you are required to prove the following elements of negligence;
- Duty of care. A duty of care is the responsibility of the driver has to ensure your safety on the road, by being careful while operating a motor vehicle.
- Reach of duty. Your attorney should be able to show that the driver reached the responsibility they had by acting in negligence. Generally, drivers owe a duty of care to all other road users. You can prove driver negligence by demonstrating traffic violations.
- You must also show that the driver's negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injuries or death
After a pedestrian accident, the fault is not always apparent. If the driver blames you, you should not accept the liability. Admitting you played a role in the accident will reduce the overall amount you will get as compensation in your injury claim. However, if it is determined in court that you were partly liable for the accident, you can recover some damages which equal the other driver’s liability to your injuries
Potential Compensation Benefits in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
After filing a personal injury lawsuit, you will mostly not know the exact amount you get as compensation. Here are some of the critical factors that will influence the settlement you expect to receive after a successful personal injury claim:
- The severity of your injuries - Hard injuries are likely to fetch larger settlements
- The nature and extent of your medical requirements - If your injuries require specialized care, you may get higher compensation benefits.
- The amount of time needed to recover - As you nurse your injuries, you are likely to miss work.
- The prospects of full recovery - Long term and permanent injuries will get a larger settlement
- Impact of the injuries to your daily life
All these factors will be carefully evaluated and considered in determining the value of your pedestrian accident claim.
For pedestrian accident claims, there are two types of possible compensation benefits the compensation is for economic and non-economic damages. The benefits you will receive in a pedestrian accident personal injury claim include:
Pedestrian accidents are often fatal. If you survive the crash, you are likely to suffer severe injuries to your body. Some of the injuries could take a long time, and others are permanent. After such accidents, you will need to seek medical attention. A successful personal injury claim will see you get compensation for medical expenses in your treatment. The medical benefits will cater to the present costs as well as the future bills you have to pay for medical complications associated with the accident.
The injuries you suffer from a pedestrian accident may hinder you from going to work or carrying out your daily income-generating activities. You are entitled to reimbursement from the individual responsible for your injuries to recover the income you lost during the time you were nursing your injuries. The compensation will include income lost for the inability to work as well as what you were unable to ear during the time you spent in the hospital.
The right to get compensation for lost wages will apply to you whether you have a full-time or part-time job. Even when you take sick leave or vacation pay for the time missed, you are still entitled to compensation. This is because you would have used the vacation to do something else; therefore using sick leave or vacation pay is considered losing pay.
Besides the time lost from work, you are entitled to compensation for work opportunities you suffered as a result of your injuries. Although you cannot show the exact value of the chance you missed, including it in your claim could up your benefits.
Pain and Suffering
The fact that you are given medication to relieve pain or any other symptom of injury may be good enough to convince the insurance adjuster that the injuries are serious. The stronger the medicine you get, the higher the settlement. This because a potent drug means you suffered more pain. Medical records are very crucial when seeking compensation for pain and suffering. The doctor will indicate the type of injury you suffered, and the progress will show the amount of time you require to recover from these injuries.
To ensure you have sufficient evidence to get full compensation, you should make you’re your physician makes a full report of any pain or discomfort you feel. If the pain from the pedestrian accident injuries is hindering your ability to lead a normal life, ensure you note down the daily activities that you are unable to do.
A pedestrian personal injury claim will involve negotiating with the insurance company for compensation. If the driver is held responsible for your injuries, their insurer is liable for covering the full cost of your injuries. However, you may face a massive insurance company that intends to limit these benefits. If you want a better chance at receiving maximum benefits for your injuries in a pedestrian accident, you should seek guidance from a personal injury attorney.
Pedestrian Accident Wrongful Death
In extreme cases, pedestrian accidents may lead to the wrongful death of your loved one. If this happens, you will be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible for your loss. The victim who passed away cannot be able to file the suit against the liable party. However, the surviving family will seek compensation. The only family members who are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California:
- A spouse of the deceased party
- A domestic partner
- Surviving biological or legally adopted children of the deceased
- Grandchildren of the deceased if the children are deceased
- Any other person who is legally entitled to the property of the decedent by California Succession law
If your loved one succumbs to the injuries of a pedestrian accident a wrongful death lawsuit will help you seek damages to cover
- Burial, funeral expenses as well as outstanding medical bills left by the deceased before they died
- Financial earnings that the deceased would have brought to the family if they were still alive
- Compensation for loss of consortium. This is the companionship and support the deceased would have offered to you and other family members.
Pedestrian Accidents FAQ
- Who is at a greater risk of pedestrian accidents?
Any person walking or cycling on the streets of California is vulnerable to a pedestrian accident. However, some groups of individuals may be at a greater risk of serious bodily injury. Young children, older adults, as well as disabled individuals, are slow to react to situations and may not be able to evade an oncoming vehicle.
- Are bicyclists considered pedestrians?
Yes. Although most people may not be aware of this fact, bicyclists are considered pedestrians in California. This group of individuals is likely to get knocked down by a moving vehicle or even a wrongly parked truck on the side of the road. However, if a bicyclist causes an accident where another pedestrian suffered substantial injuries, they can get sued for compensation.
- Will I receive compensation if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Yes. With the help of a personal injury attorney, compensation may still be available even when you were partially responsible for the pedestrian accident, which resulted in your injuries. California allows a comparative fault scenario; therefore, you will recover damages that equal the percentage of fault for the other driver.
The law mandates that more exceptional care must be exercised to protect young children on the road. This is because their conduct is unpredictable, and the motor vehicle operator should act in anticipation of their impulsiveness. The presence of children is an indicator of the motorist that care is needed. Therefore, it is rare to have shared fault with an injured child unless the child jumped in front of the vehicle in a way that you weren’t able to stop.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Pedestrian accidents are often very fatal. This is because the impact happens between your body and the heavy metals of vehicles. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, you could suffer life-changing injuries, which will also leave you traumatized. Therefore, you should seek legal representation from The LA Personal Injury Law Firm when filing a personal injury claim. Our team of competent attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you obtain the maximum possible benefits for the injuries you suffered in the accident. If you are in Los Angeles, you will need us in your corner. Call our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer today at 310-935-0089 and schedule a consultation today.