The number of pedestrian accidents in California has been growing in the past. Many pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas like sidewalks, crosswalks, or on city streets. Among all road users, pedestrians are at most risk of injury or death in an accident.
Since pedestrians lack protection from the accident impact, they can sustain severe spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, or broken bones. Fortunately, California offers protection to pedestrians who suffer injuries due to a negligent road user.
If you, your spouse, or loved one is injured in a pedestrian accident, you could seek financial compensation. Guidance from a competent Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney will go a long way when seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian Accident Causes
Pedestrians are most exposed to accidents compared to other road users. This is because pedestrians make up a large percentage of people using the roads. Although many accidents are minor and do not produce life-altering injuries, some accidents are fatal.
If you or your loved one suffers serious injuries in a pedestrian accident, you have the right to seek compensation. However, before filing a claim, you must understand the cause of the accident.
There are several ways in which an accident can occur, leading to your injuries. Sometimes, vehicles collide causing you injuries. On the other hand, a motorist could be responsible for directly hitting you. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents are:
When a road accident occurs, most people are quick to blame the motorist. Although many other factors contribute to the accident, the driver is a massive contributor to the accident. Some of how driver error causes pedestrian accidents are:
- There are speed limits specific to different areas on the road. When a driver exceeds the legal speed limit, it can be challenging to stop on time and avoid hitting pedestrians or other vehicles.
- Failure to yield the right of way is dangerous. The right of way is the rule that ensures the safety of both the drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must always yield the right to pedestrians crossing the road at the crosswalk or an intersection. Also, the motorists are not allowed to stop at the crosswalk since this act would force pedestrians to walk around the car, which is detrimental to their safety. Pedestrians are not allowed to jaywalk and anyone injured while jaywalking may not be able to recover compensation. Drivers who fail to yield the right of way contribute significantly to pedestrian accidents.
- Failure to follow traffic rules. Traffic makes it clear on when to move or stop to allow pedestrians to cross the road. A driver who does not follow the traffic rules is likely to cause an accident that could significantly affect the pedestrians.
- Distracted driver. Driver distraction is one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents caused by driver error. A driver is distracted when their physical and mental concentration is off the road. A driver’s mental concentration could be taken away from the road if they are texting or using the phone while driving. The effects of distracted driving are as severe as those of drunk driving. If you can prove that a distracted driver caused the pedestrian accident in which you were injured, you can recover compensation for the injuries.
- Carelessly moving from one lane to another can be dangerous for a driver and other road users. When a vehicle moves from one lane to another at high speed, the likelihood of rolling over and causing a severe accident is high. When a car rolls over the road, it could hit pedestrians, causing severe injuries or death.
- Careless Overtaking. One of how driving errors causes pedestrian accidents is by drivers who overtake carelessly. Before overtaking, a good driver needs to think carefully about the part of the road in which they are driving, their vehicles’ speed, and the type of vehicles they are overtaking. Sometimes drivers may attempt to overtake a long vehicle like a bus or truck that requires a lot of time to do. When there is no more space to fit the vehicle, they can serve on the road’s side and hit pedestrians on the sidewalks.
Drunk Road Users
When an accident occurs between a pedestrian and a vehicle, the pedestrian is always losing end. At least 28% of all fatal accidents are caused by drunk driving. A driver is considered impaired in California if their blood alcohol content is0.08 or higher while operating on a standard driver’s license. Also, individuals whose driving conduct is significantly impaired by alcohol or drugs are treated as drunk drivers.
When a driver is drunk, their judgment and reaction time is slowed. Also, the ability to notice an obstacle to a pedestrian on the road is diminished. Drinking and driving is not only a crime in California but is also considered an act of gross negligence. Drunk drivers easily collide with other vehicles and hit obstacles on the road. When a driver is operating while impaired, they risk their lives and those of other road users.
If you suffer a pedestrian accident due to drunk driving, you have a right to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Although it is rare, drunk pedestrians could be the cause of an accident. When a pedestrian is drunk, their capacity to react to oncoming vehicles is impaired. Also, they may attempt to cross the road in the wrong sections.
Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Sometimes you are hit by a vehicle while crossing the road or walking on the streets due to poor visibility. Especially for children, the driver may not notice them quickly. Rainy and snowing weather conditions reduce the driver’s visibility on the road. When drivers cannot see clearly, they are more likely to hit a pedestrian on the road.
Another way poor weather conditions can contribute to pedestrian accidents is when the rain makes roads slippery, increasing vehicles’ chances to swerve and crash into each other or onto pedestrians. Even though the driver is not responsible for bad weather, you can recover compensation to cover the accident’s essential expenses.
Multiple Vehicle Collisions
If there are more than two cars in an accident, the collision’s impact could go beyond the designated road area. It is common for pedestrians crossing the road to be involved in the crash with such an outcome. Several pedestrians could be present at the crash scene, and vehicle debris may hit them and cause serious bodily injuries.
In extreme cases where vehicles are moving at high speed, a rollover accident could happen. Rollover accidents are some of the most catastrophic collisions for all involved parties. Sometimes these accidents occur on elevated highways, and the accident remains could fall on the people walking on the streets.
Vehicle Part Malfunction
When an accident occurs, most people do not understand a thing of technical causes of the accident. Malfunctioning and faulty vehicle parts contribute significantly to accidents in California. Some of the defects result from substandard manufacture or poor maintenance of the vehicle. Some of the most common mechanical failures that could result in a pedestrian accident are brake failure.
The brake system of a vehicle is very crucial, and an issue with these aspects takes away control of the vehicle from the driver. Faulty brakes make it difficult to stop the vehicle. This could cause the vehicle to hot pedestrians on the crosswalk or the streets.
Another common malfunction is a faulty steering wheel. Defective steering makes it difficult to control the vehicle and could cause the car to bend on one side, increasing the collision chances.
Poor Road Infrastructure
In places where the roads are poorly constructed, or the conditions have deteriorated, accidents are common. The presence of potholes and debris on the roads could cause a vehicle crash and harm pedestrians. When you suffer injuries from an accident caused by poor roads, you can sue the government entity responsible for constructing and maintaining the roads. Filing a claim against the government is complicated. Therefore guidance from an attorney is crucial.
Most pedestrians are confused and end up walking into the road at the wrong time. In situations where the pedestrians fail to observe traffic signs and stop moving vehicles. Drivers are expected to make an effort to stop a vehicle and avoid hitting a pedestrian. However, in extreme situations, stopping becomes difficult.
Street Events and Festivals
California is home to many people who enjoy celebrating their diverse cultures. Street festivals and events are common. While many people gather on the streets, they expose pedestrians to accidents. When people are in large groups, any alarm could cause them to scatter and hold on directly in front of fast-moving vehicles and motorcycles.
Cyclists on the Sidewalk
California law is clear that people using bicycles should strictly use the sidewalks but be careful to avoid hitting pedestrians. Although the requirements are precise, bicycle users may be negligent and end up causing severe pedestrian accidents. When a cyclist speeds up in a sloppy area, the brakes may be difficult to apply. When a cyclist crashes on obstacles in the sidewalk, the impact could extend to the pedestrians.
If you are injured in such an accident, the cyclists will be held liable for your accident and injuries. The causation extends to motorcycle riders who enjoy crisscrossing between vehicles in multiple lane highways. Even when drivers yield to the right of way for pedestrians, these motorcycle riders could be a threat.
Unsupervised Children and Pets
All schools must put a barrier close to the institution to warn motorists of children crossing the roads. The absence of such a system leaves children unsupervised and at risk of being crushed by vehicles. Sometimes children walking in groups may end up playing on the roads. When a driver is trying to avoid hitting the child in the middle of the road, they could end up crashing on the side and hitting other pedestrians.
Proving Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
When you or your loved one is involved in a pedestrian accident, you will want to understand the cause of the accident. After identifying the possible cause of your accident and injuries, you need to identify liable parties. Before you are compensated for injuries suffered in an auto accident, you need to establish liability. In California, liability for an accident is based on negligence, which has the following elements:
Duty of Care
When assessing a negligence claim, the court will consider whether the defendant owed you a duty of care. The duty of care is the responsibility that each person has to ensure they don’t harm others. While on the road, the drivers and road users owe each other a duty of care. This is by acting with reasonable care to avoid accidents. When proving liability for a pedestrian accident, you must prove that the defendant owed you the duty of care under the specific circumstances.
Breach of Duty
Owing a duty of care is not enough to prove that a person is responsible for your accident. The court will assess whether the liable parties breached their duty towards you. Breach of duty occurs when a person acts in a way that puts you in harm’s way. A person could breach their duty by drunk driving, failing to yield the right way or reckless driving.
Another element that needs to be clear when you are proving liability for a pedestrian accident is causation. The defendant’s negligence should be a significant contributing factor to the accident. Even when the other person’s conduct may not be the sole cause of your injuries, it should be substantial.
Compensation from a pedestrian accident in California is offered to victimes who suffered injuries or lost their loved ones. Injuries from an accident are not just physical. Trauma from the ordeal could cause you to suffer mental and emotional pain. When proving that the defendant is liable for the accident and your injuries, you have to show proof of injuries. This could be in the form of photographs from the scene or medical records, which indicate the severity and effect of the accident injuries.
Compensation in Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits
After identifying the cause of the accident, you can file a lawsuit against the liable party. Pedestrian accidents result in many deaths, and numerous victims suffer serious bodily injury. With guidance from a knowledgeable car accident attorney, you can recover the following benefits from a pedestrian accident claim:
Economic damages are meant to compensate a victim for losses for which a dollar value can be attached. These types of damages are awarded depending on the severity of your injuries and the amount you spent. Some of the economic damages you can recover includes:
Most pedestrian accidents leave a trail of victims with severe injuries. Most of these injuries will take a long time to heal and cause a prolonged hospital stay. Medical bills will start to accumulate as soon as the pedestrian accident occurs, and you are ferried to a health facility. Depending on the type and severity of injuries you suffered, medical expenses could take a toll on your financial life.
If you are successful in your injury claim, you can receive compensation for all costs incurred to treat your injuries. However, you may be required to produce proof of your injuries and the bills. When you seek treatment after an accident, always ensure that all your injuries and treatment are recorded. The medical records act as a crucial piece of evidence in your claim.
Injuries from a pedestrian accident may prevent you from going to work for a while. Lost wages would be the amount you would have earned if you were not involved in the accident. When you sue the parties liable for your accident, you can recover these damages.
When seeking compensation for lost wages in California, you are expected to prove the amount you lost. The easiest way to prove lost wages is by obtaining a lost wages letter from your employer. This document will include your job’s nature, the number of hours you work, and the amount you earn per hour. Sometimes it could be challenging to obtain the lost wages letter. Therefore, you could use past pay stubs and tax returns to prove the amount you lost.
If you are self-employed, obtaining your tax returns from the previous years could be an effective way to prove that the accident caused you to lose a particular amount of income.
Lost Earning Capacity
Pedestrian accidents are some of the most catastrophic collisions in which you can be involved. Some injuries from such an accident could leave you with a permanent disability, which may not allow you to normally live your life. Sometimes these accidents are so severe that you may have to depend on other people to do simple tasks like personal grooming.
Lost future earning capacity is the loss of your ability to work in the future and earn a living. It is crucial to understand that proof of a permanent injury is not required to recover this benefit. If your injuries have not recovered when the compensation is awarded, you are entitled to lose earning capacity benefits.
Mostly, on-economic damages are intended to recover losses whose money value cannot be quantified. Non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress. You do not need to suffer a physical injury for you to be emotionally distressed. The shock and trauma you undergo after being involved in a pedestrian accident are enough to cause you emotional distress. Even though the value of emotional suffering cannot be quantified, you can recover compensation in our claim.
- Loss of life enjoyment. When you suffer severe injuries that leave you partially or entirely impaired, you may not be able to enjoy your life as you used to before the accident. When seeking compensation for non-economic damages, the court could award you compensation for lost enjoyment of life.
- Pain and Suffering. When you are a victim of a pedestrian accident, you will experience a lot of pain and suffering, both physical and emotional. Monetary value cannot be attached to the physical pain you experience during the treatment of the injuries you suffer from the accident. However, you can still recover some benefits. There is no specific way the court uses to calculate the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering. However, the severity of your injuries may be a factor affecting your compensation.
Punitive damages are not awarded to you, the victim, but are compensation types intended to punish the defendant. However, punitive damages will only be awarded if the defendant’s behaviors were harmful. When you are battling a compensation claim in California, it is vital to have legal guidance by your side.
Find a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Near Me
Pedestrian accidents are common in California. The elderly and children are at an increased risk of being involved in pedestrian accidents. Most victims suffer severe bodily injuries or die due to the impact of other vehicles and other objects on the road. Should you be involved in a pedestrian accident, you need to understand the cause of your accident. This will help you determine liability for the accident and claim compensation for your injuries.
If you can identify the liable party, you could sue them. By filing a personal injury claim against the liable parties, you can recover compensation. Filing a compensation claim is complicated, especially when you are nursing severe injuries. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal guidance and representation from Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney. If you are injured in Los Angeles, CA, contact us today at 424-237-3600 and discuss more details of your claim.