Most pedestrian accidents involve a vehicle hitting pedestrians as they cross or walk along the road. The forceful impact, especially since most cars are moving at high speeds, usually results in devastating injuries to the pedestrian. Pedestrian accidents also result in fatalities. A pedestrian can die on the spot following the accident or later due to the injuries they sustained. The cost of treating the injuries is often high, besides the interruption of your everyday life.
Fortunately, the state of California compensation laws allows pedestrians to receive compensation for their injuries and other damages from the at-fault party. Although pedestrians can share responsibility for the accident, most of these accidents are the fault of motorists. You want enough time for treatment to recover from your injuries. So, you should enlist the help of a car accident attorney like the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney for professional and expert legal help in seeking compensation.
Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians, when knocked down, can sustain various kinds of injuries. Some of them are significant, while others may be minor. The severity of the injuries depends on the impact or the force of the accident. The age of the victim also contributes to the severity of the injuries sustained. Some of the injuries you can sustain if you are knocked down include:
Broken and Fractured Bones
The forceful impact of an accident hits directly at you. As a pedestrian, you have no protective clothing or cover, and none is expected of you. The effect of a vehicle on you can result in broken or fractured bones. You can sustain a broken or fractured bone on one part of your body, although most pedestrians sustain multiple breakages or fractures. For instance, a pedestrian can break their leg, arm, ribs, or shoulders or even fracture most of them simultaneously.
Some of these injuries may require surgery to the broken bone. The recovery period can also be extended, making you miss on gainful employment and inconveniencing your life. The cost of treating these injuries and the medical procedures involved are compensable in California.
Disfigurement in your Body
Some injuries result in disfigurement of you as a pedestrian. Depending on how forceful the impact was and where you were hit, you may suffer disfigurement. For instance, you can lose a body party like a leg or an arm during the accident. This is a type of disfigurement because it changes your natural look to a different one less desirable. Although you cannot quantify the value of a lost body part, the loss is somehow calculated and compensated.
Disfigurement can also be as a result of an injury that leaves you with a permanent disability. An injury can leave you with a permanent limb or altering your overall look. The impact on your face can also be forceful enough to change how you appear. These types of injuries may require that you do reconstructive surgery to try and restore your natural looks. The cost of the procedure is compensable to you under the compensation laws of California.
Your head is one of the most delicate body parts, which, when injured, can result in lasting disabilities. A pedestrian does not wear a helmet when walking to protect their head from possible injuries. Equally, the law does not require pedestrians to wear protective clothing that can minimize an accident's impact on their bodies.
When you are hit by a fast-moving vehicle, you are likely to be knocked down, and your head crashes against the hard road or the car's body. The impact on your head is often devastating resulting in catastrophic injury. Your skull can crack or break, or your brain can become injured. An injury to your head can also cause bleeding into your brain, which is dangerous to your wellbeing.
Most pedestrians that sustain head injuries suffer through them for an extended period. The injuries can leave you with a permanent disability or a vegetative state. The head injuries can result in you requiring medical care for the rest of your life and losing your ability to earn a living. The damages as a result of your head injury are compensable by the at-fault party.
Neck and Back Injuries
Injuries to your neck or back can be catastrophic. Your back through the neck is where your nerves pass that communicates with the brain for various bodily functions. When you sustain injuries to your back or neck, it can result in your paralysis. Paralysis means losing the functioning of a body part. A pedestrian accident hurting your back can cause you to become permanently or partially paralyzed.
Neck and back injuries often result in you losing the feeling and functioning of your lower body or parts of your body, and sometimes, paralysis from the neck down. If you are partially paralyzed, you may be confined in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. Partial paralysis can also mean you can lose feeling in a small part of your body like one of your arms or legs. Permanent paralysis is typically from the neck down. This type of paralysis will require lifelong and total care because you cannot do anything for yourself.
The damage to your body and financial costs to care for these injuries is hefty. Fortunately, with the help of your injury attorney, you can pursue monetary compensation to help with the bills.
Injuries to your internal organs are often devastating and cause death in many pedestrians if not treated immediately. These injuries are not apparent, yet they can hurt your internal organs resulting in internal bleeding. A simple knockdown that seemingly doesn't cause apparent injuries can result in significant internal bodily harm.
Following an accident, a trip to the hospital can help establish if you have sustained these injuries. Various types of scans are carried out to determine the injuries and their extent. Treating these injuries is also not cheap and often requires a surgical procedure to repair the damaged organs and stop the bleeding. The healing period can also be extensive, causing you even more losses when you cannot work to earn a living.
Lost Vision and Hearing
A pedestrian accident can result in losing your vision or hearing. The impact of the accident in your head can hurt your eyes and ears to the extent that you lose their functioning. Flying objects can also puncture eyes following the accident. These injuries are catastrophic because they alter your life forever. When pursuing your damages, the permanent loss of your hearing and sight is compensable, even though you will live with your condition permanently.
Abrasions or Lacerations
These injuries are less severe because they are skin deep. Often, when the impact is not as forceful, you will sustain minor injuries to your skin. For instance, as a pedestrian, you can be knocked down by a motorcyclist or bicyclist. The impact of the crash is less forceful compared to that by a vehicle. Equally, the injuries sustained are less severe and may cost significantly less treatment than other injuries discussed.
Despite their less significant nature, these injuries result in various damages that include medical bills and lost wages, among others. Compensation for these losses is attainable to reimburse you for your losses.
Fatality or Death
Pedestrian accidents often result in the death of the victim. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, the force of the impact can result in your immediate death or death from the sustained injuries. For instance, if a truck or a bus moving at high speed knocks you down, you will likely die on the spot or later due to the injuries. If you or a loved one dies because of a pedestrian, the surviving family must be compensated for their lives.
Recovering Damages for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
California follows the comparative negligence and at-fault theories in compensating accident victims for their damages. The at-fault approach, the party responsible for the accident, carries the burden or the responsibility for the damages that follow. In most pedestrian accidents, the motorist or bicyclist that knocks down a pedestrian is often the one that is blamed for the injuries and other damages to the pedestrian. However, the law allows them to challenge the narrative if they believe they were not liable for the pedestrian accident.
Comparative negligence theory takes into consideration that fault can be shared. Although this is not common in pedestrian accidents, it does happen, as we will discuss later. Recovering damages can be straightforward, but, in most cases, can become complicated. However, your lawyer understands the compensation laws, the likely obstacles, and ways to navigate through and earn your damages.
Following the pedestrian accident, your lawyer first presents the claim for your damages to the at-fault party's insurance provider. The other party or their insurance company can readily accept liability and compensate you for the damages as requested, or give you a counteroffer that you can negotiate. Your claim can be declined in some cases, forcing you to move to the court and seek your damages.
Because of the possibility of the other party denying liability, your attorney immediately receives your case and begins to prepare for this likelihood. This preparation is critical because the findings are attached to your claim or presented in court as evidence. Some of the things your lawyer may do are:
- Investigating the crash circumstances – It is common for anyone to assume a pedestrian accident is the driver's fault. However, it is not always true. Because of the comparative negligence theory, it means that both parties can share responsibility for the accident. Fortunately, in California, even when you are partially responsible for your injuries, you can still receive damages to the percentage of your fault. Investigations are critical because if the driver were not responsible for the crash, they would not be ordered to pay damages. For instance, the brakes for the vehicle may have failed even when the driver planned to stop. In this case, the driver is not entirely responsible for your injuries, but the manufacturer or distributor of the faulty brakes can be held accountable as well.
- Document evidence – After your accident, you will incur medical expenses in treating the injuries. The treatment, doctor's report on your current and future treatments, medication cost, and medical procedures must be evidenced with documents. Your lawyer understands how critical this is to have all the documentary evidence ready as they pursue your damages.
- Expert input – Causes of accidents are not always obvious. Your lawyer understands the importance of presenting a solid case in court or before the insurance company. For this reason, they work with experts in ensuring that they have a solid chance to earn your damages. Experts, in this case, may include medical doctors and accident reconstruction experts.
- Gathering evidence on driver negligence – When you sue the driver for damages, your lawyer must determine their negligence by proving it in court. Because of this, your lawyer has the mandate to gather evidence supporting this prevail in your case.
- Documenting your other losses – The damages you sustain following your pedestrian accident are more than medical costs. You may miss out on wages because you stay home or at the hospital recovering, or you may lose your ability to work. All these losses must be claimed for, and documents supporting your claim obtained. Your lawyer understands this ensures to have all the needed documents to present to the insurance provider or use them as evidence in court.
- Filing a Petition or lawsuit – Your lawyer can petition the court for your damages. However, a claim begins with the insurance provider. If the insurance company declines your request or offers you below your expectations and refuses to adjust, you can seek the court's help to receive your damages. In this case, your lawyer has the responsibility of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party for your damages.
What Must be Determined to Receive Pedestrian Accident Injuries Compensation
It is typical for conclusions to be made that a motorist is always at fault when they hit a pedestrian. Pedestrian accidents hardly result in the vehicle occupants sustaining injuries unless the vehicle after hitting them rolls over. Due to this, most people are misguided into believing the fault is always the driver. However, even when it is the motorist's fault for the accident, you must prove it to the court if you file a petition.
When your lawyer sues the driver for your damages, they must determine negligence, which led to the pedestrian accident. In a lawsuit, your lawyer has the burden to prove the elements or aspects of negligence to receive your damages. These facts of the accident include:
The Driver Owed you a Duty of Care
According to this, your lawyer must prove that the driver owed you safe driving. For instance, if you were crossing at a crosswalk, you had a right to be there, and the driver owed you care by stopping and letting you cross.
The Driver Violated the Duty of Care
Under this element, a driver is mandated with the responsibility of safe driving. If the driver's behavior was negligent, your lawyer must determine this in court, resulting in the accident. For instance, the driver was texting as they drove, was drunk, jumped alight, failed to stop at a crosswalk, or was speeding. All these are negligent behaviors that can result in an accident. The police report or a finding by accident experts can help prove the driver's negligence in violating their duty of care to you.
The Negligence of the Driver is the Reason for your Injuries
Your attorney must also show the court that the driver's negligent behavior is why the accident occurred and sustained injuries. Under this element, proving the driver was operating their vehicle negligently is not sufficient to earn you damages. The court must be shown that the driver's negligent conduct is the express reason for your injuries and damages.
You Suffered Injuries
As a pedestrian, you can only claim damages if you sustained injuries from the accident. Proving injuries is relatively more straightforward in a pedestrian accident. Photos of the injuries, a comprehensive report from the doctor or hospital, and the police report are sufficient in showing your injuries.
Available Damages after Sustaining Pedestrian Accident Injuries
If you sustain injuries from a pedestrian accident, the financial damages are often hefty because pedestrian accidents result in significant injuries. As earlier discussed, a pedestrian can recover damages from the injuries by submitting their claim to the at-fault party or petitioning the court for them.
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, or a loved one is, the damages you would recover are:
- Medical bills – When an accident is not your fault, it is not fair to cause you financial damages incurred as you seek treatment. The cost of treatment depends on the extent of your injuries. Some injuries may be healed presently, while others may require extended medical care. Equally, various medical procedures may be necessary for your treatment as well as medical equipment. The cost of all these, including your medication, is compensable in California to a pedestrian.
- Lost wages – Another loss that you will incur is lost wages. This applies to individuals engaged in gainful employment or business. During your recovery period, you will miss work and lose earnings for the days missed. According to the law, it is only fair to reimburse you for the income you would have earned if you were at work instead of being in a hospital or home recovering.
- Lost earning capacity – Earlier, we discussed most pedestrian injuries being catastrophic. This means that some injuries can leave you in a vegetative state, paralyzed or incapable of working again. As a result, you cannot support yourself because you earn no money. Fortunately, should your pedestrian accident result in this, you can recover the income you would have gained throughout your productive life.
- Other Expenses Due to the Accident – Besides the obvious expenses, you can sustain additional costs due to the injuries. For instance, if you use a cab to go to the hospital or for physiotherapy, that is a cost, you would otherwise not have incurred. But because of your injuries, you must incur it to allow your recovery. This cost, among other related ones, is also compensable in California.
- Pain and suffering – When you sustain injuries as a pedestrian, compensation law understands that you will suffer through pain from the injuries and suffering. Although this cost is not quantifiable, the jury can award it to you, depending on the other quantifiable damages or injuries.
- Wrongful death – If you die or a loved one is killed in a pedestrian accident, the surviving family earns compensation for their death. Various factors are considered when calculating the value of the deceased.
- Funeral and burial expenses – Death results in other costs to the family. The cost of burying their loved ones is compensable under the compensation laws.
- Mental anguish – When you were okay, and your bodily functions were in order, a pedestrian accident can change all that. When injuries alter your life, and you must adjust to a new way of life, it can be emotionally draining. The mental anguish you go through may require counseling or therapy. The law allows for compensation for mental distress to help you accept the new reality.
- Disfigurement – One of the injuries you can sustain is disfigurement. This is the kind of injury where you can lose part of your body like the limb. Although the value of your lost limb is not quantifiable, various considerations are taken to come up with suitable compensation for the loss.
- Loss of consortium – This type of damage is available to your partner or spouse. Following your pedestrian accident, you may never provide the affection or love to your partner like you did previously. In this case, your spouse or partner can petition to earn compensation for the lost affection.
Find a Car Accident Attorney Near Me
Injuries from a pedestrian accident are some of the worst. Most of them require hefty amounts in treatment and often leave the victim's lives permanently altered. Despite the damages you may suffer due to the injuries, the party responsible may not be as willing to pay your damages and find a way to blame you. You can contact the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney at 424-237-3600 so that we can help you seek a favorable compensation.