Pedestrian accidents often result in gruesome injuries. This comes to no surprise as pedestrians are left vulnerable when walking on California streets. Although laws have been established to reduce pedestrian injuries or deaths, many drivers continue to ignore them. Those who are found violating California’s rules and regulations will be faced with legal repercussions.
If you were involved in a pedestrian accident and are seeking legal assistance, our qualified California pedestrian accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are readily available to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.
After a pedestrian accident, it is important to collect as much information as possible in order to build a strong personal injury claim. Below, we have created a list of essential steps you should consider following.
Negligent drivers have continued to become a common problem on California roads. Unfortunately, many drivers choose to ignore traffic laws, which has often resulted in accidents involving pedestrians. According to California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), 893 pedestrians were killed by drivers. This was a 26 percent increase compared to 2014. Furthermore, California’s pedestrian fatality rate is 25 percent higher than the national average.
In efforts to prevent pedestrian injuries or deaths, California has established a set of pedestrian right-of-way laws. According to California Vehicle Code 21950, a driver must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian in all marked and unmarked crosswalks at an intersection. Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk or intersection will likely cause the driver to bear liability for the accident.
However, the concept of “right-of-way” has left many under the assumption that pedestrians should be given the right-of-way no matter what, regardless of whether the pedestrian willingly involves themself in a dangerous situation. Circumstances like this are why some pedestrian accident cases can be challenging to deal with.
CVC 21950 also states: “No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
Per CVC 21954 (a), “every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” As it turns out, pedestrians are not always given the right-of-way. They are expected to yield the right-of-way to vehicles when they are crossing in an area that is outside of the crosswalk.
However, if a pedestrian accident does occur under this type of scenario, drivers will not be entirely blameless. The section continues by clarifying that, “the provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.” This basically indicates that if a pedestrian illegally crosses the street and a driver is given enough time to react to the pedestrian, they must slow down or stop.
These rules and regulations have confused drivers and pedestrians as they are not entirely aware of when they should be giving a right-of-way to the other. Regardless, it is always expected for both parties to behave responsibly. Drivers must follow the rules of the road, especially when a pedestrian is nearby. Pedestrians should always be aware of their surroundings and safely cross in areas where they are permitted to do so.
Since a pedestrian accident falls under a personal injury, you are given two years starting from the initial date of the incident to file a claim. If you exceed the deadline, you will no longer qualify to pursue legal actions against the other party for damages caused by the pedestrian accident. However, California does have a few exceptions that may allow for an extension. This includes the plaintiff being:
Pedestrian accidents typically result in serious injuries that may require immediate medical attention, at times resulting in a potential pedestrian wrongful death case.Paramedics may transport the injured pedestrian to the hospital where tests will be administered to determine what areas of the body are in need of treatment. As the injured pedestrian is expected to go through extensive care, they will be missing out on school or work for a lengthy period of time.
Not only will the pedestrian miss out on school or work days, but they may also have the inability to perform tasks the same as they used to prior to the accident. These damages can cause a detrimental impact to the pedestrian’s life.
If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, including economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. It is calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. A few examples of economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. This may include compensation for emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
The third type of damages a California court may award is known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful.
If you have sustained injuries as a result of someone’s negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. Our California pedestrian accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can recover compensation for the losses you have suffered.