When a pedestrian is injured in a vehicle accident, many assume that only the vehicle driver is at fault. That is not always an accurate conclusion; in many cases, actions by the pedestrian have caused these accidents. Determining who is at fault is one service your California Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer can help you with, in addition to providing you with the benefit of all their experience in this area of law practice.
Pedestrian accident injuries and fatalities are a serious problem in California and nationwide. During 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported there were 4,735 pedestrian deaths in the United States. Injuries were in the tens of thousands, with about 69,000 in 2011. Approximately 11,000 of those injured pedestrians were under age 14, and males accounted for 65% (7,000) of the count.
Despite ongoing traffic safety programs and educational efforts, pedestrians continue to be injured and killed while they are crossing streets or near roadways. Pedestrian accidents are included in Personal Injury laws, and in California, the concept of pure comparative negligence allows injured parties to pursue compensation even if they bear partial responsibility for the accident.
California Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured or died in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to pursue fair compensation under Personal Injury laws. The extent to which you may be granted compensation may be affected by certain conditions, including if you were partly at fault. Negligence is the key element for these cases; this must be proven, through evidence and eyewitness accounts. Your California Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer knows how to present a strong case to help you obtain the best possible results and monetary compensation.
Beware of any offers made by insurance companies; they only want to settle for minimum amounts and are not going to work hard for your interests like your own attorney will do. Do not give them any information or statements about your injuries or the accident particulars. If you do that, you could jeopardize your future case potential. Speak only with your own attorney and give them all the records and other accident information that you have collected at the scene or afterwards.
Typical causes of pedestrian accidents that result in personal injury or death include:
- Vehicle driver fails to yield to a pedestrian in or stopped facing a crosswalk
- Pedestrians move into the path of a vehicle at a time that is impractical for that driver to yield
- Pedestrians do not activate a pedestrian crossing beacon before leaving the curb or other safe place to cross a roadway
- Pedestrian does not obey traffic signal
- Pedestrian crosses the roadway where there is no crosswalk zone and does not yield to traffic
- Children run out into the street without looking and without supervision by an adult caretaker
California Pedestrian Accidents & Liability
Proving negligent behavior is a critical element in any personal injury case, and pedestrian accidents are no exception to this rule. Liability for accidents is placed upon another person, persons or a company based upon evidence and facts of the event. Your attorney will work hard and use resources like expert witnesses and others to support your claims and to set liability for expenses upon the responsible parties.
In California, your award may be reduced according to any percentage of personal responsibility for the accident. If you disobeyed traffic laws and then were hit while crossing a road without using a marked crosswalk, you were negligent and partially responsible for an accident if a vehicle hits you. The same applies if you are injured after entering a roadway where traffic is heavy, because you did not exercise your duty of care for being able to safely cross the area at that time.
Proving liability may be left to a jury in a courtroom trial scene. That jury will respond and make decisions based on the case presentation. This is another reason why you need an experienced California Pedestrian Accident Lawyer representing you during litigation. They have helped hundreds of other people obtain justice and fair compensation in previous similar cases. They are familiar with the court systems at all levels and understand all the fine details of applicable personal injury laws.
Four elements that are considered when proving liability include:
- Duty of Reasonable Care – to win a case, you must prove that the other party failed to exercise a reasonable duty of care and should have been able to avoid hitting you.
- Breach of Duty – this is proven when you can establish that the defendant did not take action that would have prevented the accident.
- Proximate Cause – you must prove that the accident was caused by the actions of the defendant.
- Damages – You can claim monetary compensation to recover expenses for medical care, lost income and, in some cases, pain and suffering.
Survivors of loved ones killed in pedestrian accidents may also be eligible to claim various personal injury damages and compensation, depending on the circumstances of the accident
California Pedestrian Accident Laws
Yielding right of way is an essential element of California Pedestrian Accident Laws. Just like drivers are expected to exercise reasonable duty of care to avoid injuring pedestrians, the pedestrians are directed in the California Vehicle Code to use due care to protect their own safety and not surprise drivers by running out into the path of an oncoming car. The crosswalk laws also direct drivers to yield the right of way to any pedestrians who are crossing the road in a marked crosswalk. They must do the same at other intersections where there are no marked crosswalks.
Small violations can place fault upon the pedestrian as well, as is described in California Vehicle Code 21451. You do have the right to proceed across a roadway at a place of marked or unmarked crosswalk, however, if you are hit in an intersection because you entered that area when the defendant’s vehicle entered that intersection on a green light, you may be judged at fault. Even if you have the green light, you must yield to any vehicles that are already within the intersection when that light changed to green. If you are hit because you entered the crossing area prior to your traffic signal light changing to green, you may be held at fault.
Personal Injury Accidents
Most personal injury cases are billed on a contingency basis, with no fee unless you win. The attorneys also will offer most people a free first consultation to discuss their case and concerns. The attorney may also be able to speed up the entire process and minimize costs through alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as providing guidance and skill for negotiations and settlement agreements.
Getting help from a reliable and honest Personal Injury Attorney is a good decision to make if you or a loved one received injuries are died in a California Pedestrian accident. Your attorney will help you get through this difficult time and they will explain all the legal processes you must go through along the way. You are more likely to receive a higher monetary award when you have professional legal representation.