Los Angeles is one of the most congested cities in the whole country and this simply implies that pedestrian accidents are an avoidable part of life here. Actually, California has been leading in the number of pedestrian accidents in 2014 and 2015 according to LA Times. California Vehicle Code Section 21950 obliges drivers to be extra careful when approaching a pedestrian and to yield the right-of-way when within any marked or unmarked crosswalk. This, therefore, means that the driver must take every action as far as operating the vehicle is concerned to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian. It is unfortunate that most motorists only put their focus on the other drivers while ignoring the pedestrians. This results in thousands of pedestrian injuries and deaths- and usually due to no fault of their own.
Taking your eyes off the road even for a few seconds or looking at a different direction is just like traveling the same distance with your eyes closed. Such accidents mostly happen when there is heavy pedestrian traffic but can also happen in areas with few individuals on foot. The most common areas where accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles occur include crosswalks, drinking lots, roads shoulders and street corners.
If you or your loved has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible. The actions you take immediately after your accident are critical because they will influence your recovery in one way or the other. Our lawyers will guide you through the legal process to ensure that your legal rights are preserved. We will answer all your questions concerning the case. Call us today at 424-231-2013 for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
In most cases, pedestrian accidents are as a result of driver inattentiveness or negligence. This is not to mean that pedestrians are always blameless but the fact is that most drivers find it challenging to operate their vehicles safely around pedestrians. The followings are some of the ways that drivers cause these accidents:
- Driving under the influence
- Making a left turn without looking for pedestrians
- Failing to yield right-of-way at marked crosswalks
- Distracted driving such as eating, texting or applying makeup while driving
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Driving while fatigued or sleepy
Common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents
The average weight of a vehicle is over two tons. This, therefore, implies that even at a slow speed the force involved is enough to cause serious damages to a human body, which is fragile. This is why the casualties who survive often sustain serious catastrophic injuries such as:
When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, it is likely that the first impact will occur in the area of the thighs and pelvis. This could lead to multiple bone fractures. Broken bones may take months to heal depending on the severity and this implies that the casualty may end up losing their ability to do normal life activities or going to work.
A pedestrian could end sustaining traumatic brain injuries especially due to the fact that they have nothing to protect themselves when the accident occurs. Some of these injuries may be temporary while others may be permanent leading to a complete change of one’s life. Traumatic brain injuries can have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of the victim.
When a pedestrian accident occurs, it means that there were two things involved and that is a human body and a vehicle. Therefore, there is a chance that the casualty may end up sustaining internal organ damage and internal bleeding which can lead to death if not checked immediately after the accident.
When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the impact is so strong that it could lead to concussions and severe head injuries. The victim could be hit directly on the head or thrown over to hit something when they land.
A pedestrian accident can also lead to amputation injuries. If an individual suffers fractured bones which are then accompanied by seriously damages to tissues and blood vessels, they may end up with an amputated limb. This could happen either at the scene of the accident or later on at the hospital if the doctor sees no chance of saving the limb.
Recovering from such severe injuries may take months or even years and this also means that the victim may end up with permanent disabilities. Apart from these physical injuries, there is the psychological trauma that inhibits the ability of the casualty to do the normal life functions and enjoy life. In addition to the excessive pain experienced, these injuries also bring staggering medical expenses. This will bring a heavy burden to you and your loved ones because of driver negligence. If you are in such a situation, you should seek the help of a qualified personal injury attorney to help you handle the burden.
Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Case
One of the first questions that clients ask Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney is, “Who is responsible?” There are three areas of liability in pedestrian accidents and these include:
- The Pedestrian
Pedestrians have the responsibility to act in a responsible way and follow the traffic rules and laws. A pedestrian should walk on the crosswalks and walk lights only and this, therefore, means avoiding areas where pedestrian traffic is forbidden such as along highways. A motorist is obliged to yield the right-of-way of the pedestrian at all times but there are situations where the motorists have followed all the rules but could not avoid hitting a pedestrian who suddenly jumped in front of the car. In a situation where the pedestrian is intoxicated at the time of the accident, it is unlikely that the driver will be held liable or face consequences in a court.
- The Driver
A majority of pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles are usually as a result of a driver’s negligence or misconduct. If the driver ignores the rules, drives while intoxicated or distracted or is at a high speed, then they are held liable for the mishap. Even if the pedestrian is also to blame, the driver may still be liable. Such motorists can be prosecuted for different forms of negligence and even for wrongful death. In extreme cases, a motorist may face both criminal charges and a civil suit. A driver who hits a pedestrian and drives away will face hit-and-run charges.
- The environment
There are times when a pedestrian accident is not the fault of the driver or the pedestrian. The weather conditions may lay a major role if visibility was difficult and the driver could not stop in time because they could not see a pedestrian. There are also situations where the accident is not the fault of the pedestrian, the driver or the environment but another party is liable. This is in cases of a defective product or poorly constructed or maintained roads. This simply implies that the accident may be the fault of the city or government agency involved or the property owner. These parties too may be held liable for the mishap.
According to California Vehicle Code Chapter 5, drivers are not only expected to yield to the right-of-way of pedestrians but to also act with due care to avoid hurting a pedestrian in marked or unmarked crosswalks. This, therefore, means that even in cases where the pedestrian was negligent, the driver may share liability and the casualty may still be entitled to compensation. However, when two or more parties are involved, determining liability could be complicated.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian in Los Angeles, it is important to talk to a Personal Injury Attorney in order to explore the possibilities that are there for pursuing compensation. Call us today at 424-231-2013 to get a free case evaluation.
Recovering Compensation in a Pedestrian Accident
When it comes to pedestrian accident cases, there are two types of compensation available. The compensation is for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages involve billable damages such as medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost wages and future earnings. Non-economic damages pertain to more intangible, personal costs such as emotional distress, pain, and suffering. Although it is impossible to quantify non-economic damages, to some extent, their effects can be alleviated through monetary compensation.
Most personal injury cases involve negotiating with the insurance company. The driver’s insurer should be liable for covering the full cost of your injuries and losses. However, you may find yourself facing a massive insurance company intent on limiting your claim. Insurance companies always present themselves with an interest in your case but in reality, their goal is to make money for their stockholders by creating more profits. Therefore, their aim is to employ tactics that will reduce the payout as much as possible.
If you want to receive maximum recovery for your injuries or wrongful death of a loved one, you should seek help from a legal professional who understands the strategies to employ to take on an insurance company. You must not talk with the involved insurance company directly or agree to anything they tell you without an attorney. At our law firm, we will take a firm stance against the insurance company to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve following a pedestrian accident.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit in California
In California, there exists a law that establishes a deadline for you to file a lawsuit. Following a pedestrian accident in California, you will have two years to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident. If you file a lawsuit after the two years have passed, you will be barred from ever filing a lawsuit to recover remuneration for the injuries you sustained even if they are very serious. In cases involving the city, government agency or a driver driving a government car, then the time limit is reduced to six months. Due to the variations and complexity of the law on personal injury cases, it is critical to contact a Los Angeles legal professional right away to avoid being precluded from making a claim or filing a lawsuit.
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Wrongful Death Case
In unfortunate cases, a pedestrian accident may result in the wrongful death of your loved one. In such cases, you may hold the at-fault party liable for your loss with a wrongful death claim. Family members who can pursue a lawsuit include a spouse, domestic partner, children or any family member who could inherit from the deceased person. The common compensable include loss of companionship, funeral and burial costs, psychological injuries, loss of financial support, medical expenses, and lost future income.
California Hit-and-Run Accident Cases
When a driver knocks down a pedestrian and does not stop, then he or she violates California Vehicle Section 20002. This can lead to imprisonment in the county jail of up to 6 months or a fine of up to $1,000. If the hit-and-run driver is caught, he/she will be made liable to pay for the victim’s injuries which can be through their insurance company. In cases where the hit-and-run driver does not have insurance or is never caught, then the involved pedestrian may still recover from their own insurance policy.
Retain an Experienced Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Attorney
In a pedestrian accident, you could sustain life-changing injuries which can leave you traumatized and in shock. You should, therefore, schedule a free initial consultation with us to have your case evaluated by our experienced personal injury attorneys. We will work on your case without asking for any upfront legal fees so if we do not get a recovery, you won’t owe us any fee. We are dedicated to working tirelessly to obtain the maximum recovery for your case while you take your time to recover. For a free consultation, call Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney at 424-231-2013.