California is rather pedestrian-friendly. Unfortunately, accidents still happen and serious injury can occur to walkers, joggers, and those crossing the street. This page examines the law pertaining to pedestrian accidents. While this page is written by a pedestrian accident lawyer, the information on this page is not a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Every case is different and you should consult with a lawyer soon after your accident.
Pedestrian Accident Lawyer – Facts Regarding Vehicles & Pedestrians
While the phrase “pedestrians have the right-of-way” is mostly true, pedestrians don’t have free-reign of the roadways, and cars are not subservient to their every whim.
The duty to use reasonable care does not require the same amount of caution from drivers and pedestrians. While both drivers and pedestrians must be aware that motor vehicles can cause serious injuries, drivers must use more care than pedestrians. CACI § 710
In fact, though there are laws prohibiting crossing the roadways in unmarked crosswalks and walking on certain highways California Vehicle Code § 21954(b) says that even if you do decide to cross a roadway where you should not, drivers of vehicles must still exercise care for the safety of the pedestrian.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Even with these laws in place to protect pedestrians and persuade drivers to proceed carefully, the California Highway Patrol reported that 13,083 pedestrians were involved in vehicle accidents, fatal and non-fatal, in 2013. The age group with the most pedestrian accidents that year were ages 15-24 with 2,957 accidents. A distant second were people ages 25-34 with 1,803 accidents.
A year later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported an average of 661.6 pedestrian fatalities from 2005 to 2014 in California. Regarding pedestrian fatalities, pedestrians ages 65 and older were 19% of all pedestrian deaths in 2013. Pedestrians, like motorcyclists and bicyclists, have virtually no protection when it comes to being hit by a vehicle. Obviously, this can lead to serious injuries. If you are walking down street and find yourself injured by a vehicle, you need a pedestrian accident lawyer to help you recover from the driver’s negligence.
What Should I do After I’ve Been in a Pedestrian Accident?
As with all accidents, the first thing you should do after being involved in a pedestrian accident is to seek medical attention for any injuries you may have sustained. It goes without saying that when a vehicle collides with a person serious injuries can occur.
After your injuries have been assessed, contact law enforcement, fill out a detailed report and cooperate. Additionally, take detailed pictures of the accident including damage to the car, the scene of the accident, and any injuries sustained. Finally, contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible so that they may advise you on how to best proceed to maximize your recovery.
Who is Liable for Your Pedestrian Accident?
This is why you should contact a pedestrian accident lawyer. Determining fault is far more complicated than most people realize. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle will at least be partially liable for the accident, but there is the possibility that road conditions may have also contributed to the accident leading to a possible claim against the government entity responsible for maintaining that stretch of roadway. If you are partially responsible for the accident’s occurrence, by crossing in an unmarked area or not following other rules of the road, your damages may be reduced as California is a pure comparative fault state.
What is a “pure comparative fault” state?
In Daly v. General Motors Corp. (1978) 20 Cal.3d 725, the California Supreme Court adopted the principles of “pure comparative fault.” What this means is that if you are injured and the jury decides that you contributed to the injury through actions you have made, your recovery may be reduced accordingly.
What does this mean for pedestrian accidents? Let’s say that you were crossing the street where there was not a marked crosswalk. You are hit by a car and contact a pedestrian accidents lawyer. In your trial, the jury decides that by crossing the street in an unmarked area you are 10% responsible for the accident occurring. If your compensation was going to be $10,000, you can expect to receive $9,000 instead.
How long do I have to file my claim?
The statute of limitations for pedestrian accidents as prescribed by California’s Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1 is two years. For that reason, you should not hesitate in contacting a product defects lawyer. As mentioned above, it is possible that a government entity may be liable. If that is the case, California Government Code § 911.2 states that you have six months to file your claim. For these two reasons, you should contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Pedestrian Accidents Resulting in Death. What can I do?
Whether it was an accident or not, if your loved one has passed away due to the negligence acts of another, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against them. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit usually brought by the family members or estate of the deceased individual. Compensation may be recovered for the value of the lost loved one based on the victim’s health, age, income, occupation, other factors that are indicative of the type of life they would have lived, value of household services, and funeral and burial expenses.
Additionally, non-economic damages may be available and can include any care the victim provided to others, training or assistance they were providing, or the loss of intimacy from a spouse. What cannot be considered in this compensation is the grief or sorrow of the plaintiff making the claim, any pain and suffering the victim endured, or the poverty or wealth of the victim. Again, it is extremely important that you contact a pedestrian accident lawyer if you or a loved one was in a serious accident.
Attorney Cost & Consultation
Our office provides hope for seriously injured people. If you’ve been injured in an accident you should contact our San Diego personal injury lawyer immediately and receive a free consultation. There is no risk or obligation in calling a pedestrian accident attorney. Personal injury lawyers are compensated via a contingency fee. That means they don’t get paid a penny unless they recover money on your behalf. There is zero up-front cost.
If you were in a car accident, and another car ran into yours and injured you, visit our car accident attorney page. If you were in a motorcycle accident, go to our motorcycle accident attorney page for more information. If you were in an accident involving a semi-truck, visit our truck accident lawyer page.