Pedestrians are the most likely to be seriously injured in a roadway accident. Drivers should always keep an eye out for pedestrians, especially when approaching crosswalks. However, if you were involved in a pedestrian accident, it does not mean you will receive the compensation you deserve.
Depending on the circumstances, insurance adjusters reject your claim outright. The insurance company will do a fault comparison and can reject a claim if the pedestrian is found partially to blame. In most cases, you will not be compensated for your wrongdoing when bearing a percentage of fault without an attorney.
Because each case is unique, it is critical to have a qualified attorney on your side. The experienced San Jose pedestrian accident attorney at Suits Litigation is here to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
What is a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
Hiring an attorney is a critical step in obtaining the compensation you are entitled to following an accident. After a pedestrian accident, a personal injury attorney can help you prove fault and defend your claim against insurance companies.
A pedestrian accident attorney is a personal injury lawyer who focuses part of their personal injury practice on helping pedestrian accident victims. These cases are similar to most other personal injury cases in how they go through the insurance and court process.
Experienced lawyers will be able to guide those serious injuries in a pedestrian accident through the entire claim process from start to finish. This will typically start with filing a claim with the insurance company. Many times, when a lawyer is involved, the case will proceed beyond the insurance claim and into a more litigious process.
A pedestrian accident lawyer will always keep the needs of their client at the forefront, and they will never move to the next step without first consulting the client and making them aware of their options.
Why Do You Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
A skilled bicycle accident attorney will be able to acquire the evidence needed to hold the negligent party or parties accountable for their actions. When reviewing bike injury cases, bike accident attorneys frequently use many tactics to build a solid case for their clients.
First, to establish a complaint, there must be some type of damages to include, which is why attorneys often start by examining medical records and bills to assess the extent of your losses.
Next, they may consult with a specialist to obtain expert testimony regarding accident reconstruction or to help gauge the extent of mental anguish costs. Proving pain and suffering can be difficult, which is why consulting with a professional therapist may help bridge any cost gaps.
After establishing costs, experienced pedestrian accident lawyers will then start to collect all evidence to help build a strong case. This will start with obtaining a police report from the city or agency if there are officers at the scene. Additionally, if a medical professional came to the scene, a bicycle accident attorney may want to get their reports of the initial injury.
Furthermore, San Jose pedestrian accident lawyers will try to collect video and photography evidence from local stores, witnesses, and even traffic cameras in the area. They will also want to collect the information from all parties involved and present at the scene. The more evidence, the better.
The due diligence the attorney conducts prior to filing a lawsuit will speed up the litigation process and result in a preferred resolution.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers must yield to pedestrians under most state laws in the United States. This is one of the most important rules every driver must remember before hitting the roadway. Many people, however, fail to do so, resulting in regular mishaps.
Accidents involving pedestrians can occur for a variety of factors, whether through the fault of the driver or another mitigating factor.
The two top reasons for pedestrian accidents involved distracted drivers and impaired drivers. A distracted driver can be someone who is texting and driving, using the radio, reading an article, or putting on makeup. Whatever the reason for their inattention, it is illegal and commonly results in an injury-causing accident. Impaired driving can involve drivers who choose to drink and drive or who ingest a controlled substance or marijuana and then get behind the wheel.
Other causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Exhausted driving
- Not obeying road signs
- Excessive speed
- Not using signals
- Not stopping at crosswalks or yielding when necessary
When a car hits a pedestrian, the driver often tries to blame the pedestrian. Pedestrians, on the other hand, frequently have the right of way in accidents and are entitled to compensation for their losses.
Injuries After a Pedestrian Accident
Victims who have been injured in a pedestrian accident should call 911 and stay at the scene until authorities and emergency medical personnel arrive. It is vital to accurately capture the incident as quickly as possible. This includes taking pictures of the accident and injuries and collecting information. However, the top priority should always be safety and caring for injuries.
When a pedestrian gets into an accident with a vehicle, the vehicle usually wins. Not only are vehicles much larger than the person they are colliding with, but they are moving at a far greater speed. This can cause serious or even life-threatening injuries. Even if a bike or scooter hits a pedestrian, the damage can still be significant because of the rate of speed and build of the object.
The most common types of injuries for pedestrians involved in an accident with a motor vehicle or bicycle are:
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Head injuries
Back and neck injuries are common because of the impact as well as the momentum of the body from the crash, which can cause whiplash or other unstable injuries. A person can be hit by the front of a car and thrown onto the windshield or other parts of the car, which can lead to spinal injuries. Back injuries may not present themselves right away, and therefore it is important to stabilize the neck and back immediately following an accident.
Who is Responsible for a Pedestrian Accident
In most cases, negligence law determines who is at fault. To put it simply, negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. However, in the same collision, both the motorist and the pedestrian may be at fault. Because of California’s comparative negligence statutes, this does not preclude you, the pedestrian, from recovering. It may, however, limit the amount you are awarded.
Under California’s comparative negligence law, even if they are partially to blame for the accident, an injured party can still recover damages. For example, a party who is only 35% to blame for the accident will only be liable for 35% of the damages.
California is a state with only comparative faults. This means that victims can still seek compensation even if they are 99% to blame for the accident. In contrast, some other states use a modified comparative fault doctrine that prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages if they are 50% or more at fault.
Does a Pedestrian Always Have the Right-of-Way?
When pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle share the road, right-of-way rules established by the California DMV help determine who goes first. The vehicle or person that arrives first at the intersection has the right of way. All other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians must stop and wait for the person with the right of way.
Never assume that other drivers will yield the right of way, especially pedestrians – always ensure that a driver sees you before entering an intersection. When it will help prevent collisions, give up your right of way.
When approaching an intersection with or without a yield or stop sign, the person who arrives first will always go first. If there is a tied, and a cyclist or pedestrian is present, then they go before any vehicle. Additionally, if a pedestrian is heading straight through an intersection and the driver is turning, the pedestrian has the right-of-way.
At a green light, when turning, the pedestrian will have the right-of-way, even if they do not get a walk sign. A good rule of thumb, the pedestrian has the right-of-way. Unless the situation is completely obvious, courts will generally side with the pedestrian.
California Laws Regarding Pedestrian Accidents
The most important law regarding pedestrian accidents in California is VC 467 because it defines who a pedestrian is. Under this part of the code, a pedestrian is defined as anyone who is walking, riding a motorized device, or other object propelled by their own effort that is not a bicycle. Self-propelled devices include wheelchairs, tricycles, scooters, or other devices used for disability purposes.
When and where people can legally walk in public in California is governed by pedestrian and crosswalk laws. The fundamental rule is found in Vehicle Code 21950, which states that motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the street within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.
Even though the law requires drivers to yield, it is important that pedestrians exercise a duty of care before crossing a roadway. If a driver is found in violation of Code 21950, then they can be fined $238, more if any injuries or deaths result from the citation.
Additionally, if the driver fails to yield when legally obligated, they will receive one point on their DMV record and risk suspension of their license. Suspension of a license occurs after 4 points are added to a driving record. The first suspension will be a minimum of 12 months’ time.
Furthermore, under California Vehicle Code 40508, failure to appear in court or pay the citation may result in a misdemeanor charge.
Statistics of Pedestrian Accidents in California
In the most recent statistics reported by the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were nearly 900 pedestrians who were killed on California roadways, which was an increase of over 25% from previous years. Further, there were over 14,000 pedestrians who were injured in accidents on California roadways.
California leads the United States in pedestrian roadway deaths and has a fatality rate of almost 25% higher than the national average. According to news data in California, nearly 1 in 4 pedestrians that were killed were the result of a hit-and-run accident. Under California law, a hit-and-run pedestrian accident can result in up to 15 years in prison.
Not all accidents are avoidable, but many can be prevented. It is important for all pedestrians, especially at night, to make themselves visible to drivers. Just because a pedestrian can see a driver, does not mean the driver can see them. Wearing bright colors and reflective gear at night can help reduce accidents. Additionally, drivers need to be aware of crosswalks and when they have the right-of-way. Yielding to pedestrians will reduce fatalities.
When is a Lawsuit Appropriate After a Pedestrian Accident
If involved in a pedestrian accident, one may consider filing a lawsuit. Before proceeding, it is critical to understand the procedure and rights. Filing a lawsuit after a pedestrian accident can be a difficult process.
After being released from the hospital and gathering all medical records and bills, it is then a good time to consider filing a lawsuit. This can help ensure that all evidence is current and easy to locate. Any evidence you gather and bring to your lawyer can help strengthen your case and increase your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.
From this evidence, an attorney will then give their advice, which may include the likelihood of success. An attorney may not take your case if they believe they will not be able to collect any damages for their client.
Hiring a San Jose Pedestrian Accident Attorney After a Pedestrian Accident
James Suits devotes his entire practice to assisting injured people and their families in obtaining the compensation they deserve. Each client and case is unique, and he will explain the specifics of your case and keep you updated at all times. Please contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.