If you were hit by a car, you may be wondering if you should file a pedestrian accident lawsuit. There are a few factors to consider when making this decision, including the severity of your injuries, the fault of the other driver, and the amount of compensation you are seeking.
Do You Have a Pedestrian Accident Case?
In order to have a successful personal injury case, you must prove certain elements to establish fault. These elements include the following:
The Duty of Care
Duty of care is the legal obligation that a person has to take reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. In the context of pedestrian accidents, drivers have a duty of care to pedestrians to operate their vehicles safely and to be aware of their surroundings.
Breach of The Duty of Care
Breach of the duty of care occurs when a person fails to take reasonable care to avoid harming others. For example, a driver may breach their duty of care by driving recklessly, speeding, or distracted driving.
Causation is the legal concept that a party’s negligence must have been a direct cause of the accident. Therefore, a driver’s negligence must have been the cause of the pedestrian’s injuries in order for the pedestrian to recover damages.
Damages are the injuries and losses that a person suffers as a result of another person’s negligent or reckless actions. Damages can include medical treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and mental distress.
If you were hit by a car, it’s essential to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you calculate and prove the true value of your damages.
Pedestrian Crosswalk Laws in California
Here are some of the crosswalk laws in California:
- California Vehicle Code 21950: This law states that pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks. This means that drivers must yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street. If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, cars must reduce their speed, stop, and wait for the pedestrian to cross the street before continuing. Pedestrians may not suddenly leave a curb and walk or run into the path of a vehicle. Pedestrians cannot unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
- California Vehicle Code 21952: According to California law, drivers must yield to approaching pedestrians before driving over or on a sidewalk.
- California Vehicle Code 21955: Pedestrians must use crosswalks at intersections that are controlled by traffic signals or police officers.
- California Vehicle Code 21970: Drivers cannot unnecessarily stop or block a marked or unmarked crosswalk or sidewalk.
What Kind of Damages Are Available to Pedestrian Accident Victims?
If you were hurt in an accident, due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. The types of compensatory damages that you may be able to recover include the following:
- Medical bills – This includes the cost of all medical care that you have received or will need to receive in the future, such as hospital bills, medication, doctor’s visits, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages – If you have missed work or are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost income and wages. This can include vacation days, sick days, bonuses, overtime pay, commissions, and more benefits.
- Pain and suffering – This is compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress and suffering that you have experienced as a result of the accident. This can include depression, anxiety, fear, loss of companionship, mental suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Property damage – If your personal property was damaged in the accident, such as your clothing or cell phone, you can pursue compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Wrongful death – Certain family members who lost a loved one in an accident, may be able to pursue wrongful death lawsuits for damages including funeral expenses, lost income, loss of consortium, and grief.
The amount of damages that you may be able to recover will depend on the severity of your injuries, the circumstances of the accident, and the legal representation you have. It is important to speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.
Factors that Can Affect a Pedestrian Accident Settlement
The value of a personal injury case can vary depending on the extent of the injuries sustained, if multiple parties are involved, and the local laws where the accident occurred.
Here are some factors that go into calculating the value of a case:
- The severity of the injuries – Generally, the more severe a person’s injuries are, the more likely the victim is to recover a larger settlement. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after the accident and obtain your medical records and bills to help prove the severity of your injuries.
- The duration of the injuries – The longer the injuries last, the more likely the victim is to recover a larger settlement. The victim may have to miss work to recover or may not be able to return to their job due to their injuries. During an extended recovery period, they will also likely incur more medical costs.
- The impact of the injuries on the victim’s life – The more the injuries impact the victim’s ability to work, enjoy their hobbies, and perform their daily tasks, the more likely the victim is to recover a bigger settlement.
- Liability – If the driver is found to have a higher percentage of fault or is found entirely at fault for the accident, it is more likely that the victim may obtain a larger settlement.
- The state laws – The local laws pertaining to where the accident occurred can determine what damages the victim can recover.
Common Injuries After a Pedestrian is Hit by a Car
Pedestrian accidents are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. In 2020, there were over 7,000 pedestrian accident deaths involving a motor vehicle. In San Diego County, 979 pedestrians were injured and killed in traffic accidents in 2020. The most common pedestrian injuries are:
- Head injuries – Head injuries are the most common type of injury in pedestrian accidents. These injuries can range from concussions to skull fractures to traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries – The impact of a car accident can cause damage to the spinal cord or surrounding tissues. If a spinal injury spreads it can result in damage to the nervous system. The effects of trauma can lead to loss of feeling, paralysis, spasms, and chronic pain.
- Broken bones – Broken bones and fractures are also common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents. The most common broken bones a pedestrian may suffer include the wrists, legs, arms, shoulders, and ribs.
- Internal injuries – Internal injuries suffered in pedestrian accidents can be serious and even life-threatening. These kinds of injuries are especially dangerous as they can be difficult to assess, especially if there aren’t obvious symptoms.
- Soft tissue injuries – Soft tissue injuries, such as bruises and lacerations, are also common in pedestrian accidents. These injuries can be painful and may require medical attention. The most common soft tissues injured include the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
The severity of a pedestrian accident injury can vary depending on the speed the vehicle is traveling, the force of the impact, and the location of the impact. Even a seemingly minor accident can result in serious injuries.
Can I Recover Compensation if I’m Being Blamed for a Pedestrian Accident in California?
Yes, you may be able to recover compensation if you are being blamed for a pedestrian accident in California. California follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which means that you can still recover damages even if you are partially at fault for the accident. However, the amount of your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 10% at fault for an accident and the damages total $100,000, the plaintiff would only be able to recover $90,000.
In most cases, a pedestrian accident victim will file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. However, this process is often complex and the driver’s insurer will try to minimize your claim or find reasons to deny your claim entirely.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you may be able to file a lawsuit. It’s best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who will communicate and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
How Long After A Pedestrian Accident Can I File a Claim?
In California, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is 2 years. This means that you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the person or entity responsible for your injuries.
It is essential to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident. An attorney can help you determine the timeframe you have to file your claim and ensure your case is resolved in a timely manner.
Will You Have to Take the Driver to Court?
Most pedestrian accident cases are settled without ever going to court. However, in some cases, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit and go to trial to get the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can represent you in court, if necessary.
Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
At Harbor Accident Lawyers, we offer free initial consultations, so there is no risk in getting started. Our San Diego personal injury attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options. We will fight for the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.