How to File Pedestrian Accident Claims in California
Updated: Jun 5
Pedestrian casualties on American roads are increasing every day, despite a decrease in other traffic-related deaths. Pedestrian collisions result in serious injuries and deaths, leaving survivors to deal with life-altering problems, financial burdens, and lost job opportunities as a result of their injuries. A Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney assists pedestrian accident victims in recovering restitution for their injuries as well as covering the financial expenses associated with the accident.
When a pedestrian is involved in an accident, they can experience shock, discomfort, anxiety, and even loss of income. However, if the injuries are serious enough to cause permanent harm to the victim, they are classified as traumatic injuries. Injuries sustained as a result of catastrophic pedestrian accidents can alter the lives of those injured in one way or another, depending on the long-term consequences of the crash. These consequences can have a long-term impact on the victim's life, including permanent injury, long-term pain, and the inability to function. Furthermore, the majority of serious injuries suffered in pedestrian collisions can be very costly if they need long-term care.
The Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Injuries in Los Angeles
Every year, about 5,000 pedestrians are killed in car accidents, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). About 75,000 pedestrians are injured every year when they are hit by a car.
The most common, but far from the only, location for vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions is at crosswalks, where pedestrian and vehicular traffic may collide. When pedestrians cross at non-crosswalk locations, accidents can happen.
Frequently, the accident happens because the driver was distracted by a mobile phone or talking to someone else in the car and did not notice the pedestrian in time. It's also possible that the driver was driving too fast or didn't apply the brakes quickly enough.
Aside from pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles, there are several types of pedestrian accidents that occur frequently. For example, a property owner or business owner may have allowed dangerous conditions to continue on their property, resulting in a severe trip and fall or slip and fall accident.
It's also possible that poorly maintained public sidewalks, a parking lot where the pedestrian walked have dangerously deteriorated, or a construction site was littered with rubble, upward-pointing nail spikes, or improperly stored heavy equipment caused the accident.
Accidents Affecting Pedestrians
Although some of this material has already been discussed above, here is more information on some of the most common causes and forms of pedestrian accidents:
Pedestrians nearby may be seriously injured as a result of a careless car driver's conduct. He or she does not come to a full stop at a crosswalk line or at an intersection. Drivers can speed or drive recklessly, be distracted, make an illegal U-turn, or attempt to pass a stopped school bus illegally. Much of this is proof of the driver's carelessness.
One of the main reasons for the increased number of pedestrian incidents on weekends and late at night is that this is when drunk driving is most common. Pedestrian injuries and deaths are common as a result of drivers under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, as well as pedestrians who are inebriated.
Infrastructure that is faulty or non-existent
The risk of serious injury to pedestrians is significantly increased when traffic lights fail to function properly, or crosswalks are unmarked or badly faded.
Left Hand Turns
As cars are waiting to make a left turn at an intersection, the driver is always too preoccupied with watching traffic and waiting for his turn to notice a pedestrian. Pedestrians are often so intent on going straight ahead that they fail to consider the possibility of a car turning left or right into them.
Pedestrians that are difficult to see
If pedestrians wear dark-colored clothing or coats at night, drivers will have a tough time detecting them. This is particularly true if the individual on foot or by bike is moving rapidly and appears in an unexpected spot.
Vehicles that are difficult to hear
Modern hybrid cars' quieter engines can make drivers feel more at ease, but they are 40 percent more likely to collide with pedestrians. With quiet cars, pedestrian accidents are especially common at intersections in low-speed residential areas.
Foul weather and poor visibility
Pedestrians are placed at greater risk when the sky darkens, and there is wind, rain, hail, or other extreme weather conditions. Drivers who are navigating these more complex situations are more likely to miss pedestrians and respond too late.
Understanding the potential causes of your accident, as well as the severity of the crash, also dictates how the insurance company is going to handle the at-fault driver. The details you receive will assist you in determining and establishing the parties at fault, which will make it easier for you to provide credible evidential references to support your claims.
Pedestrian injuries are often caused by motorists' carelessness or negligence on the road, in which a car driver fails to follow the rules of the road. As a consequence, collisions can happen suddenly, resulting in low to high-impact accidents that could harm you or your loved ones.
In California, proving negligence is a difficult task.
In order to seek any damages in a pedestrian-vehicle collision, the injured party must demonstrate that the driver was reckless or violated the law.
It is called "negligence per se" if the driver violated a traffic law, such as failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, speeding, or running a red light. This suggests there's a good chance the driver was careless and caused the accident. Although the defense can challenge that presumption, the plaintiff has a straightforward legal advantage.
The same idea can also be applied in the opposite direction. For example, if a pedestrian darts into the lane, the driver is presumed to be guilty of "negligence per se." However, the injured pedestrian can also contend that the driver was partially to blame and collect a claim reduced only by the percentage of fault assigned to him/her by the judge.
The owner is responsible if the accident occurred on private lands, such as a driveway or walkway. However, whether it happened on a city or state-owned sidewalk or lane, the city or state would be held responsible. One exception is that a company may be held responsible for injuries that occur on public sidewalks that are almost entirely used by its own customers.
The preceding discusses several specific rules concerning negligence, but you should also be aware of the legal concept of negligence in California. A prudent individual would avoid an act or omission based on the foreseeable risks that such a course of action would pose to others.
A pedestrian who has been hurt in an accident must show that:
The defendant was legally obligated to perform such duties in order to ensure the injured party's welfare.
By act or omission, the defendant failed to perform said duties.
The defendant's carelessness was the primary cause of the crash and injuries.
It's important to remember that your accident may be caused by a variety of people. It's possible that many reckless parties contributed to the same injury. This may involve the following:
The driver of a car that collided with the victim.
The proprietor of the premises on which the plaintiff was wounded.
A government agency that neglected to manage public facilities properly.
If faulty or unsafe goods led to the crash, a maker of car parts or bicycles.
If the pedestrian failed to take proper safety precautions, he might be held liable.
Using "Reasonable Care" as a guideline
Both drivers of motor vehicles and pedestrians (on foot or on a bike) are required by law to use "good caution" to protect themselves and others.
Pedestrians need to be treated with reasonable care.
When you walk on public sidewalks, cross at crosswalks, or ride your bike in a bike lane, you must exercise caution to avoid any damage that might be foreseeable. The level of caution used must be proportional to the type and severity of the risk.
A pedestrian has failed to show due caution if he or she runs out in front of an oncoming vehicle, jaywalks when crossing points are clearly marked, weaves in and out of traffic on foot or on a bike, or does not wait for the WALK light at a crosswalk. In such cases, at the very least, contributory negligence occurs. Damages claims will be reduced, and in some cases, completely removed.
A driver is responsible for the safety of pedestrians who are in close proximity to where he or she is driving. Driver negligence and a failure to practice due caution include speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield to pedestrians when necessary, running red lights or stop signs, failing to use a turn signal, driving too fast for the conditions, and driving while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.
Drivers have a "unique duty of care" when it comes to small children, in addition to their general duty of care. If a driver sees children on a sidewalk or in a yard as he approaches, he must proceed with extreme caution. If he passes by a playground, kindergarten, or other location where children are likely to be present, he must take special precautions to prevent an accident. Every driver should be aware that children under the age of ten are less visible than others and are more likely to wander out onto the road.
Jaywalking and crosswalks
Even in major cities, where pedestrian bridges are rarely used, the intersection of public walkways and public roadways is difficult to avoid. Nonetheless, combining car and pedestrian traffic is potentially risky.
As a result, crosswalk laws and city ordinances are extremely important. It is the responsibility of city councils to clearly identify all crosswalks and to keep cross signals operational. Pedestrians have a responsibility to use these protection measures and not obstruct traffic flow. In all business districts, crosswalk signals must be used, and cross lanes must be designated in all residential areas.
Pedestrians must remain to the right side of the crosswalk lane while crossing the street so that traffic can flow smoothly in both directions. If there are no cross lanes or signs, you must cross at right angles at intersection curbs.
In certain California counties, there is an exception for the blind or lame. They are often permitted to bear canes with small stop signs attached, and when they cross the road and display the cane-and-stop-sign, traffic must come to a halt.
Keep in mind that "jaywalking" is illegal in California. As a pedestrian, you have the right of way only at marked crosswalks or at right angles where crosswalks "would be" if they existed. Otherwise, car traffic has the right of way, and you must stop and wait for a certain time and location to cross.
Even if the WALK signal is not enabled, drivers must yield to pedestrians who are already in the crosswalk. And, even though the pedestrian was jaywalking, it is never "allowed" to crash into a pedestrian in the street when responsible behavior may have avoided it.
If you were hurt as a pedestrian, don't think you can't win your case because you jaywalked or if the defendant wants to assign any or all blame to you. Gather the names and phone numbers of potential witnesses in your favor and contact your L.A. Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible.