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What To Do After A Pedestrian Accident In California

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

How To Handle The Consequences Of A Pedestrian Accident?


Pedestrian accidents are one of the most dangerous road accidents in California. Naturally, you'll want to be focused on your recovery, but many expenses and challenges come with a recent accident. Knowing what to do when it, unfortunately, happens to you can help alleviate the stress of paying medical bills and getting rightful compensation from your insurance provider.


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Pedestrian accidents can happen anytime a person walks near traffic, including parking lots, sidewalks, and other crossings. Many pedestrian accidents occur at night because walkers are difficult to notice in the dark. In addition, because pedestrians do not normally wear reflective or retroreflective clothing like bikers, a distracted or impaired driver or motorist can collide with them, even if they follow sidewalk laws.


What Causes Pedestrian Accidents In California?


There are numerous reasons for this. Except in rare circumstances, pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks. It is the driver's responsibility to yield to pedestrians crossing the street legally.


Despite pedestrians' best efforts to cross at crosswalks and intersections and stroll on sidewalks and shoulders, pedestrians are frequently struck by irresponsible, inattentive, or drunk vehicles that fail to yield the right of way.


Here are a few scenarios:

  1. The driver isn't paying attention to the road.

  2. The driver is distracted by their phone.

  3. Design flaws in crosswalks that ignore traffic flow.

  4. Cars and bicycles refuse to yield to pedestrians.

  5. Turning without looking both ways.

  6. Speed limits are ignored.

  7. Driving when intoxicated.

Pedestrian injuries are far more common in cities than in rural settings but can also occur on country roads. The optimum conditions for a severe collision include winding roads with low visibility and fast speeds.

Is it a Problem with the Crosswalk?


In some cases, the driver is not solely to blame for a pedestrian accident in California. The location of the crosswalk and the road design might also contribute to a pedestrian accidents. Therefore, pedestrian safety must be considered by those who design and maintain public crosswalks. Those responsible will be held liable if they fail to do so and the crosswalk becomes dangerous.


Engineering firms and state governments may be named as defendants in crosswalk position negligence claims. A Top Rated Personal Injury Attorney In Los Angeles may be able to explain the complexities of your case to you.


Possible Injuries In A Pedestrian Accident


Pedestrians hit by cars might sustain catastrophic injuries. Pedestrian accidents are typically fatal because the human body cannot withstand the harm caused by a collision with a moving vehicle (no matter how minor compared to other types of crashes). In addition, thousands of pounds of metal will cause serious injuries, and you may suffer from one or more of the following:

  1. Spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis or other loss of control.

  2. Orthopedic injuries include broken bones and injuries to other parts of the musculoskeletal system.

  3. Organ damage, as well as deep wounds (lacerations) and fractures (contusions).

  4. Concussions and more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI) or coma are possible outcomes.

  5. Dental or facial traumas can result in eye damage and eyesight loss.

Though vehicles are frequently responsible for pedestrian injuries, they are less likely to be hurt when they collide with one. Unfortunately, in these situations, the innocent pedestrian is the one who suffers the most severe injury. Scratches, scrapes, and bruises are almost always present. A victim might suffer from broken bones, concussions, internal bleeding, and even death.


How Can You Stay Away From Pedestrian Accidents?


Pedestrian accidents happen more often than you think. Taking extra care while you're walking in busy streets is going to come a long way.

  1. Take the sidewalks whenever possible. If there isn't one, walk in the other direction of the traffic flow, keeping as much distance as possible between you and the passing cars. This allows you to see where the vehicles are going and avoid being hit from behind.

  2. Pay attention to what's going on around you. Stop using electronic devices while walking that take your eyes (and ears) off the road. Use crosswalks and designated lanes.

  3. Cross in a well-lit place with a clear view of oncoming cars. Wait for a traffic break that will allow you to securely cross. Never assume a driver will notice you.

  4. Wear bright attire during the day and reflective clothing at night. This is to make yourself as visible as possible.

  5. Keep an eye out for cars pulling into or out of driveways, backing up, parking, or maneuvering through parking lots. You'll never know if a driver doesn't see you from their car mirrors.

  6. Avoid drinking alcohol and other sensory-impairing substances. An impaired judgment while walking on busy streets can lead to unfortunate accidents.


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How Can Drivers Stay Away From Pedestrian Accidents?

  1. Always look for pedestrians and remember that everyone is responsible for their safety.

  2. Use additional caution and slow down when driving in dark, in severe weather, or in other difficult-to-see situations.

  3. Even if you don't spot a pedestrian immediately, be ready to stop when turning or approaching a crosswalk.

  4. Give way to pedestrians in crosswalks.

  5. Never drive when drunk, intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs.

  6. Stick to the prescribed speed restrictions, especially in pedestrian-heavy areas.

  7. Slow down in school zones and communities where children may be present or playing in the street.

  8. When driving in reverse, be extra cautious because pedestrians may be present.


What You Should Do If You Get Into A Pedestrian Accident?


You may not know what to do next to protect your legal rights if you've never been in an accident before. Unfortunately, making errors can compromise your capacity to obtain total compensation for your losses.

You should, however, be on the right track if you follow the steps below:

  1. Seek medical attention. Following a pedestrian accident, your safety should be your main priority. To assess the extent of your damage, you should get medical help as soon as possible. You'll keep track of your injuries as well. This report may prevent the insurance company from claiming that your injuries were caused by the accident or were not as severe as you claim.

  2. Pay attention to the doctor's advice. When patients stick to their treatment plan, several injuries heal faster and require less care. In addition, you'll have a better idea of previous and future medical costs if you stick to the treatment plan your doctor recommends.

  3. Everything you recall about the accident should be written down or recorded. Taking notes can be really beneficial. If the insurance claim ends up in court two or three years later, receiving a reference that refreshes your recollection regarding the accident's key components would be beneficial.

  4. Gather any documents related to the incident. Create a folder or file to hold all accident-related documents. For example, gather hospital bills, receipts, photographs, witness names, and insurance provider letters or e-mails.

  5. Obtain a copy of the accident report from the police. When the crash report is ready, you can request a copy from the law enforcement department attending your crash.

  6. Don't negotiate with insurance firms on your own. Insurance companies are businesses and will do all they can to save money, including spending it on you. Make sure you hire Top Rated Personal Injury Attorneys In Los Angeles, so you don't end up agreeing to unreasonable settlements.

  7. Never bring up the case in front of others or on social media. Making any public statements now could jeopardize your case. In addition, you can assume that your insurance company has access to (and reads) everything you write on the internet. Therefore, avoid discussing or sending pictures or comments regarding your case. In general, you should avoid using social media until your case is wholly decided.

Hire one of our pre-screened California Personal Injury Lawyers to avoid doing or saying the wrong things. Your attorney can negotiate with insurance firms, do independent investigations, and represent you in a Personal Injury Claim.

Do I Have a Case Under California Law?


California's personal injury laws can be complicated. Understanding how "negligence" is defined under California law can be beneficial, whether you face a substantial medical bill following an accident or simply need assistance understanding your legal choices.


If you've been hurt in a pedestrian accident, you may be unsure where to turn or where to begin. When it comes to getting reasonable compensation for medical costs, lost jobs, disability, and other expenses, you might not know where to start. If, on the other hand, your injuries were caused by the negligence of another person or organization, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim to be paid for your financial losses.

The Role of Negligence in Pedestrian Personal Injury Claims


The fundamental principle in defining "negligence" is the failure to exercise prudence. To win a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff and their pedestrian accident lawyer in California must show that the defendant was negligent to the extent that the victim suffered losses due to it. Therefore, it's critical to highlight the breach of duty of care and offer a complete analysis of all losses incurred due to the breach.

One of the most critical aspects of obtaining the most reasonable compensation or pay damages is proving the other parties' responsibility in the claim. For example, your legal team will have to prove the defendant's negligence in most pedestrian accidents and personal injury lawsuits.

As you and your California Personal Injury Attorney work on your claim, your lawyer will be able to clarify and enlighten you about any aspects of your case that may be difficult to understand. For example, one of these challenges is predicting liability/responsibility in circumstances involving many defendants.

When There Are Multiple Parties To Blame?

Many parties are not uncommonly to be held liable in a personal injury case. While this may make discussions more difficult and necessitate more time spent gathering evidence, the court is ultimately responsible for determining how much each listed defendant is liable for the plaintiff's losses.

Your experienced California Personal Injury Attorney must demonstrate that each defendant identified in the lawsuit bears some blame.

For example, multiple motorists or companies that installed improper crosswalks could be named defendants. Your attorney will describe how each defendant in your case will be held responsible for their role in the accident.

This is what happens if your case gets to trial and the court determines that all of the defendants are guilty or accountable on various levels.

In that case, the defendants are accountable for compensating the victim. These multiple defendants will likely negotiate amongst themselves during settlement negotiations to determine their blame percentages.


What Damages Am I Entitled To Recover?

For personal injury claims in California, there are two types of coverage: economic and non-economic damages.


Economic Damages - The term "economic damages" refers to financial losses. Others have referred to it as "out-of-pocket" spending. Some instances are as follows:

  1. Expenses for injuries treated in the hospital, which resulted in hospital expenditures (experts will need to calculate what may be necessary for long-term care)

  2. Damage to property

  3. Wage/salary loss

  4. Due to the victim's injuries, earning potential can be permanently reduced.

  5. Treatments for recovery

Non-Economic Damages - "More intangible" losses are non-economic losses. It has nothing to do with money or measurable riches, yet it is likely to have far-reaching effects on the individual. Thus, it's sometimes referred to as "Human Losses."


Here are what's considered human losses:

  1. Mental Anguish

  2. Anxiety

  3. Emotional Distress

  4. Disfigurement

  5. Permanent/temporary disability

  6. Depression

  7. Trauma

  8. Embarrassment

  9. Loss of a spouse or domestic partner

  10. Loss of the enjoyment of life

"Pain and Suffering" - Even the most catastrophic injuries necessitate documentation of pain and suffering. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:

  1. Plaintiff speaks about the duration and degree of their pain and difficulties following the injury.

  2. Your appointed physician and family and friends support this testimony.

  3. The plaintiff's suffering or proof (medical and financial).

There are no set parameters except that the pain and suffering damages granted must be fair or reasonable. The jury is told that there is no set criterion and that they must establish "a reasonable sum based on the evidence and your common sense" in Jury Instruction CACI 3905A.

As a result, no complicated legal norm exists; all that counts is that it be equal. Now it's up to your Top Rated Personal Injury Attorney In Los Angeles to explain what constitutes "justice." Even though various ways have been used in the past, the lack of a clear guideline remains. California's legislature has agreed that inhabitants of the state should decide what is and is not equal.


Here's how suffering as a type of quantitative compensation might be justified:

  • Obtaining remuneration for each day of pain the victim has already experienced or will experience in the future. This method is the most straightforward. There are no days off for the sick person. The damages should reflect the reality that accident occurs frequently.

  • Victims pay a monthly fee to be relieved of their suffering. Extreme pain will cost a lot of money. A California Personal Injury Attorney may also urge the jury to decide how much they should charge for the pain and suffering you've described.

Given the medical industry's high prices for years, it's no surprise that a jury decides a big damages judgment for pain and suffering is fair and adequate. Many of the points mentioned above can convince. Nonetheless, the jury will determine the pain and suffering award based only on fairness factors.

This is why plaintiffs need to find Top Rated Personal Injury Attorneys In Los Angeles, and it's because proving pain and suffering damages hinges upon their ability to investigate, prove, and argue for your case.

What is Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are the difference between the actual damages granted to a plaintiff in a personal injury claim and the punitive damages awarded. These damages are usually awarded at the judge's discretion and are used to penalize a criminal who has committed exceptionally heinous or shocking conduct.


This type of compensable damage is uncommon but not unknown. Civil Code Section 3294 requires proof that the defendant or at-fault party acted with malice, oppression, or fraud. Punitive damages may also be awarded by the court to deter a criminal from acting in the same way again.

Punitive damages can be sought from a corporation whose careless actions put many people in danger and might have been avoided. For example, this can happen when a company fails to monitor its manufacturing process or willfully releases a defective product into the market, despite its illegality or the danger of serious injury if utilized. For example, if a car manufacturer misses a defect that leads to an accident, they might be sued for punitive damages.

On the other hand, many states limit the number of punitive damages a plaintiff can receive in a personal injury case. These restrictions are referred to as "damage caps." Damage caps are usually established by state legislation.

To be liable for punitive damages in a personal injury case in California, a plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant's actions constituted fraud, oppression, or malice. "Simple and compelling facts" is the standard of proof that a plaintiff must fulfill in these situations. The method for obtaining actual damages is far more difficult to follow than the standard for obtaining punitive damages, which is based on which side has more weighty evidence.


Unlike many other states, California does not have a limit on the number of punitive damages that can be awarded in a personal injury case.

Punitive Damages: Important Caveats


Punitive Damages are not an option on their own. "Substantial injury" has to be caused by the plaintiff. As a result, any other compensatory or nominal damages must be given before the court can award punitive damages.

The court must consider the defendant's net worth. On the other hand, higher bodies would not recognize the defendant's good fortune until the jury has rendered a preliminary verdict on whether the plaintiff has proven unfairness, purpose, or fraud through clear and persuasive evidence. Punitive damages will then be computed based on the defendant's financial circumstances.

Punitive damages should be in the "same proportion" to the actual accident, but that ratio would not bind the jury. It's once again a question of what the jury considers to be reasonable. Punitive damages are sometimes used as a scapegoat by proponents of "tort reform" to excuse absurd awards. This has been propaganda since the inception of the "tort reform" campaign. Punitive damages, as previously noted, are difficult to obtain. The underlying behavior must be objectively deplorable.

If repressive, dishonest, or malevolent behavior has occurred, how can we prevent it as a society. Many of the wrongdoers, however, are not prosecuted in criminal court. The only place where they may be found guilty is in civil court.


Punitive Damages: The Issue of Wealthy Wrongdoers Getting Away with It


As previously stated, monetary fines are the only method to prevent the perpetrator from acting out again and anyone viewing the case. Punitive damages would become a cost of doing business for unscrupulous organizations or individuals if the court or government set a dollar cap on them. It's the only way to get your point across when you steal a substantial amount of their revenues.

As a result, punitive damages should be substantial when the defendant is wealthy, whether a corporation or an individual. Punitive damages reflect the defendant's fortune rather than the victims' imagined greed, so the bigger the judgment, the more it represents the defendant's fortune.


How Much Can I Get As Compensation For A Pedestrian Accident?

After being involved in an accident, you now know what types of damages you are entitled to claim. The next question is how much money you will receive in return. What is the worth of your argument, to put it another way?

There is no one-size-fits-all method for accurately gauging this. Each situation is unique because each customer is unique. You will not suffer the same injuries as others and will heal differently. As a result, each case must be assessed on its own merits.

The insurance company for the at-fault party may approach you and offer a rapid settlement. If this happens, proceed with caution.

Paying For Medical Expenses

Immediate treatment at the scene of the accident and follow-up care like physical therapy should be considered. The complainant must show that any alleged medical bills are reasonable in light of the cost and need of the treatment they got.

The complainant will establish this in court with correct medical bills documentation. The plaintiff can demonstrate the treatment's necessity by witness testimony, ideally that of the treating physician, but if the treating physician is unavailable, an expert witness can testify to the treatment's necessity.

To be eligible for compensation for future medical expenses, the applicant must show that they experienced the following medical costs:

  1. Expenses they spent out of pocket, including one that was covered by insurance.

  2. They must have legitimate medical documentation that they will need to undergo future treatments.

Your legal team would require expert medical testimony to prove this evidence in court. It doesn't have to come from the treating physician; an economist, for example, might testify on the cost component of the study. However, expert medical evidence would be required to explain future medical costs.

Medical expenditures incurred by private insurance can be claimed as losses in California. Recognize that medical costs are not purely financial. The plaintiff may demand both special and economic damages for their insurance costs.

Compensation for Lost Earnings


Were you unable to work as a result of your injury? Any salaries, commissions, incentives, or other financial wages or fringe benefits you would have accumulated if the accident had not occurred are included in the loss of earnings. Many people who have already worked can reclaim whatever earnings they have lost or will lose due to their absence.

Pay stubs, W-2 forms, and other documentation are commonly required as proof of unpaid wages. In addition, the injured person's colleagues, accountants, and clients will also testify to bolster the evidence and provide the jury a firmer foundation for their verdict.

The prospective loss includes all the earnings mentioned above and the monetary benefits the injured party would have received if the accident hadn't occurred. In addition, social security benefits are frequently evaluated for time or years that should have been contributed but weren't.

It's critical to remember that damages aim to put the injured individual in the same situation as if the accident never happened. The same standard applies to claiming lost future earnings as it does to claiming future medical expenses: you must show that the future earnings were reasonably likely to occur even if the event did not happen.

The injured would present two factors to prove that the earnings were almost expected to occur:

  1. How long will they be unable to return to their previous job or any job?

  2. If the injury hadn't occurred, you would have earned the amount of money (in income, commissions, and salary).

In most circumstances, your California Personal Injury Attorney will rely on the testimony of a medical expert to demonstrate how long it will take you to return to your prior employment or any job. In addition, the specialist should be able to provide a clinical opinion on how long the injury will prevent the person from functioning normally or at a similar level.


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Compensating For The Long-Term Effects on Your Ability to Work

Another example is when a victim's ability to function has been substantially impaired. To put it another way, a person would not be able to perform as usual or at the same level as before the injury.

Assume that the wounded party can competently testify about what they may have received. In that instance, the court may appoint an economist or a labor expert to determine a fair and equitable estimate of their wages.

This examination considers several elements, including the injured party's real earnings at the time of the accident, their possibilities of advancement, life expectancy, overall economic patterns, and the injured party's career economic trends.

The injured person is entitled to compensation if the injury is severe enough that they will be unable to follow their desired vocation. The damages amount, in this case, should be equal to the amount the victim would have earned minus the amount the injured person would receive from any other jobs (if that is even possible after the sustained injuries).

To prove how much would have been earned, the court would need expert witness testimony from an economist. Several elements are considered when deciding whether the wounded individual wants to pursue a job. Witnesses familiar with the injured party's objectives and how far they have progressed in carrying out those plans are critical.


You should also be paid for the "intangible losses" you mentioned earlier. While it may be in your best interests to settle your case on your own, you should do so only once you are sure you have fully recovered (you won't be able to get it much later if your pain returns). Then, do it after speaking with a reputable California Personal Injury Attorney who will offer you an honest assessment.

If you have more severe injuries or are already suffering from the effects, you are strongly advised to reject an insurance company's settlement offer.


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