Have you or a loved one been injured in a pedestrian accident? You probably have a lot of questions regarding your case and your future. At Wilshire Law Firm, our legal team prioritizes the needs of our clients above all else. It is our goal in each and every case to resolve matters quickly and effectively. If you have any questions about your specific claim, feel free to contact us for a comprehensive case evaluation. Our number is (800) 522-7274. Let us fight for you.
UNDER CALIFORNIA LAW, DO DRIVERS OWE ANY SPECIAL DUTY OR CARE TOWARDS PEDESTRIANS?
Yes. According to California Vehicle Code 21950: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”
When approaching a pedestrian, the driver “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”
Even when a pedestrian is being reckless, the driver is not relieved of the aforementioned duties. Basically, drivers are expected to do everything within reason to prevent collisions with pedestrians.
WHAT DUTIES DO PEDESTRIANS HAVE?
Like everyone else on the streets, pedestrians also have duties and responsibilities. They must obey traffic signs and signals, look both ways before crossing, and essentially use their common sense and good judgment. Interestingly, a pedestrian who is “just outside of a crosswalk” is entitled to the exact same protections as one who is in a crosswalk.
I HAVE BEEN INJURED IN A PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Here are the essentials: file a police report, get medical attention, and consult with a trusted attorney.
Once you have done those, continue going to all of your doctor appointments and receiving treatment. Foregoing medical treatment does not look good for your claim, and may even reduce your potential compensation amount.
If you cannot afford the medical bills, no worries. Our firm can connect you with a medical provider who’ll treat you on a liens basis (your medical expenses will be reduced from your compensation).
This next piece of advice is extremely important: do NOT speak with the insurance adjuster or sign any documents without consulting with an attorney first. In spite of what they say, the insurance company is not on your side. Their goal is to preserve their profits by reducing your claim. Don’t let yourself be lowballed – have an attorney protect your right to full and fair compensation.
CAN I SEEK COMPENSATION FROM THE LIABLE DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY?
Yes. Motorist insurance coverage does not apply to only car collisions but also accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. As such the liable driver’s insurance will most likely provide coverage for your damages.
WHAT IF I WAS PARTIALLY AT FAULT BECAUSE I CROSSED THE STREET OUTSIDE OF A CROSSWALK?
Even if a pedestrian is partially at fault for an accident, he or she may pursue compensation from the driver who hit him or her. However, the compensation will likely be reduced by an amount equivalent to his or her percentage of fault. In other words, if a jury were to award you $100,000 but determined that you were 50 percent at fault, your total recovery would be $50,000 ($100,000 – 50 percent).
WHAT CAN I DO IF MY CHILD WAS INJURED OR KILLED BY A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE CROSSING THE STREET?
The law recognizes that children are more thoughtless and impulsive than adults. Thus, a driver must exercise a greater degree of care when he or she is aware or should be aware of small children playing in the immediate area. Unless your child darted out in front of the driver’s vehicle and the driver had no possible chance to stop and no reason to anticipate the event, you should have a strong claim against him or her.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER IN A PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for economic damages such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering and loss of consortium. If the liable driver’s behavior leading to the accident was especially egregious, you may also recover punitive damages.
WHY DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
Pedestrian accident claims are hardly ever simple. The driver may dispute your account of the accident. The insurance company may refuse to give you a fair settlement deal. There may be some questions of comparative fault. And so on.
Only a qualified personal injury lawyer can investigate your claim, get evidence that supports your side of the story, and negotiate an optimal settlement deal with the insurance company. Also, if your case goes to court, you will most definitely need legal help to convince the jury to reach a verdict that is favorable to you. In short, you need an attorney, no doubt about it.
Would you like to know more about your rights and legal options after a pedestrian accident? Call Wilshire Law Firm today to schedule your FREE consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys.