As we become more aware of the need for good health habits for ourselves and protecting the environment, more of us are beginning to walk to destinations or just walk around the neighborhood for leisure and exercise. When we are injured while walking, we have questions about what to do next.
If you are a pedestrian who was injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation. After getting medical care for yourself, your next call should be to the San Bernardino personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw . We offer a free consultation where we can discuss the circumstances of your accident and determine whether you might be eligible for compensation for your losses and injuries. Call today, and let us get to work for you.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?
OnderLaw has been representing people like you for nearly two decades. We have the resources to fully investigate your accident, discover who was at fault for your injuries, and build a strategic case to obtain the compensation you deserve.
We’ve obtained over $3.5 billion in settlements for our clients over the years, and we’d like to do the same for you. Check out our results. We apply the same knowledge, skills, training, and diligence to all our cases, no matter how small or large. Our clients are our first priority.
Pedestrian Laws in California
In the California Department of Motor Vehicles handbook, the following notices are given for motorists regarding pedestrians.
- Who is a pedestrian? A pedestrian is a person who is walking, roller skating, roller-blading, or skateboarding. Basically anyone who is not on a bicycle or in a motor vehicle is considered a pedestrian. This includes disabled people who use devices such as a wheelchair for transportation.
- The right of way. Generally, pedestrians have the right of way. This is not always the case, though. The right of way for the pedestrian only applies within any marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Otherwise, the driver is required to use caution while proceeding and, if necessary, come to a stop to allow the pedestrian to cross safely.
- Pedestrians must use crosswalks. Pedestrians are required to cross at crosswalks or intersections. Pedestrians are expected to use caution before crossing a street. Pedestrians may cross without a crosswalk only after yielding to traffic.
- Crossing lights. Pedestrians are to follow the signals of the crossing lights and are expected to allow vehicles to clear the crosswalk before proceeding to cross the street.
- Sidewalks. Pedestrians have the right of way when a vehicle is crossing a sidewalk for the purpose of entering a driveway or parking area.
Types and Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
These are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Distracted driving. Passengers can be a distraction because of conversation or actions the passengers are doing. Electronic devices can be distracting. The driver may be adjusting music, texting, making or receiving a telephone call, or looking at a map on the device.
- Speeding. A vehicle driving at too high a speed reduces the sightlines of the driver. It also lengthens the space and time needed to come to a halt, and the speed affects the reaction time and ability of the driver.
- Intoxicated driving. Intoxication may be a result of alcohol consumption or the intake of drugs, both legal and illegal. Intoxicated driving will have an impact on the driver’s ability to observe their surroundings, hinder their ability to react in a timely manner, and impair their judgment. The intoxicated driver has more difficulty in controlling the vehicle, which may result in the vehicle swerving into someone or onto sidewalks.
- Failing to stop or yield. Using the roads of our community comes with the belief that others using the road will also obey the rules. When a driver fails to yield the way or stop, that driver risks injuring a pedestrian who is crossing a road or walking along a sidewalk.
- Weather conditions. Ice or rain on the road affects the way a vehicle responds on the road. Stopping times increase, and road traction is lessened. Vehicles may swerve unexpectedly, and drivers may lose control. If the driver doesn’t take proper precautions, an accident may occur.
- Turning. When a driver is making a turn, their attention is on the oncoming traffic so they can make sure it is safe to turn either left or right. Focusing on the vehicle traffic, a driver may not be aware of pedestrian traffic until it’s too late. The driver may also be in a rush to make the turn, which can also result in hitting a pedestrian.
- Backing accidents. If a person is backing out of a familiar area, they may not take the normal precautions of operating a vehicle while backing. They may fail to check their mirrors or may refrain from physically positioning themselves to look out the back of the vehicle. There may be something obstructing their vision in backing. This can also be a problem in a crowded parking lot.
- Road construction. Loose gravel or uneven paving can affect the way a driver responds. Potholes can temporarily change the direction the driving is going. Poorly designated lanes or crossing sections can affect pedestrian safety on the road. Drivers may be distracted by the activity going on around them to the point of failing to see a pedestrian.
- Reckless driving. Driving in a reckless way means being unaware of the surrounding traffic and pedestrians and may result in a driver not seeing a pedestrian in time to avoid hitting them.
Common Injuries Suffered in Pedestrian Accidents
In an article written for the West Journal of Emergency Medicine, the authors noted these common injuries as a result of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle.
- Fatalities. Depending on the speed of the vehicle at the time of the collision, a person may be completely thrown over the vehicle. The injuries to the head, the spine, and internal organs may result in immediate death or lead to death.
- Leg injuries. Most people who are struck by a vehicle are struck in the legs. This may result in broken bones in the legs or feet. Knees may become disjointed, and ligaments may be torn or damaged.
- Upper body. When a person is struck by a vehicle, the body is thrown onto the car’s hood and/or windshield. This may result in damage to the ribs or internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, as well as various glands. It may also harm the pelvic area.
- Head and shoulder. When a person’s head strikes a hood or windshield, damage to the head can result, including fractures to the head or face, internal bleeding in the brain or head, dental injuries, and injuries to the eyes. The neck, spine, and shoulders may also be injured as a result of the collision. Because of their smaller size, children may be struck in the torso or head directly by the vehicle.
- Mental anguish and psychological damage. Beyond physical injury, a person struck by a vehicle can expect to suffer emotionally and mentally as a result of the events. This type of injury can take years of therapy and professional treatment.
Proving the Other Party Was Negligent
In California, every person is obligated by law to take reasonable care not to harm anyone else. To prove that someone was negligent, you have to show, with evidence, that they were not careful of your safety and that their lack of care caused an accident. You have to show that you were injured in that accident and that your injury cost you in some way.
For instance, if a driver ran a red light and hit you, and you had to go to the hospital for treatment, you would need to show evidence that the driver ran the red light, like a police report. You’d show that you were taken to the hospital or that you received medical care, and the medical records would report that you needed that care because you were hit by a car. This would likely be a compensable case in California.
Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident Claim
California law allows compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses. The diagnosis and treatment of the injuries resulting from being hit by a car can be compensated by the person causing the injuries.
- Lost income. Time away from work while undergoing treatment and therapy are some of the damages awarded as a result of a pedestrian accident.
- Property damage. While property damage is usually minimal in a pedestrian collision, the cost of replacing or repairing any possessions (groceries or other items being carried by the pedestrian, mailbox hit by the vehicle while the pedestrian was getting mail, for instance) can be awarded as damages.
- Pain and suffering. The mental anguish associated with the injury may be addressed in the lawsuit.
State and City Accident Statistics
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2018, the following numbers were reported:
- 893 pedestrian deaths
- More than 14,000 injuries
- In California, the fatality rate was 25 percent higher than the rest of the United States.
- California leads the nation in the number of pedestrian deaths.
According to the San Bernardino County report on pedestrian accidents, there were 710 pedestrian deaths and injuries in 2019.
OnderLaw wants to help you as you deal with being struck by a vehicle. We want to take the time to get to know you and work with you to resolve the legal issues arising from your injuries. Call us to set up a time we can sit down and talk and look at all your options. We look forward to helping you.