When two automobiles are involved in an accident, serious injury or death can result. But, the passengers inside are protected by a steel cage, safety belts, and airbags. On the other hand, a pedestrian is completely vulnerable when struck by a 3,000-pound plus vehicle, normally causing significant damage.
According to the most current data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 25% increase in U.S. pedestrian fatalities between 2010 and 2015.
What’s more, in 2016, 5,495 pedestrians were killed in pedestrian accidents, a 9% increase from the previous year and the most pedestrian fatalities in any single year since 1990.
California led the nation in 2016 with 867 pedestrian fatalities (23% of all the state’s traffic fatalities), followed by Texas and Florida, which recorded 672 and 652 respectively.
California, Florida, Texas and New York alone account for 42% of all pedestrian accidents in the country.
According to the National Safety Council, the vast majority of pedestrian accidents (86%) take place in congested urban areas like Los Angeles, which was second only to New York City in the number of pedestrian fatalities in 2016. But, pedestrian accidents can also occur in rural areas and on interstates and highways between cities.
Furthermore, although many pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, 65% of pedestrian accidents occur at locations other than intersections, such as:
The ever-increasing number of multitasking drivers is a big factor in the increase of pedestrian accidents. Drivers are often talking on their cell phones, texting, changing radio stations, eating, looking at their GPS devices or map, talking to passengers, or turning around to see what their children are doing in the back seat. These are all dangerous behaviors whenever unsuspecting pedestrians are in the vicinity.
Driver negligence is by and large the primary cause of pedestrian accidents, but other causes include:
Anytime a pedestrian comes in contact with a moving vehicle, the result is usually:
When injuries occur, hospital and medical bills can add up quickly, and the injured pedestrian may be forced to take a substantial amount of time away from work.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in California, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses if, and only if, you can prove that someone else caused the accident and your injuries. In other words, you must be able to prove that a driver hit you because they did something wrong, like:
This issue of proving who was at fault for the accident in which you were injured is called the “liability issue”.
If you can prove liability, you are entitled to recover the cost of your past and future medical treatment and any loss of income that you have or will suffer. In addition, you may be awarded damages for having to go through everything that you had, or will continue, to endure. This may include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and much more.
Unfortunately, liability in personal injury cases is not always clear. California personal injury law follows the concept of comparative negligence. This means that if you did anything at all to contribute to you being hit and injured, your claim for compensation will be discounted by your own percentage of fault.
For example, if a jury finds that you were 25% liable for your own injuries because you were crossing the street in the wrong location, and finds the at-fault driver was 75% responsible for your injuries because he or she was going above the speed limit when they hit you, you will only be able to recover 75% of your damages.
Under normal circumstances, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will compensate you for your injuries. However, if the at-fault driver does not stop and is never identified, or if he or she is uninsured or underinsured, then you will probably have a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage.
Pedestrian accident claims are not routine claims. In order to prove liability, it is critical that an investigation of the circumstances involved in your accident be done effectively and promptly. For this reason, if you have been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, you would be well advised to hire a competent lawyer to assist you with your claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in California, you need answers to important questions so that you can take the necessary steps to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. We will be happy to evaluate the circumstances of your injuries and the potential to file a pedestrian accident claim. Call Michael Rehm for a free consultation with an California pedestrian accident attorney.