Walking for exercise or as a mode of transportation are popular activities enjoyed by health-conscious residents of San Diego and Southern California. However, the dangers you or a family member will be injured or killed in a pedestrian accident are increasing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian deaths increased by three percent in 2018 to 6,283 deaths—the highest number of fatalities since 1990.
If a motorist engaged in negligent behaviors that caused your pedestrian accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries under California law. However, you'll need the assistance of a knowledgeable car accident lawyer if you want to win your case and receive financial recovery.
Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Walking across the street isn't the only way pedestrians might be struck by a vehicle. People are hurt in both traffic and non-traffic ways, such as:
- Intersections. The most glaring risk for pedestrians is at intersections when they cross the street, or a driver makes a turn and fails to yield the right of way.
- Backup accidents. Just as the term applies, if someone doesn't take care and check all mirrors before backing up, they might hit someone walking behind the vehicle. These accidents frequently occur in parking lots and driveways. Many of the victims are small children who are less visible.
- Crosswalks. In most situations, pedestrians have the legal right of way in crosswalks. Too many motorists ignore flashing walkway signs, stopped cars, and other indicators someone is in the crosswalk.
- Parking lots. Because many drivers are distracted or eager to get on to the next destination, many people are injured in parking lots. Poor lighting and a lack of proper signage or directional markings contribute to accidents as well.
- Sidewalks. Surprisingly, a high number of pedestrian crashes happen when they're on sidewalks, and drivers lose control of their vehicles and pop curbs and other street barriers.
- School bus crossings. California has specific traffic laws that require motorists to stop a safe distance behind school buses allowing children on or off the vehicle. In certain situations, an impatient driver darts ahead when he doesn't realize why the car ahead of him isn't moving or doesn't see the bus's stop sign.
Six Common Behaviors That Cause Pedestrian Accidents
Driver negligence is almost always the underlying cause of pedestrian crashes. This is displayed in many behaviors, such as:
- Distracted driving, like eating and drinking, texting, and talking on a cellphone
- Intoxication due to alcohol or drug use
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Making an improper left turn
- Not driving with caution according to weather conditions
Compensation That Victims of Pedestrian Accidents Can Recover in California
Nothing can protect pedestrians in collisions with motor vehicles, so their injuries are often severe and life-altering. Traumatic brain injury, partial or complete paralysis, back and spinal injuries, and internal organ damage are just some of the long-term medical conditions that can require expensive treatments and limit a victim's ability to work and take care of basic needs.
Under California law, the at-fault driver is responsible for injury compensation. Settlements awarded in these cases include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Wrongful death damages if a family member was killed
Steps to Take Immediately After Your Pedestrian Accident
To protect your legal rights and have the chance at a proper financial recovery, you or a witness should:
- Call the police to the scene. Their report will help your legal counsel build a strong case.
- Seek prompt medical care. No matter how minor your injuries might seem, a condition can worsen in the days following the accident.
- Gather contact and insurance details from the driver.
- Take pictures of the damage to the driver's vehicle, the accident scene, weather and road conditions, and your injuries.
- Ask for contact information from witnesses so your attorney can quickly get statements from them.
Contact Us for the Legal Assistance You Need
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident in San Diego or Southern California, I'm here to determine the cause of your accident and prove the at-fault motorist's responsibility to compensate you. If his insurance company refuses to be reasonable, I'll file a lawsuit on your behalf before the deadline to do so expires—and will take your case to a jury trial if it's in your best interests. To learn more about how my legal team and I can assist you, start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.