Pedestrian accidents remain a serious public safety problem in Southern California. According to data provided by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), there are approximately 13,000 pedestrian injuries reported in our state every year. Sadly, when these collisions happen, the injured victim can sustain truly catastrophic injuries.
Following a crash, injured pedestrians need to be able to access full compensation for their damages. Yet, the big insurance carriers do not make the claims process easy. At Dolan Law Firm, our skilled Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys are committed to fighting for justice for injured pedestrians. If you were hurt in a crash in Southern California, we will help you get the full financial compensation that you are owed under the law. For immediate legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident in Los Angeles
1. Get Professional Medical Attention
Pedestrians are inherently exposed to dangers from vehicles. All pedestrian accidents require immediate medical attention. In an emergency situation, an injured pedestrian should take an ambulance to the nearest hospital. In a non-emergency situation, a medical evaluation is still required. Many common pedestrian injuries, from concussions to soft tissue damage, take days to fully develop. An injured pedestrian may be more hurt than they even realize. Further, you cannot bring a pedestrian accident claim in Los Angeles unless you have valid medical documentation.
2. Carefully Document the Collision
The scene at a pedestrian accident can be chaotic and confusing. It can be difficult for victims to know exactly what to do to protect themselves. Beyond attending to medical needs, the next most important thing that injured pedestrians need to do is secure all relevant evidence. The more documentation you have regarding the collision, the better off you will be when it comes to time to bring a legal claim. Among other things, you should try to get photos of the accident, photos of your injuries, contact information for the driver, witness contact information, and the police report.
3. Consult With a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
California pedestrian accident claims are almost always defended by giant insurance companies. These firms are notorious for their aggression. They have developed a wide array of tactics that they employ in order to reduce settlement offers. You should not give a statement to an opposing insurance adjuster after a pedestrian collision in Los Angeles. They will not be acting in your best interests. Instead, you should work with the insurance carrier through an experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to level the playing field — protecting your rights against the insurance company.
Pedestrian Rights in California
If you walk in the Los Angeles area, you should know your rights as a pedestrian. All drivers in California owe you a duty of care. This means that they have an obligation to drive in a reasonably safe manner and to look out for your safety. In addition, there are certain California regulations that protect the rights of pedestrians. Specifically, some of the most important pedestrian rights include the following:
- The Right of Way When in a Crosswalk: In crosswalks, pedestrians in California generally have the right of way (Vehicle Code Section 21950(a)). There are some limited exceptions, and pedestrians are still required to watch out for their own safety as well, but drivers must be exceptionally careful when around marked crosswalks.
- The Right to Use the Sidewalks: Pedestrians have the legal right to full and unimpeded use of the sidewalk. Whenever a vehicle is crossing over a sidewalk, the driver must always yield to pedestrians. There are no exceptions.
- The Right Not to Be Struck By a Dangerous Driver: While pedestrians also have responsibilities to act in a safe manner, all pedestrians have the right to be free from dangerous drivers. If a driver is operating their vehicle in a dangerous manner, whether due to speeding, distracted driving, or any other form of negligence, and they hit a pedestrian, that driver has violated the pedestrian’s rights. They must be held liable for their negligence.
How to Establish Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Case
California is a comparative fault jurisdiction. The state’s negligence standard has key implications for Los Angeles pedestrian accident claims. To hold a driver (or any other party) legally liable for a pedestrian accident, a plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant did something reckless or careless, and that the reckless or careless conduct contributed to their accident.
In some cases, proving negligence can be hard. As a California is a comparative negligence state, defendants sometimes try to blame pedestrians for some or all of their own accident. If you are found to be partially at fault for your pedestrian collision, your financial compensation will be reduced proportionally. Do not let this happen to you: you should be represented by a skilled pedestrian accident attorney who can thoroughly investigate your case and prepare the evidence needed to prove negligence.
Injured Pedestrians Deserve Full Compensation
Under California law, injured pedestrians have a right to recover money for the full value of their damages. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be challenging. Even if you can clearly establish liability for your accident, you will only be able to recover financial compensation to the extent that you can prove your losses with valid documentation. Proving damages is one of the most important (and overlooked) parts of the personal injury claims process. At the Dolan Law Firm, our Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys know how to help victims maximize their financial award. We can help you claim damages for:
- Emergency medical care;
- Ongoing medical treatment;
- Rehabilitative care;
- Other related medical expenses;
- Disability compensation;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Worsened quality of life;
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death damages.
Were You Injured in a Pedestrian Collision in Los Angeles, CA?
We can help. At the Dolan Law Firm, our top-rated California car accident lawyers have deep experience handling pedestrian collision cases. If you or a family member was injured in a pedestrian crash, our legal team will help you get the full financial compensation you deserve.
To get your free, no obligation case evaluation, please contact our law firm today. We handle pedestrian accident claims in Los Angeles and throughout the surrounding communities, including in Long Beach, Torrance, Pasadena, El Monte, Downey, Inglewood, and West Covina.