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 accident injuries reported in our state every year. Sadly, when these collisions happen, the injured victim can sustain catastrophic injuries.
Common injuries one may experience due to pedestrian accidents include:
- Fractured bones;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Internal injuries; and,
- Even death.
Such incidents often occur at a red light, stop sign, crosswalk, while crossing the road, and in busy downtown areas.
Causes for pedestrian accidents vary, but they typically involve negligent driving, which may include phone use, touching vehicle controls or settings, talking to vehicle passengers, drunk driving, not coming to a complete stop, or lack of awareness of one’s surroundings.
Following a crash, injured pedestrians need to be able to access reasonable compensation for their damages. Yet, big insurance carriers do not make the claims process easy. At Dolan Law Firm, our skilled Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys are committed to recovering damages for injured pedestrians. If you were hurt in a crash in Southern California, contact a trusted pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles. For immediate legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today to get a free case review consultation.
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 realize.
2. Carefully Document the Collision
The scene at a pedestrian accident can be chaotic and confusing. It can be difficult for injured parties to know exactly what to do to protect themselves. Beyond attending to medical needs, secure all the relevant evidence that you can. The more documentation you have regarding the collision, the better off you will be when it comes time to bring a legal claim. You should also try to obtain photos of the accident scene, photos of your injuries, the at fault driver’s contact information, witness contact information, and the police report.
3. Consult With a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
California pedestrian accident cases are almost always defended by giant insurance companies. The insurance companies 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. 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. They will be able to level the playing field — proudly advocating on your behalf against the insurance company.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
You would not think walking anywhere would be dangerous, but like any activity, there is a risk when you decide to walk to work, the grocery store, the park, or school. Walking in densely populated urban areas, crossing busy streets, and hoping you have enough time to get through a crosswalk all pose a threat to pedestrians.
In 2020, more than 7,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes on public roads. Everyone, from school-age children to the elderly are vulnerable when it comes to pedestrian accidents. However, those aged 65 plus are 20% more likely to succumb to a pedestrian accident.
These statistics make it clear that pedestrian accidents are a potential threat to everyone, regardless of age. To mitigate the risks involved with walking, individuals can keep these tips in mind:
- Walk on the sidewalk, not the road. Or, walk facing traffic if there is no sidewalk;
- Obey all traffic signs, signals, and warnings;
- Only cross the street at designated crosswalks;
- Always look both ways multiple times before crossing;
- Do not hold your phone and remove your headphones (these reduce your awareness and can contribute to a pedestrian accident);
- Wear bright or reflective clothing especially during evening/night time hours and;
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
Drivers can also help keep pedestrians safe by obeying all traffic laws, maintaining the legal speed limit, being cautious when backing up, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, staying alert, and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Pedestrian Rights in California
If you walk in the Los Angeles area, you should know your rights as a pedestrian. All drivers in the state of California owe you a duty of care. This means that they have an obligation to drive in a safe manner and to look out for your safety and that of others. 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 careful when around marked crosswalks.
- The Right to Use the Sidewalks: Pedestrians have the legal right to the use of the sidewalk. Whenever a vehicle is crossing over a sidewalk, the driver must always yield to pedestrians. There are no exceptions.
California Vehicle Code
Typically abbreviated as VC or CVC, the California Vehicle Code is a set of statutes that regulate the operation, registration, and ownership of motor vehicles, bicycles, and other transportation devices used to move people, animals, and goods throughout the state.
The CVC outlines the responsibilities of pedestrians when walking or crossing the street, as well as the roles and responsibilities of drivers in connection to pedestrians. Both pedestrians and drivers are required to exercise care and caution in their respective roles. Some additional points to reference include:
- Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a person crossing the road in both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Failing to yield can result in catastrophic injury.
- Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles that are legally in the intersection at the time of the signal change.
- The CVC does not prevent pedestrians from crossing the street in places aside from designated crosswalk areas, unless the location is controlled by traffic signals, police officers, or other local regulations.
As a pedestrian in California, it is important to understand the California Vehicle Code’s rules and laws and to know that “it is the policy of the State of California that safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, whether by foot, wheelchair, walker, or stroller, be provided to the residents of the state.” If you have sustained a personal injury as a pedestrian in Los Angeles or its surrounding areas, you should consider obtaining legal advice from an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles.
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 lawsuits. 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 this conduct contributed to their injuries.
In some cases, proving a negligent driver was involved can be hard, but a good pedestrian accident lawyer can help. As California is a comparative negligence state, defendants sometimes try to claim a pedestrian is liable for some or all of their own accident. If you are found to be partially at fault for your pedestrian collision, your financial compensation may be reduced proportionally. Do not let this happen to you. You should be represented by a skilled pedestrian accident attorney who will advocate on your behalf and thoroughly investigate your case.
Injured Pedestrians Can Seek Reasonable Compensation
Under California law, injured pedestrians may be entitled to recover a monetary award for the reasonable value of their damages. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be challenging. Even if you can clearly establish liability for your incident, you may only be able to recover financial compensation to the extent that you can prove your losses. At the Dolan Law Firm, our Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys have helped our clients maximize their financial awards. Over the years, we have claimed damages for:
- Emergency medical care;
- Ongoing medical treatment;
- Rehabilitative care;
- Other related medical bills;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Worsened quality of life;
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement; and,
- Wrongful death damages.
Our former clients who have experienced pedestrian accidents have been pleased with the work carried out by our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers in Los Angeles. Do not wait – call us today: (213)-667-0308. We are prepared to help you file a claim, respect the statute of limitations and not miss a deadline, reach a settlement offer, or go to trial if necessary.
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 extensive experience handling pedestrian collision cases. If you or someone you know was injured in a pedestrian crash, our legal team is here to listen to you and present you with legal options pertaining to your case.
To get your no obligation, free case evaluation, please contact our law firm today. You will not owe us anything unless we win. We handle pedestrian accident claims in Los Angeles and throughout surrounding communities, including those in Long Beach, Torrance, Pasadena, El Monte, Downey, Inglewood, and West Covina.
Will my pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles be familiar with the California Vehicle Code?
Yes, your pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles will be familiar with the California Vehicle Code, as it pertains to personal injury cases involving drivers and pedestrians.
How long does it take for a pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles to settle a claim?
Due to the fact that each case is unique, it is difficult to provide an accurate timeline. This is why it is important to contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles who may be able to correctly assess your situation.
Can a pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles tell me what the statute of limitations is for my case?
Yes, a pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles will be able to tell you the statute of limitations in California for injury claims, which include pedestrian accidents, as well as if there are exceptions that may be applied to your injury case.