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Pedestrian Accident

Were You Hit by a Car or Truck While Walking?

California’s roads are among the most dangerous for pedestrians. In 2019, California saw the highest pedestrian death rate in the United States, with 485 fatalities. Unfortunately, the issue continues to worsen due to increased distracted or dangerous driving incidents. 

Family Crossing Street

Pedestrian accidents tend to be catastrophic and even deadly. Pedestrians who survive accidents are often left with life-changing injuries and may require months or years of medical assistance before they fully recover. 

Pedestrian accidents can be incredibly traumatic for everyone involved. Victims and their families may experience devastating mental and emotional impacts for years to come after a pedestrian accident. Power Trial Lawyers offers compassionate expert guidance through complicated legal matters to help victims and their families recover physically and financially from a traumatic accident. 

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Los Angeles

Pedestrian accidents are most commonly caused by:

  • Distracted driving: Texting or using other electronic devices behind the wheel, talking to other passengers in the vehicle, or engaging in other distracting activities often leads to drivers failing to see a pedestrian and causing an accident.  
  • Alcohol and substance abuse: Driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs is one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. Impaired drivers are more likely to run red lights or miss flashing crosswalk lights.
  • Speeding: Pedestrians may assume a driver sees them and will stop in time. However, if the driver is speeding, it may be difficult for them to slow down quickly enough to avoid hitting a pedestrian. 
  • Failure to respect pedestrians’ right-of-way: Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. Unfortunately, confusion about right-of-way laws leads to many drivers proceeding through an intersection when a pedestrian has the right-of-way. 
  • Failure to signal before turning: Failure to signal is also a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. If a vehicle appears to be continuing straight, a pedestrian may assume it is safe to cross an intersection and unknowingly enter a turning vehicle’s path. 

Unfortunately, it can be difficult for pedestrians to protect themselves at intersections. Even when using prudent care, pedestrians have little defense against reckless drivers who get behind the wheel while tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  

Common Injuries From Pedestrian Accidents

Because pedestrians have no physical protection, such as a helmet or a vehicle to shield them, they are at risk of severe injuries and death if involved in an accident. Common injuries pedestrians sustain in an accident include:

  • Head and brain injuries. If a pedestrian is hit by a car, they are likely to hit their heads with extreme force, resulting in skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and disfigurement. Pedestrian accidents often cause the victim to lose consciousness or enter a coma. Upon waking, the victim may exhibit altered behavior or cognitive deficiencies. Sometimes, these effects are permanent. If rehabilitation is an option, it may take many years for a victim to regain their capabilities.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can cause victims to lose the function of body parts below the damaged area. Victims of spinal cord injuries may suffer paralysis and never walk again. They will need emergency medical care after the incident and may have to spend an extended period of time in the hospital. 
  • Internal bleeding and organ injuries. Pedestrians hit with great force often sustain internal injuries. These injuries are serious and can cause death if not treated immediately. Getting hit by a car can damage the internal organs or rupture blood vessels, reducing oxygen circulation. If organs are severely damaged, they may never function properly again.
  • Crushed limbs and amputations. A high-impact crash can shatter or crush bones. These injuries cannot be repaired in many cases, and the limb may have to be amputated. Severe soft-tissue injuries may have the same result. If rehabilitation is possible, it will be lengthy and may require prosthetics and specialist care. 

California Crosswalk and Pedestrian Laws

Like many other states, California has laws in place to protect pedestrians. Unfortunately, there tends to be confusion between pedestrians and drivers about these laws, leading to many pedestrian accidents. 

For example, Vehicle Code 21950 states that all drivers “shall yield to the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any marked crosswalk at an intersection.”

To most, it would seem that pedestrians always have the right-of-way at a marked crosswalk or intersection. However, the legislation further states that “no pedestrian may suddenly leave the curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Unfortunately, many pedestrians take it for granted that a vehicle will stop for them at a crosswalk and proceed to cross without checking for oncoming traffic first. 

The ambiguity in the law has also given insurance companies grounds to deny pedestrian accidents claims. If you were hit by a car at a crosswalk, it’s advisable to hire a personal injury attorney to help you navigate complex and confusing laws. 

Proving Liability in a Pedestrian Accident

Proving liability is the most vital element in receiving compensation after a pedestrian accident. Generally, motorists are at fault for pedestrian accidents, but police should take care to determine exactly how the accident occurred, including taking witness statements.

Some factors that can complicate proving liability include:

  • Unmarked or poorly marked crosswalks: In some cases, it can be challenging to prove whether a pedestrian was hit in a legal crosswalk or if they were jaywalking. However, a motorist can still be at fault for hitting a pedestrian who is jaywalking. 
  • Construction areas: Construction blockades may force pedestrians to walk in the street rather than the sidewalk. If this is the case and a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the motorist may still be held liable. 

Proving liability in a pedestrian accident is a complex matter. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with the following:

  • Determining fault and proving liability
  • Calculating monetary damages
  • Mediating with insurance companies
  • They can advise you on the appropriate next steps

It’s also essential to have proper representation in a pedestrian accident case if a dispute arises. Even if the driver is clearly at fault for the accident, they may still try to dispute liability and blame you for the accident. An experienced attorney can help you receive maximum compensation from the at-fault party. 

Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Victims

Victims of traumatic pedestrian accidents deserve as much compensation as possible. Power Trial Lawyers can help you recover the following damages in a pedestrian accident case:

  • Medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages and employment opportunities
  • Counseling
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other damages applicable to your situation

In the event of wrongful death, you may be able to file a claim to recover the following losses:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical care costs prior to the victim’s death 
  • Loss of income and future financial support from the victim
  • Lost household services such as childcare, cooking, and cleaning
  • Lost love and companionship, moral support, and sexual intimacy

Dealing with complex legal matters following a wrongful death can be overwhelming. Hiring an experienced attorney can help remove some of the burdens while you and your family grieve the loss of your loved one. 

Speak With a Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today

If you were involved in a pedestrian accident in Los Angeles, you have the right to demand maximum compensation for your losses. Before accepting an insurance company’s settlement, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Power Trial Lawyers can make sure you receive the highest compensation available for your pain and suffering. Call us today for information regarding your rights and options.

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