It is a dangerous world. Even a stroll down the sidewalk can be risky. If you’re injured because a motorist was negligent while you were walking – anywhere in southern California – schedule a meeting to go over your compensation rights with a Costa Mesa pedestrian accident attorney.
Walking on this nation’s streets and sidewalks is becoming more dangerous, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Their figures tell us that 6,590 pedestrians died in the U.S. in traffic mishaps in 2019, the highest number in over thirty years.
About 70,000 pedestrians are injured in the U.S. every year by negligent motorists. What makes being a pedestrian so dangerous? If a driver injures you while you’re walking, how can you be compensated? Will you need an attorney’s help?
What Risks Do Pedestrians Face? What Injuries Can They Sustain?
If you’ll keep reading this short overview of pedestrian accidents in southern California, you will learn the answers to all of these questions, and you will also learn more about your rights as an injured victim of someone else’s negligence.
If you live or work in Los Angeles or San Diego, you know how perilous crossing the street can be, and you’re also aware that drivers aren’t the only hazard pedestrians face. Poor sidewalk maintenance, debris, construction, and other hazards pose serious risks to anyone who’s walking.
Pedestrians do not expect to be involved in an accident, so they don’t wear safety equipment. Pedestrians who are struck by cars or trucks may sustain neck and back injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, bruises, and other severe or catastrophic injuries.
What Are an Injured Pedestrian’s Rights?
A driver may be deemed liable for a pedestrian’s personal injury if that driver was speeding, texting, distracted, intoxicated, or careless in a way that directly caused a pedestrian accident and a pedestrian’s injuries.
If a negligent driver strikes you with a vehicle while you are a pedestrian, seek medical attention immediately. Then schedule a meeting with a Costa Mesa personal injury attorney to obtain the sound, personalized legal advice that you’ll need.
In California, pedestrians who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled by law to full compensation for their injury-related medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and personal suffering, and other related losses and damages.
How Will Your Pedestrian Injury Claim Be Handled?
However, even if the law “entitles” you to compensation, in order to recover that compensation, you and your attorney may need to prove that the driver’s negligence directly caused your injury or injuries. Selecting the right attorney can make all the difference.
You will need the maximum compensation that is available if you’ve suffered a catastrophic or permanently disabling injury, and you will need to be advised and represented by an attorney who knows how to recover that maximum amount on your behalf.
Your personal injury attorney will negotiate privately with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the settlement amount you need. Out-of-court settlements are how most pedestrian accident claims are resolved.
But if your claim is disputed or if the at-fault driver’s insurance company doesn’t negotiate in good faith, a Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer will take your injury claim to court and tell a jury how you were injured, how severely you were hurt, and why you should be compensated.
How Do You Prove That a Driver Was Negligent?
How does California law define negligence? As you may know, the determination of liability is the central question in personal injury cases. For your claim to prevail, your attorney must provide evidence which shows that the driver (or the “defendant”):
- owed the victim (and others on the road) a “duty of care”
- breached that duty with negligent behavior
- directly caused the victim’s personal injury with that negligence
- should pay for the victim’s medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages
However, if you are injured as a pedestrian because you were the negligent party – you walked into the street when you were intoxicated or distracted by your phone, for instance – you will not have a personal injury claim.
What Should You Do If a Pedestrian Accident Happens?
And if a driver injures you, that driver may claim that you were the one who was negligent. If a vehicle strikes you while you are a pedestrian, no lawyer will be at the scene to advise you, so take these measures to counter any false allegations:
- Summon medical help and the police. That is your first priority.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police tell you that you can go.
- Take photographs. Try to obtain the names and contact details of any witnesses.
- Do not make any statement to the insurance company before you’ve met with a lawyer.
What Else Should You Know About Pedestrian Accidents?
Do not assume that you will be fine. A latent or hard-to-detect injury could emerge days or even weeks later as a serious medical condition. For both medical and legal reasons, have a medical exam promptly if you are involved in any pedestrian accident, even if you feel perfectly healthy.
Whenever you walk in public in southern California, take some safety precautions. Don’t let yourself become distracted. Cross only at crosswalks, and where it’s possible, walk only on sidewalks. After sunset, wear bright clothing and carry a flashlight.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
The California statute of limitations for personal injury claims is usually two years from the date the injury occurred, but you should not wait two years – or even two weeks – to speak about your case with a Costa Mesa pedestrian accident attorney.
Your attorney needs to examine the evidence while it’s still fresh and speak with any witnesses before their memories fade. Your attorney will advise you through every step of the personal injury process and will bring your case to its best possible resolution.
How Can You Pay for A Lawyer If You Can’t Work?
Personal injury attorneys in California also offer the victims of pedestrian accidents a free case evaluation with no cost or obligation. It’s your opportunity to get the personalized legal advice that every victim of negligence needs.
Personal injury lawyers work for their clients on a contingent fee basis, so you pay no attorney’s fee in advance. Your attorney is paid only when and if you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
If someone injures you while you’re walking in southern California, contact a California injury lawyer as quickly as you can. If a careless driver injured you, and if you and your attorney can prove it, the law will be on your side.