In large, busy cities like Los Angeles, there are numerous reasons pedestrian accidents occur. Pedestrians may step out from behind a parked car or truck into traffic not realizing the oncoming cars have no way of seeing them until it’s too late. In other cases, small children can run right out in front of a car with no warning.
Unfortunately, however, a large number of pedestrian accidents occur because of driver distraction. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, call a Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney at Citywide Law Group. We offer a free consultation and you pay nothing unless we win.
How a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you are a pedestrian who has been struck by a distracted driver, you need immediate and expert legal help, and you need it quickly. A qualified attorney who has a great deal of experience in automobile accidents and pedestrian accidents in particular, can be your best ally through the months ahead. If you were injured by a driver, you will likely have medical expenses which could potentially bankrupt you.
A knowledgeable Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney will be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and any other damages applicable for your situation. Don’t wait, hoping everything will turn out fine, rather protect your future and your health by getting a legal professional on board early on.
What to Do Following a Pedestrian Accident
Whether you are the driver of the car or the pedestrian who was struck, it is important that you adhere to some basic rules in order to protect all those involved. Some of the things you should do following a pedestrian accident include:
- Call for medical assistance immediately—even if those involved say they are “fine.” Internal injuries are not always readily apparent, and the pedestrian could have internal bleeding or a concussion.
- Call the police, and make sure you find out where to obtain the accident report when it is finalized.
- Preserve evidence by photographing the scene;
- Jot down notes regarding what happened;
- Ask bystanders for witness statements;
- Inform your insurance company of the accident;
- Only give the basic details of the accident. Don’t talk to a representative of the other person’s insurance and never sign anything until you have had the opportunity to speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles accident lawyer.
California Statute of Limitations & Pedestrian Accidents
In the State of California, pedestrian accident lawsuits are considered civil personal injury lawsuits. Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, you only have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party. There are situations, however, that may allow you to qualify for a tolling or halting of the statute so that you are able to file a pedestrian accident personal injury lawsuit. Failure to file a lawsuit within the 2-year time frame or failure to halt the statute could result in barring your claim.
If you were injured by a government entity, such as a city bus, then you only have 6 months (180 days) to file a claim for damages. This is different from filing a personal injury lawsuit, but if you miss this deadline, you will not be allowed to pursue an injury lawsuit. Your attorney can ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines for filing a claim.
Pedestrian Injuries from a Car Accident
Of course the seriousness of the pedestrian’s injuries will depend a great deal on how fast the car was going at the time of the impact and whether the car struck the pedestrian full on, or bumped the pedestrian with the side of the vehicle. Some of the more common injuries for pedestrians struck by a vehicle include:
- Broken or fractured bones;
- Leg injuries with torn cartilage and tendons or fractured kneecaps and femurs;
- Brain injury and brain trauma;
- Back injuries;
- Internal injuries to the kidney, spleen or liver, and
- Temporary or permanent disfigurement.
The pedestrian may be partially disabled for a relatively short period of time or may end up with a permanent disability that will change their life forever. Because pedestrian accidents are nearly always serious, it is extremely important to receive proper medical care.
Determining Who is Negligent in a Pedestrian Accident
Even though there are a significant number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, it can be difficult to determine who the negligent party is. Issues which may impact the final outcome of the determination of negligence include:
- Whether the pedestrian was walking in a designated area or was jaywalking;
- Whether the crossing signal or traffic light was working properly;
- Whether the driver ran a red light or stop sign;
- Whether the driver was distracted and failed to see the pedestrian;
- In the case of a child, whether the child was properly supervised;
- Whether the pedestrian was distracted, perhaps by wearing headphones, and
- Whether the pedestrian or the driver was impaired.
California vehicle code section 21949-21971 details the laws surrounding driver/pedestrian accidents. Generally speaking, fault will be determined based on which party failed to exercise a “reasonable” standard of care under the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. In some cases, both the driver and the pedestrian may be deemed negligent. This would be true if the pedestrian was jaywalking and the driver of the automobile was traveling over the speed limit, however the determination of negligence may be handled in different ways.
What if the Pedestrian Was Partly At Fault for the Accident?
Even when the pedestrian is partially at fault, this does not preclude a claim for compensation. Under California’s comparative fault rules, a pedestrian injured in an auto accident could still be entitled to recover partial compensation from the negligent driver. The pedestrian must prove the driver engaged in an unreasonably dangerous behavior which caused the accident such as:
- Driving under the influence;
- Driving while distracted;
- Exceeding the speed limit;
- Lack of visibility on the part of the driver;
- Driving while fatigued;
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, or
- Ignoring traffic signals.
Avoiding pedestrian accidents requires that both parties remain alert and forego the use of headphone devices and cell phones. When pedestrians cross the street, they need to be especially aware of the traffic from all sides, and small children should always be held onto firmly when walking by a busy street.
If you were the victim of a pedestrian/auto accident or hit a pedestrian, you should immediately speak to an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to determine what your liability is and to ensure your rights are protected.
U.S. Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the CDC, in 2013:
- 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes across the U.S.
- Another 150,000 pedestrians were treated in ERs for injuries related to a pedestrian/auto accident.
- Adults over the age of 65 are the group most likely to die in a pedestrian accident, accounting for 19 percent of all pedestrian deaths.
- Children are the next most vulnerable group.
- One in five children under the age of 14 who were killed in an auto accident were pedestrians.
- 49% of all fatal pedestrian crashes involved alcohol impairment, either for the driver or the pedestrian.
- Excessive speeds by automobile drivers also increase the likelihood of a pedestrian being hit by a car.
- The majority of pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, at night, and in non-intersection locations.
- The increasing number of electric and hybrid cars, which operate extremely quietly have also contributed to pedestrian accidents.
- Pedestrians who are wearing headphones or texting while walking have also been responsible for a number of pedestrian accidents.
Reasons Pedestrian Accidents Occur
As a nation of multi-taskers, Americans don’t stop multi-tasking, even when they get behind the wheel. Typical driver distractions include:
- The use of a cell phone, whether talking or texting;
- Looking at a mapping or GPS device;
- Changing radio stations;
- Focusing on events outside the vehicle;
- Talking to passengers in the car, and
- Turning around to see what the children are doing in the back seat.
Speak with Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
If you have been hurt, make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Citywide Law Group has over 15 years of combined experience helping accident victims collect from the negligent party. Call us today for a free consultation.