Understanding Pedestrian Accidents in California
Walking is one of the healthiest and most enjoyable ways to see the beautiful state of California. Over the past few decades, the number of people who choose to walk in California has steadily risen. Unfortunately, pedestrians are not always safe on the road and are at risk of suffering serious and fatal injuries. Pedestrians who are injured in a California traffic accident may have the right to receive compensation for their injuries. With the assistance of an experienced California personal injury attorney, these pedestrians can recover the money they need and deserve in the aftermath of an accident. See our guide on how to find a good personal injury attorney in California for more help.
Pedestrian Accidents in California
With more pedestrians and cars sharing the road than ever before, serious and deadly accidents are inevitable. Over the past decade, the total number of fatal pedestrian accidents in California has increased. At the same time, the number of injury-causing pedestrian accidents in California has actually decreased slightly. This means that while the overall number of pedestrian accidents are declining, the harm caused by the accidents that do occur is much greater.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Accidents involving pedestrians in California can be caused for a variety of reasons. Some of the most frequently cited causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Walking at night
- Drinking and walking
- Failing to wear reflective materials
- Distracted drivers
- Drunk drivers
- Failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Dangerous road and/or sidewalk conditions, and
- Defective vehicles.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Unlike motorists on the road, pedestrians have nothing to protect themselves in the event of a crash. This puts pedestrians at an extremely increased risk of suffering a catastrophic injury and/or death. Pedestrians who are injured in a California traffic accident may be entitled to recover compensation for injuries including:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Burn injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Amputation, and/or
- Wrongful death.
Liability for California Pedestrian Accidents
Injured pedestrians may be able to recover compensation for their injuries, but who is responsible for paying these damages? In California, any person whose negligence contributes to the cause of an injury-causing accident can be held financially responsible for harms that result. Each responsible party will be held liable to the degree they contributed to the crash. If the injured pedestrian contributed to the accident, his or her ability to recover compensation will be limited. Potentially liable parties for pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Drivers of vehicles on the road
- Government entity responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the road and sidewalks, and
- Manufacturers of defective vehicles and equipment.
Damages for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
What kind of damages can an injured pedestrian accident victim recover? California generally allows injured accident victims to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages help to compensate victims for the financial out-of-pocket losses they have because of an unexpected accident. These damages can compensate for medical expenses, lost wages, and/or a reduced earning capacity. Non-economic damages help to compensate victims for the subject and hard-to-value losses they suffer as the result of an accident. These damages can compensate for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of life. The specific amount(s) they can receive will depend on the extent and seriousness of their injuries.
Hiring an Attorney Will Maximize Your Recovery
If you have been injured in a California pedestrian accident you may be entitled to compensation from the person responsible for your accident. The two-year statute of limitations began to run the moment you were injured, so it is important to speak with an experienced California personal injury attorney as soon as you can. Hiring an attorney will not only make sure that your claim is filed on time, but also help to ensure that you will be fairly compensated for your injuries. Insurance companies may be quick to offer you a settlement, but this money will not be enough to cover the full extent and cost of your injuries. An attorney will know how to leverage insurers and at-fault parties into fully compensating you for the unexpected harms you have suffered.