The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that each year approximately 5,000 pedestrians die as a result of accidents involving motor vehicle. There is now a continued push for individuals to exercise, and many cities are developing attractive streets and parks to promote more pedestrians and reduce the number of cars on the road. Unfortunately, the incline in pedestrians goes hand-in-hand with increase in pedestrian-accidents.
In any collision with a car or a truck, pedestrians have little protection against bodily harm and even death. Pedestrians who are hit by motor vehicles often suffer significant injuries and required significant medical care. Car insurance policies for offending drivers often have limited policy that is insufficient to cover the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. As such, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney who will examine and consider all avenues of recovery.
The problem with pedestrians is that they are often very difficult to see. Drivers today are more distracted than ever while driving with the massive availability of MP3 players, portable DVD players, cell phones, and iPads. A distracted and negligent driver can easily crash into a pedestrian and ruin their lives. While most pedestrian-involved accidents take place while pedestrians are in a crosswalk, there are different places that a motor vehicle can strike a pedestrian.
In order to protect pedestrians, California enacted several laws that apply to pedestrians. Unfortunately, drivers of motor vehicles often ignore those laws, resulting in pedestrians being injured. Some of the laws protecting pedestrians include:
- The requirement for drivers to stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing in marked or unmarked crosswalks or at intersections. Even when outside of a crosswalk, motor vehicle drives are required to use caution when driving.
- Motorists must never drive on sidewalks that are designated as safe routes for pedestrians.
- Motorists must also stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other vehicles especially when pulling out parking lots or driveways.
As many pedestrian-involved accidents result in death, the ability of family members to recover damages is important. A wrongful death claim is a mechanism that allows one to recover for the death of a pedestrian. A wrongful death claim seeks compensation from at-fault parties for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship.
Here are some common questions about pedestrian accidents:
A car hit me and I am hurt. What should I do next?
A quick checklist of things to do after a pedestrian accident:
- Write down as much information as possible about the accident.
- Scan your vicinity. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their contact info.
- Gather and preserve evidence. This includes any photos or videos at the scene of the accident, the torn and bloody clothing you were wearing, or a medical journal detailing your physical injuries and pain.
- Get immediate medical treatment. This is important for your well-being and to document the physical trauma you have suffered.
- Contact an experienced injury attorney to immediately begin your claim.
Are pedestrian accidents treated like normal car accidents?
A pedestrian accident should not be treated the same as a crash between two motor vehicles. Pedestrians are way more likely to die, or sustain significant injuries in a collision, than a motor vehicle driver or passenger who is protected by the metal sheets of a car. The injuries are often catastrophic and require more financial resources for the victim to recover or resume life as normally as possible.
Injured pedestrians can obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, insurance companies fight hard against paying the full amount that the injured victim is entitled to. This is why a personal injury lawsuit is often necessary to put the financial burden on the shoulders of the at-fault party or their insurance company.
I was injured in a hit-and-run. What should I do?
Call the police immediately. The police will arrive at the scene, investigate and create a report. Provide as much information as possible about the vehicle, make, model, color and license plate. You should then hire an experienced attorney to conduct a thorough investigation of the scene of the accident, and determine if there are any clues that can lead to the hit-and-run driver.
I was hit while walking, but I don't think I suffered any major injuries. What should I do?
It is common for severe injuries to first manifest hours or days after the accident. Inflammation/swelling can create a lot of pain and cause the victim to seek bed rest. You need to get checked out by a medical doctor.
An experienced attorney will help you protect your legal rights, such as negotiating with the insurance company or filing a timely lawsuit.
What damages are recoverable in a pedestrian accident?
In seeking a claim for injuries to a pedestrian, the goal is to place the entire financial burden of an injury or death on at-fault party. Pedestrians can be compensated for the following:
- Medical bills
- Cost of rehabilitation
- Resulting disability
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Additional damages may be available depending on the unique circumstances of the case. In some instances, loss of enjoyment life or loss of consortium may apply and entitle the victim to further compensation.
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If you or your loved one was hurt or killed as a pedestrian due to the negligent of another, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible for a FREE no obligation consultation.