Fresno Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, even at a relatively slow speed, the damage inflicted on the pedestrian can be catastrophic. For example, a 25-year-old man who was skateboarding in Southwest Fresno lost his life after being struck by an SUV. The tragic accident occurred at Golden State near C Street. Unfortunately, serious pedestrian accidents like this one happen quite frequently in and around Fresno.Pedestrian Accidents in California and Nationwide
Between 2005 and 2014, over 6,600 pedestrians lost their lives in collisions with motorists. That translates to nearly two pedestrians killed each and every day, per 100,000 California residents.
Nationally, the numbers are just as troubling. The number of pedestrian-related traffic fatalities skyrocketed by 11 percent in 2016 reaching nearly 6,000 deaths (5,997 pedestrian deaths to be exact). In 2015, approximately 5,376 pedestrians were killed in accidents while 4,910 pedestrians were killed in collisions with motorists in 2014. As you can see, the number of deadly pedestrian collisions are on the rise.
The massive increase in pedestrian accident deaths means 2016 was the deadliest year for pedestrians in twenty years, according to a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association. This report also highlighted the fact that the total number of automobile accident deaths increased by six percent nationwide.Causes of Collisions Between Motorists and Pedestrians
When Fresno police investigate an accident involving a pedestrian and a motorist, it is common to reach the conclusion that the motorist caused the collision. This is because many drivers are unfamiliar with the proper traffic regulations regarding what to do when approaching a crosswalk and yielding to a pedestrian. Other causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- The driver was speeding.
- The driver was texting and driving or engaging in another activity that caused them to be distracted.
- The driver did not yield to the pedestrian at a marked crosswalk.
- The driver ran a red light.
- The driver failed to stop at a stop sign.
- The driver was intoxicated.
- The driver was drowsy and fell asleep behind the wheel.
If you are physically able, there are certain actions you should take, and information you should collect, that will improve the viability of a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. Here are recommended steps to take:
- Contact the police and make sure an official accident report is filed.
- Get the full name and cell phone number of the driver that hit you.
- Get the license plate number of the vehicle that hit you.
- Get the full names and phone numbers of any witnesses who saw the accident.
- Get medical treatment right away at a local hospital, emergency room, etc.
- Do NOT agree to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s auto insurance company.
- Contact a Fresno pedestrian accident lawyer to schedule a free case review.
When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, whether it be a sedan, motorcycle, pickup truck, etc. the injuries suffered by the pedestrian can be catastrophic. This is not surprising when you consider that the pedestrian has no real protection from the full impact of the collision. This means they bear the full brunt of the impact and suffer serious bodily harm as a result. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Neck injury
- Torn rotator cuff
- Spinal cord injury (e.g., full or partial paralysis)
- Low back injury
- Amputated limb
- Lacerations to your face and body
As you can see, the injuries suffered by pedestrians can be catastrophic and potentially life-changing. This will likely result in you racking up thousands of dollars in medical bills all while not being able to work due to the severity of your bodily injuries. The end result means you can be left struggling and damaged. This includes damage to your finances, damages to your body, and damage to your mental health and well-being.
If you decide to file a pedestrian accident injury claim against the driver who hit you, such a claim affords you the opportunity to pursue financial restitution for your accrued medical expenses and future medical expenses, along with compensation for your lost wages and future earnings (especially if you are deemed partially or fully disabled as a result of the accident). You can also pursue monetary compensation for your pain and suffering, which encompasses the mental and emotional strain placed on you due to the collision.
If the driver’s conduct was particularly egregious or shocking, it may be possible to ask a court to award you punitive damages. These may be ordered by a court to punish the defendant for their deplorable conduct and send a signal to the community at large that such behavior carries severe consequences. The amount of punitive damages you could potentially recover can range from between three and nine times the amount you are awarded in compensatory damages (i.e., your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages).
For example, let’s say you were hit by a motorist while walking towards Sierra Sky Park in Fresno and filed a claim against the defendant. Your economic and non-economic damages total approximately $200,000 due to multiple surgeries you had to undergo and some permanent harms as a result of the collision. There is clear and convincing evidence that the driver was heavily intoxicated when the wreck occurred. Such evidence could qualify as shocking and/or egregious conduct that would warrant an award of punitive damages. If punitive damages can be pursued, a jury could award you anywhere between $400,000 and $1,000,000 in punitive damages. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury lawsuits due to the extremely high evidentiary burden that the plaintiff must meet for a court to even entertain an award of punitive damages.What To Do If You Are Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident
When you file a pedestrian accident claim, the financial restitution you are seeking is typically paid out by the automobile insurance of the negligent driver. But what do you do if the negligent driver fled the scene of the wreck and left you to fend for yourself? Do not lose hope. In a hit-and-run accident, you may be able to pursue a financial recovery through your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in your auto insurance policy. As the name suggests, this form of insurance coverage comes into play when you are harmed in an accident, and there is no insurance policy for the negligent party that caused your injuries, or if you were hit by a driver who stayed at the scene but did not have any auto insurance coverage.Deciding Whether to Accept a Settlement or Go to Trial
When your claim is submitted to the insurance company, a claims adjuster will be assigned to the claim file, and they will reach out to your attorney to commence settlement negotiations. In most instances, the insurance company will make a low-ball settlement offer right off the bat. Your attorney can make a counter-offer and go back and forth to see if there is a chance to resolve the claim without suit being filed.
As the client, you are empowered to accept or reject any settlement offer. Your lawyer can offer their advice and guidance on the offer, but you have the sole authority to accept or reject the offer.What Needs to Be Proven in a Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawsuit
In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff (i.e., you) are required to prove your claim and submit sufficient evidence indicating that the defendant (i.e., the driver that hit you) was negligent. In the legal world, negligence basically means that someone took action, or failed to take action, that a reasonable person would have done when confronted with similar circumstances. To establish the driver’s negligence, your Fresno pedestrian accident attorney needs to meet these four elements:
- The driver owed a duty of care to you.
- The driver failed to meet that legal duty through their action or inaction (i.e., breach of the duty of care).
- The driver’s breach proximately caused the collision.
- You suffered harms and losses as a result.
I take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no upfront costs or fees to be paid by you. I get paid once your case concludes successfully. So why not call me today?
I am proud to be a Million Dollar Advocate in the state of California. This means I have won case verdicts in excess of $1 Million Dollars for my past clients.
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Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 10.31.18]