Merced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrians are often left physically, emotionally and financially damaged after being struck by a motor vehicle. This is due to a pedestrian's lack of physical protection against a car, SUV, pickup truck or other vehicles. Even accidents at low-speeds can contribute to catastrophic injuries for a pedestrian. These may include bone fractures, chest trauma, dental damage, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Such injuries can result in extended stays at the hospital and long periods of recuperation.Incidence of Pedestrian Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents claimed the lives of 5,987 pedestrians in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This number demonstrated an overall increase of nearly nine percent over the previous year. The highest percentage of pedestrian fatalities were found to have occurred between the evening hours of 6:00 p.m. to 8:59 p.m. and in urban areas with 76 percent compared to rural areas with 24 percent. Pedestrian fatalities were more likely to occur at non-intersections with 72 percent, intersections with 18 percent and other locations (i.e., shoulders, roadsides, parking lanes, etc.) with 10 percent.Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
When a pedestrian suffers injuries after being struck by the driver of a motor vehicle, that individual may have the right to claim compensation for those injuries and other related expenses. The injuries must be proven to have been caused by driver negligence in order to claim compensation. Following are some negligent driving behaviors that are attributable to accidents involving pedestrians:
- Distracted Driving: Talking or texting on a cell phone, adjusting the vehicle stereo or navigation system, taking photos and applying makeup while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle are all considered forms of distracted driving. These distractions can increase the odds of a driver colliding with an innocent pedestrian and changing their lives forever as a result.
- Drunk Driving: This negligent driving behavior is a significant cause of traffic accidents since alcohol consumption impairs coordination, judgment and reaction time.
- Failing to Yield: Motorists are obligated to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks and designated/undesignated intersections.
- Fatigue while Driving: Drivers can experience fatigue for a variety of reasons. From sleep apnea and insomnia to working extended hours, these factors can lead to an accident with a pedestrian.
- Lack of Signaling: Pedestrians may be given a false impression that a car is proceeding straight when the driver fails to use their signal before turning. This may further increase a pedestrian's chance of an accident.
- Speeding: Speed limits are posted to ensure the safety of drivers and others on the road. Operating a motor vehicle above the posted speed limit can reduce a driver's ability to react in time to avoid a collision with a pedestrian.
Watch YouTube Video: The following video discusses the helpful safety tips in limiting your chances of being struck by a motor vehicle.Recoverable Damages in a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver are entitled to recover for the following damages:
- Medical Expenses: Any expenses related to treating a personal injury may be recovered, such as emergency room bills, hospital fees, rehabilitation, costs of surgery, and future medical treatment.
- Loss of Income: These are the wages the individual would have earned had he or she not been injured in an accident. This type of damage includes current wage loss and covers wages the person would have earned in the remainder of his or her working years.
- Disfigurement: If an injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, a victim may be reimbursed for that disfigurement as well as the costs of a cosmetic surgery.
- Pain and Suffering: This type of damage considers the emotional and physical stress caused by an injury sustained in an accident.
- Punitive Damages: These may be awarded to a victim under certain circumstances, such as the motorist intentionally caused harm to the pedestrian.
- Wrongful Death: When a pedestrian loses their life in an accident caused by a negligent motorist, surviving family members of the decedent may be left with significant financial burdens. Damages for "wrongful death" may help a family in these types of situations by covering costs of a funeral and burial, economic loss, emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship, protection, comfort, and parental care.
In most cases, pedestrians have the right-of-way. However, a pedestrian who crosses against traffic signals, jaywalks or darts into traffic may be considered negligent. The extent of fault assigned to the driver and pedestrian may be determined by witness accounts and traffic collision reports. When fault is allocated, an injured pedestrian may only be able to recover a portion of damages.Pure Comparative Negligence
California operates under a system of pure comparative negligence. This means that if a pedestrian shares partial fault in an accident, the amount of compensation that pedestrian may be entitled to may be reduced. For instance, if a pedestrian is deemed to be 40 percent at fault, then that individual would only be able to recover 60 percent of the compensation offered. As a pedestrian, it is crucial to document facts and evidence of an accident to prevent negligent parties from falsely attributing liability to you.Statute of Limitations
There is a strict time limit in which a lawsuit can be filed in California. This is called the statute of limitations, which varies in length based upon the type of negligence. A personal injury lawsuit such as a pedestrian accident must be filed within two years under California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1. If an injured pedestrian fails to file suit within this deadline, the court will most likely dismiss the case.
If the pedestrian was injured by a government vehicle, the time to file a claim is drastically reduced. Typically, you have 6 months or 180 days from the date of the accident to file a claim. There are other filing deadlines as well. It is best to contact a personal injury lawyer to protect the statute and your right to recover compensation.Pedestrian Injury FAQs
Q: What if I was struck by a hit and run driver?
A pedestrian may still be able to be compensated for their injuries and damages so long as they have an active automobile insurance policy with uninsured motorist coverage. This type of protection is optional in California; however, it is extremely beneficial to those who carry it as it may extend to other members in a household under the condition that they are not excluded from the policy. If you ever find yourself involved in an accident caused by a hit and run driver or one with a driver who does not have car insurance, your own uninsured motorist coverage may cover your damages.
Q: I was hit by a car while crossing outside of a crosswalk. What now?
When an accident occurs between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, figuring out who is to blame generally requires thorough consideration of the evidence and facts of the collision. The fact that a pedestrian was hit by a car while crossing outside of a crosswalk is one of many factors to consider when deciding fault. Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing both inside and outside a crosswalk. Alternatively, pedestrians are obligated to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic when crossing a street while outside the boundaries of a marked crosswalk. Regardless of which party has the right-of-way, each has a duty to exercise due care, and those who fail to do so can be held liable for the accident.Merced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
I'm Ed Smith, a Merced pedestrian accident attorney. When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, the results are often devastating. If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of another, please call me any time at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.1.19]