Modesto Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
In the year 2013, approximately 4,735 pedestrians died, and another 66,000 injured were injured, in automobile accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This means that 14 percent of all traffic deaths and 3 percent of auto accident injuries involved pedestrians.
Those are startling statistics, especially when you consider the fact that pedestrian accidents often involve catastrophic injuries for the person hit by a car, pickup truck, or SUV. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are becoming more frequent. For example, pedestrian deaths skyrocketed by roughly 10 percent in 2015, according to U.S. News & World Report. Some analysts attribute the increase in pedestrian accidents to the proliferation of cellphone use distracting both drivers and pedestrians. Four states — California, Florida, Texas and New York — accounted for 42 percent of the pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2015, according to the aforementioned U.S. News article. California actually leads the nation in the number of pedestrian fatalities, according to the LA Times. This means that potentially hundreds of people in and around Modesto are suffering serious, permanent injuries, or are losing their lives, as a result of a pedestrian accident.
If you or a loved one was hit by a motor vehicle and suffered serious injuries, you need to contact a Modesto pedestrian accident lawyer sooner rather than later to discuss your legal options.Filing a Pedestrian Accident Wrongful Death Claim
Only specific individuals listed in the California Code of Civil Procedure can file a wrongful death legal action in a Modesto civil court. The California Code lists the following as eligible people who may take this type of legal action on behalf of a deceased loved one:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner;
- The decedent’s child, or children;
- If there is no living spouse or child, then the decedent’s parents (if living) may file a claim; or
- The executor of the decedent’s estate.
In personal injury and wrongful death claims, there are two types of monetary damages that can be recovered - economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include medical bills stemming from the accident (both incurred and future medical expenses) and lost wages due to time missed from work as a result of the accident. If you lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident and are pursuing a wrongful death claim, economic damages would include funeral and burial costs and the value of the financial support lost by your loved one’s death (both current financial support and expected future financial support).
Noneconomic damages constitute pain and suffering damages. They are those harms and losses that do not fit neatly onto an Excel spreadsheet or billing invoice. Instead, they are those intangible harms such as waking up at night with throbbing headaches or other physical aches from your injury, missing out on family events and outings, not being to play ball with your child because you are unable to walk or now have significant knee pain, and so forth.Do Not Delay - Time Limit for Filing a Pedestrian Accident Claim
Every state, including California, limits the amount of time an injured party (or the survivor of a decedent in a death case) has to file a civil claim in court against the reckless party. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case is two years from the date of your injury, according to California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1.
Basically, this means that if you do not file a lawsuit within this two-year period, a California court will likely throw your case out of court and you will lose your right to pursue financial restitution from the at-fault party.
For a pedestrian accident wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is the same as a personal injury claim. You need to bring a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of your loved one’s death.Burden of Proof in a Modesto Pedestrian Accident Case
Once your Modesto personal injury attorney files a lawsuit, you need to understand that the burden is on you (i.e. the plaintiff) to prove your case and show that the defendant was responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s death. There are specific legal elements that must be proven in court to prevail in your personal injury or wrongful death case. These elements include:
- Duty of Care – You bear the burden of showing the defendant owed a duty of care to you or your deceased loved one. For example, if you were seriously injured while crossing the street and were hit by a car, you must show that the defendant had an obligation to obey certain rules of the road while operating their vehicle. For example, they were obligated to yielding at the crosswalk or stop at a stop sign. In most cases, this is a fairly easy element to satisfy since there are established regulations that all drivers must follow when operating a vehicle in California;
- Breach of the Duty – You must show that the defendant breached the above-described duty of care. For example, in the case of an auto accident, there may be evidence that the driver was texting while driving which caused them not to see you or your loved one in the crosswalk. Or, they may have been intoxicated or driving at a high rate of speed. This evidence can be established through accident scene photographs, deposition testimony, accident reports, eyewitnesses, and so forth;
- Causation – You must show that the breach of the duty by the defendant directly caused (i.e. proximately caused) your injuries or the death of your loved one.
As you can see, there are multiple hurdles that must be overcome to prevail in a pedestrian accident injury or wrongful death case. This is why you need an experienced and skilled Modesto personal injury lawyer to represent you. I am here to help you and I have the litigation experience to get the compensation you and your family rightly deserves.Modesto Pedestrian Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto pedestrian accident attorney. If you’ve been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, please call me promptly at (209) 227-1931 for free, friendly advice.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Forum. This group is made up of the top US trial lawyers. Members of Million Dollar Forum have obtained million dollar verdicts.
See some of my Verdicts & Settlements.
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons
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