Pittsburg Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Walking is one of the most fundamental elements of human movement. With the popularity of fitness trackers and smartwatches, we often hear of people trying to reach their goal of 10,000 steps. While that number is not definitive, there is no doubt that taking a long walk is a healthful daily habit to get into. The ease with which one can simply walk out the door and stroll their own neighborhood a big reason why walking is touted as such an accessible activity. However, dangers do exist when you walk in areas that share the roads with motor vehicles. Incidents of pedestrian versus car accidents have been increasing in recent years. If you or a loved one has been hit by a vehicle while walking, protect your legal rights and promptly contact a skilled Pittsburg pedestrian accident lawyer.Stoneman Trailhead - Pittsburg
To avoid vehicle traffic altogether, look for a nearby trail to explore while getting in your daily steps. Park your vehicle at the Stoneman Trailhead within John Henry Johnson Park and explore some of the 190 acres designated for public recreational use. The trail is concrete-paved and winds through tree groves along the John Henry Johnson Parkway. A short walk along the trail up into the hills offers the reward of some of the best views in the region. On a clear day, you can see for miles.Walking Near Traffic
For most of us, it is not always practical to limit our walks to offroad trails. Often, we must share the roads with nearby vehicle traffic. We all need to get from our car to the grocery store entrance, for example. Even walking the streets within a quiet suburban neighborhood presents a risk due to inattentive or careless drivers. Urban areas are the most dangerous and are where most pedestrian fatalities occur.Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way?
The short answer to this question is: sometimes. According to the California Vehicle Code Section 21950, motorists must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing within a designated crosswalk or within a crosswalk that is unmarked but located at an intersection. The section says that this does not absolve the pedestrian from using due care to protect their own safety. It outlines specifically that a pedestrian may not:
- Leave a curb or area of safety to suddenly move into a vehicle’s path, creating an immediate hazard.
- Unnecessarily delay or stop traffic while within a crosswalk (marked or unmarked).
The section states that motorists approaching pedestrians within unmarked or marked crosswalks are required to reduce speed, exercise due care, and take necessary actions to protect the safety of the pedestrian.
In summary, according to the California Vehicle Code, motorists and pedestrians share responsibilities for road safety.Pedestrian Accidents - Common Causes
In the majority of pedestrian accident cases, the motorist will be found at least partially at fault. Some of the examples of driver negligence that can cause such an accident include:
- Texting while driving or other distracted driving behavior
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Failure to yield to a crossing pedestrian at an intersection
- Failure to stop at a traffic control device
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to use extra caution during darkness or in other conditions of decreased visibility
- Traveling at an unsafe speed
- Attempting to pass a vehicle after failing to notice it had stopped for a pedestrian
Just because one is a pedestrian does not make it acceptable to suddenly dodge in and out of traffic without a care in the world. Those on foot must exercise caution to protect their own safety. Some behaviors that promote a safe walking experience include:
- Be mindful of your surroundings during your entire walk.
- Do not use earbuds to listen to music or be engrossed in a phone conversation.
- Do not text and walk or browse on your phone while walking.
- Use reflective clothing or a portable light to increase your visibility at night.
- Make sure the motorist sees you before you begin to cross the street in front of a car.
- Walk in the opposite direction of traffic and as far away from vehicles as possible.
- Follow all the rules of the road.
- Assume that all drivers cannot see you and act accordingly.
Watch the YouTube video. CalTrans frequently releases videos focusing on pedestrian safety. Below is a clip from a few years back encouraging everyone to safely share the roads.Pedestrian Accidents - Damages
A pedestrian who is struck by a reckless or negligent driver has the right to seek monetary compensation for damages. In most cases, this is initiated by filing an injury claim with the motorist’s automobile insurance. Below are some of the categories of recoverable damages:
- Medical Specials. This category includes bills for medical treatment that was necessitated by the injuries suffered in the accident. If your physician assesses the need for future treatment, it will also include an amount for that expected medical care. Because of the severity of injuries often inflicted on a pedestrian by a vehicle, the medical costs can be significant.
- Income Loss. When injuries preclude you from going to work, you have the right to seek that lost income from the negligent party. This can include the period shortly after the accident, during which your injuries are acute, and future income loss if your injuries prevent you from returning to your regular work. Pedestrian accidents have the potential to permanently disable the victim, so again, this number could be quite high.
- Pain and Suffering. This category of non-economic damages seeks compensation for the physical pain and mental distress you suffered due to the accident. A skilled Pittsburg pedestrian accident lawyer will know how to document the ways in which the injuries affected your life to maximize the value of these damages.
Other potential areas of monetary recovery include:
- Punitive Damages. If the driver acted in an egregiously negligent manner, punitive damages meant to punish the bad actor may be awarded. One example would be if the driver was convicted for driving under the influence and had a very high blood alcohol content (BAC). While punitive damages are not commonly awarded, a pedestrian accident attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of such cases can assess whether they should be sought.
- Loss of Consortium. If applicable, the spouse of the injured pedestrian may be awarded damages to compensate for the adverse effects that the injuries had on the marital relationship.
Because of the physics involved in such an accident, pedestrian-versus-vehicle accidents often cause fatal injuries. If a family member is killed in a pedestrian crash, their heirs may be able to seek damages related to the wrongful death.Statute of Limitations
The time limit to settle or file suit on a California personal injury case (including wrongful death) is two years. In cases where a negligent governmental agency is involved, action must be taken within six months. Injured minors have more time to file. It is recommended that legal counsel is promptly sought to protect the rights of the injured. If the case is not settled or a lawsuit filed within the applicable time limit, all rights to monetary recovery will likely be lost.Pittsburg Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
My name is Ed Smith, and I am a Pittsburg pedestrian accident lawyer. Given the severe injuries that often result from pedestrian accidents, we strongly urge you to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after the unfortunate event. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver, reach out to the injury lawyers at my firm. We specialize in compassion and are always willing to offer free and friendly legal advice. Our local number is (925) 428-5220. If you are calling from outside the local area code, use our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.
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Photo Attribution: MMB
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