Roseville Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Despite its sunshine and abundance of parks like Roseville’s own Maidu Park and Olympus Park, being a pedestrian in California is dangerous. An article published just last year in the Los Angeles Times declared that California has the highest number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles in the entire country. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (cited by the Los Angeles Times article), in 2014 there were 700 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles, a number that is essentially unchanged from 2013 in which there were 701 pedestrians killed. All told, about 4,735 pedestrians nationwide died in 2013 and approximately the same number died during 2014. About 11 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide are pedestrians, but in California that number is 23 percent.
Even if a collision between a pedestrian and a car does not kill the pedestrian, the pedestrian can be left with catastrophic injuries that can affect the pedestrian for the rest of his or her life. Medical payments and other expenses can easily reach into the thousands of dollars over the course of the pedestrian’s lifetime. This makes it essential that injured pedestrians seek compensation for their injuries through a pedestrian crash lawsuit.
Types of Pedestrian Collisions and Injuries
There is no single “type” of pedestrian collision and, hence, injuries sustained in one pedestrian collision can differ markedly from those injuries sustained in another collision. To make matters worse, if the pedestrian suffers a traumatic brain injury he or she may be unable to recall precisely how he or she was struck – or even that he or she was struck at all – making it challenging to establish fault and hold the party responsible for striking the pedestrian accountable for his or her actions. Fortunately, a resourceful Roseville pedestrian attorney can examine the pedestrian’s injuries as well as the damage to the motor vehicle involved and use this information to help prove the pedestrian’s case.
Most pedestrian collisions will result in damage to the pedestrian’s hips and/or legs as this is usually the first point of impact in any pedestrian collision (the location of the damage may be able to tell the angle at which the pedestrian was struck). After the initial impact, a pedestrian may be:
- Projected or thrown forward in front of the car. This usually occurs when the motorist slams on his or her brakes but still ends up hitting the pedestrian. The momentum of the car is transferred to the pedestrian, who is then sent “flying” several feet in front of the car. The speed at which the pedestrian is struck will dictate the distance the pedestrian is projected. In addition to the hip/leg injuries previously mentioned, this type of pedestrian strike can cause traumatic brain injury, spine and neck injuries, internal injuries, and road rash/severe abrasions if the pedestrian slides or skids across the pavement. Damage to the striking vehicle is usually limited to the point of first impact.
- Rolled under the vehicle. This type of pedestrian strike typically happens because the motorist did not slow down or did not slow down sufficiently before striking the pedestrian. Instead of being projected forward after impact, the pedestrian is caught and rolled underneath the car. This can be fatal to the pedestrian depending on the facts and circumstances of the strike. This type of collision can result in crushing injuries and internal injuries to the pedestrian. The undercarriage of the car may also be damaged and blood or organic matter may be found near the bumper of the car.
- Thrown over the car. In this third type of pedestrian collision, the pedestrian is initially struck by the car and then is rolled over the top of the car, landing someplace behind the vehicle. Like “roll-under” crashes, these collisions typically occur when the striking vehicle is moving too fast. The pedestrian is then thrown onto the hood of the car (or the trunk, if the vehicle is moving in reverse) and rolls onto the opposite end of the car. This can cause cuts and lacerations to the pedestrian if he or she is cut by the windshield and can result in broken bones, spine and neck injuries, and/or traumatic brain injuries depending on how he or she lands after being hit. One expects to find damage to the car’s bumper, hood, and windshield, with the more severe damage being on the same end that first hit the pedestrian.
Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Despite massive efforts by state and national government agencies to bring awareness to the problem of pedestrian accidents, the rate at which they are occurring has not dwindled or diminished much in recent years. Risky and careless behaviors by motorists can be blamed for some of these collisions: this behavior includes:
- Driving while distracted by a phone call, text message, the radio, other passengers, or any other distraction that causes the driver to take his or her attention and focus off of the road;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which can impair the senses and result in the driver needing more time to notice hazards like pedestrians and take steps to avoid a collision;
- Speeding too fast for road or weather conditions (such as not slowing down in heavy traffic, at night, or when visibility is poor);
- Disobeying traffic control signs or signals, such as by running red lights or stop signs;
- Other careless behavior.
A driver who is careless or negligent and who causes injury to a pedestrian can be liable for that pedestrian’s past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and mental pain and suffering (amongst other losses). If a driver is found to have acted willfully and wantonly or intentionally – for instance, if the driver sees a pedestrian in a cross walk and fails to make any evasive maneuver at all or accelerates his or her vehicle – punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages (as the name implies) are meant to punish a driver for behavior that is reprehensible and to dissuade other individuals from engaging in similar behavior. Punitive damages are one way that injured pedestrians and their families may feel that “justice is served” after a pedestrian crash. Your Roseville pedestrian crash lawyer can advise you regarding the nature of the compensation you might be able to recover through a pedestrian crash lawsuit, including whether punitive damages are likely available in your case.
Why You Need Representation from a Roseville Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Conventional wisdom might tell you that a pedestrian always has the right of way. This is not always true, as a pedestrian can be found to have contributed to his or her own injuries through careless or negligent conduct (such as disobeying a crosswalk control signal or crossing the street at a place other than a marked crosswalk). This can result in a reduction of the damages awarded to the pedestrian.
Safeguard your legal rights and potential compensation by retaining the services of the Law Offices of Edward Smith.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury due to a bicycle accident, call me now at (916) 921-6400 in Sacramento or at (800) 404-5400 toll-free for fast, friendly advice.
You can find out more about my office on Yelp, Avvo, and Google Plus. I am also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an organization comprised of attorneys who have won multiple million dollar verdicts for their clients.
To view past verdicts and settlements, click here.