Tracy Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
I'm Ed Smith, a Tracy pedestrian accident lawyer. Survivors of pedestrian accidents often face a lifetime of emotional, physical and financial hardship. Since pedestrians have little to no protection against a motor vehicle in a collision, they are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. These may include internal trauma, dental damage, bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, chest trauma, and traumatic brain injuries. Any pedestrian injury can result in prolonged hospital stays and extended periods of rehabilitation to regain motor skill and other faculties.How Common are Pedestrian Accidents?
Unfortunately, severe collisions between drivers and pedestrians are quite frequent. Approximately 5,987 walkers lost their lives in traffic collisions in 2016, accounting as an increase of 9 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This number represents a pedestrian fatality occurring every 1.5 hours in the nation. Conversely, many of these crashes occur due to a lack of awareness on both the parts of walkers and motorists.Common Reasons for Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian safety is everyone's responsibility. However, not all drivers recognize the vulnerability of walkers in a collision. In these circumstances, a driver can be held financially responsible for a pedestrian crash. Some of the common reasons for pedestrian accidents attributable to driver error are as follows:
- Disregarding signage placed for walkers
- Distracted driving such as texting or talking on a cell phone, applying makeup, and other distractions while driving
- Driving above the posted speed limit or too fast for traffic conditions can increase the likelihood of a pedestrian crash
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to yield to pedestrians entering or leaving driveways or parking lots
- Inexperienced drivers are less likely to know where walkers tend to be present and may not know how to appropriately respond to pedestrians who are crossing
- Malfunctioning or improperly installed traffic lights can lead to devastating results for a pedestrian and driver
- Not slowing down in school zones where children tend to be present
- Inclement weather conditions
- Lack of visibility
- Overtaking a vehicle stopped in a crosswalk for a pedestrian crossing the street
- Running stop signs or red lights
- Traffic congestion
While walkers have no control over the actions of motor vehicle drivers, there are extra precautions one can take to minimize or avoid the likelihood of a pedestrian collision. Following are some tips to ensure your safety as a pedestrian:
- Avoid listening to music with earbuds and texting or calling on your phone while walking
- Be aware of traffic and look both ways before crossing
- Cross in areas where a driver's view will not be obstructed by parked vehicles, trees, and other objects
- Do not assume a driver will stop for you, even if you have the right-of-way
- Keep an eye out for reverse lights that indicate a vehicle is backing up
- Make eye contact with the driver of a motor vehicle, so they are aware you are crossing
- Obey all traffic lights and signs
- Stand as far away from the curb as possible when waiting for a bus
- Stay sober while walking and avoid the use of alcohol or drugs
- Walk facing the flow of traffic and as far from motorists as possible when there is not a sidewalk available
- Watch out for speeding or turning vehicles
- Wear bright-colored or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight when walking at night, so you are visible to oncoming drivers
- Use marked crosswalks whenever available
Watch YouTube Video: The following video includes some useful safety tips to exercise while sharing the road with motor vehicles.What Damages May Be Recovered in a Pedestrian Accident?
Determining what type of damages may be awarded after a pedestrian crash is not always straightforward. Negligence must be proven on the part of the driver to recover financial compensation in a claim for personal injury. For this reason, it is best to consult with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Tracy. Conversely, some of the damages commonly recovered in these cases include:
- Medical Expenses: All accident-related medical expenses (past and future) that are necessary and reasonable are recoverable. These may consist of emergency room visits, primary provider treatments, prescriptions from physicians, surgeries, chiropractic care, physical therapy, medical appliances, transportation expenses for medical appointments, and other medical bills.
- Wage Loss: The time an employee is off work to recover from a pedestrian injury can be reimbursed. This includes any bonuses or other financial incentives. If the injured party has suffered permanent disability from the pedestrian collision or is unable to return to work, the cost of wages lost in the future may also be recovered.
- Disfigurement: You are entitled to recover for the psychological and emotional toll in addition to the physical harm caused by your scarring or disfigurement.
- Loss of Consortium: When a spouse sustains a pedestrian injury, this may cause damage to the marital relationship. When this happens, a loss of affection, society, conjugal fellowship, assistance, and impairment or loss of sexual relations may be recovered by you and/or your spouse.
- Pain and Suffering: This type of damage is generally broken down into two separate areas: mental and physical. Both relate to the physical and psychological injuries caused by the trauma of an accident. Since there is no concrete way of proving the degree of pain and suffering, your lawyer will often depend on other evidence to substantiate your claim.
- Punitive Damages: These are awarded under certain circumstances. For instance, an injured pedestrian may claim punitive damages if the collision was caused as a result of criminal negligence such as drunk driving.
- Wrongful Death: When a pedestrian crash claims the life of a walker, those who meet the criteria of California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 may be entitled to wrongful death damages for the loss of their loved one. Compensation from a wrongful death claim can help a family in their times of loss such as covering costs of a loved one's funeral and burial, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, economic loss, lost inheritance, and loss of parental care, comfort, affection, companionship, and protection.
Pedestrians typically have the right-of-way in most cases. However, a pedestrian may be considered negligent in an accident where they dart into traffic, jaywalk, or cross against traffic signals. The extent of liability may be determined by traffic collision reports and witness accounts. When fault is shared, an injured walker may be entitled to recover only a fraction of personal injury damages.Comparative Fault
California is a comparative fault state. This means the amount of compensation awarded to an injured party will be equivalent to the percentage of fault attributed to them. For example, if a walker shares 30 percent fault for the accident, then that party would only be able to recover 70 percent of the compensation awarded. As an injured walker, it is essential to document evidence and facts of a crash to prevent responsible parties from falsely pinpointing fault on you.Statute of Limitations
In California, there is a strict limit on the amount of time for which one is permitted to file a lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. Under California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years. If a pedestrian accident claim is not filed within this deadline, the case is likely to be dismissed by the court.
If a pedestrian collision involves a government-owned vehicle or road defect, the time in which a claim must be filed is drastically shortened. An injured pedestrian generally has 180 days or 6 months from the date of a collision to file an injury claim. Since other filing deadlines and criteria must be met in government entity claims, reaching out to an experienced lawyer is essential to protect the statute and your right to fair compensation.Contingent Fee Basis
Many are under the impression that when they hire a Tracy pedestrian accident lawyer, they are going to end up paying a high hourly fee or large lump sum. However, this is not always true as most injury lawyers handle cases on a contingent fee basis. This means no fees are due upfront. A fee is only paid if your attorney is able to successfully resolve a case in your favor.Why Should I Hire a Tracy Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Many factors are involved in a pedestrian collision. For this reason, it is not always advisable to handle these types of cases by yourself. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Tracy can help in these situations by examining the evidence of the pedestrian crash and independently conducting an investigation to properly determine liability. By doing so, your injury lawyer can prepare a strong case for compensation of resultant damages.Pedestrian Injury FAQsQ: How will my medical bills be paid?
A: The insurance policy of the driver who crashed into you should cover your medical bills. However, these bills will not be paid for until the case is resolved, which can take months or years. Since your medical providers may want to be paid right away, you may use your own auto insurance policy to have these expenses covered if you have medical payments coverage. This may provide coverage for pedestrian injuries sustained in a traffic accident. If you do not have this coverage, the next option would be to go through your health insurance.Q: I was hit by a car whose driver fled the scene. Am I able to recover compensation for my damages?
A: Even if the driver who caused your pedestrian accident left the scene, you may still have recourse through your own car insurance policy so long as you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance protects you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who carries little to no liability insurance or leaves the scene of the crash. If you do not have an auto insurance policy of your own, but someone in your household does, you may still be able to recover damages. This is only possible if you are not listed as an excluded member of that policy.Q: My child was struck by a vehicle. What are our options?
A: Minor pedestrians are not held to the same standard of liability as adult pedestrians. This means that the law recognizes a child's ability to understand traffic laws and judge traffic conditions is different due to their age and lack of experience and knowledge. Since drivers owe a special duty of care for operating their vehicles in areas where children are present such as school zones, they may be held responsible for a collision. Moreover, the statute of limitations is "tolled" or suspended until a minor reaches 18 years of age. From that time, the injured party has two years to file a personal injury claim. Parents with questions or concerns regarding their child's pedestrian injury case may benefit from the insight of an experienced injury attorney.Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Tracy
I'm Ed Smith, a pedestrian accident attorney in Tracy. When a person is injured or lost in a pedestrian accident, it can be devastating for all involved. If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the fault of a negligent party or entity, please feel free to give me a call anytime at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly advice.
See what our former clients have to say about our firm on the following pages:
I am proud to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates, a forum which recognizes top trial lawyers from around the country who have won or settled a case worth more than $1 million for a client.
In recognition of my legal excellence as an injury attorney, I have been inducted into the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. This organization limits membership to the top one percent of attorneys nationwide.
To view a selection of some of our prior cases and their results, go to our Verdicts and Settlements page.
Photograph Source: By "Free-Photos" via Pixabay
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