Pedestrian accidents are sadly common occurrences in California, especially in Los Angeles where roadways are not particularly pedestrian-friendly. Crosswalks are especially dangerous locations where pedestrians face a heightened risk of getting hit by a vehicle. When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, he or she is highly likely to suffer major injuries. Often, these injuries can be fatal.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to receive monetary compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. There are a variety of factors that could determine the value of the settlement after a pedestrian accident.
What Are a Pedestrian's Rights in California?
Under California law, drivers owe a duty of care to operate a vehicle in a manner that is reasonably safe. This duty of care includes looking out for pedestrians' safety. Here are some of the rights pedestrians have in California:
Right of Way in a Crosswalk
California Vehicle Code Section 21950 (a) gives pedestrians the right of way in marked and unmarked crosswalks. While pedestrians are required to take the necessary precautions, drivers have a duty to be careful and come to a complete stop when a pedestrian is walking in a crosswalk. Learn more by reading our article on do pedestrians always have the right of way.
Right to Use Sidewalks
Pedestrians have a right to use sidewalks. When a vehicle crosses over a sidewalk, drivers must look for pedestrians and yield to them. These scenarios often happen, for example, when a driver is exiting a parking lot.
Right to Reasonable Safety on the Road
Drivers who operate while speeding, distracted, under the influence or engaging in other types of negligent behavior are not exercising their duty of care. When a negligent driver strikes and injures a pedestrian, the pedestrian has the right to seek compensation for his or her injuries, damages and losses.
Common Injuries After a Pedestrian is Struck by a Car
There are a number of common causes of pedestrian accidents that can have serious consequences. Pedestrian accidents have the potential to result in devastating injuries for which they may be able to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit. Here are just some of the most serious pedestrian accident injuries:
Brain Injuries: These injuries are the result of trauma to the head. Victims may experience permanent injuries and disabilities that could potentially require nursing care as well as ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
Spinal cord injuries: Spinal injuries may range from strains and sprains to fractures or even paralysis. Some may suffer from chronic pain while others may be left with lifelong disabilities that require costly treatment and care.
Crush injuries: Because of the severe impact, pedestrian accidents result in crushed or shattered bones, which could require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. When such incidents result in amputations, prosthetics may be needed.
Internal trauma: When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, there is also often severe trauma to vital organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. Such injuries require immediate medical attention and care.
Pedestrian Accident Settlements
Motorists in California owe pedestrians a duty of care. When this duty is breached by an act of negligence, victims have the right to compensatory damages including medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering cased by an accident. In order to prove such damages, plaintiffs need evidence including medical records, pay stubs and in some cases, even expert testimony.
The road to a fair settlement is riddled with several complexities, which are challenging to navigate without the guidance of an experienced California pedestrian accident attorney. A knowledgeable LA personal injury lawyer who has handled crosswalk accidents and settlements successfully can be extremely valuable when it comes to gathering and compiling evidence, which will be critical to substantiate your claim. They can also make sure you file your case in a timely manner so your rights remain protected.
What is the Average Pedestrian Accident Settlement Amount?
Some of the factors that could affect the average payout for a pedestrian hit by a car in a crosswalk include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Prognosis for recovery
- Whether or not the injuries are permanent
- Age and health of the victim
- Insurance coverage
- Number of defendants involved
- Litigation costs
- Degree of negligence
California is a "comparative fault state," which means that the liability in a case will be split between the parties that are deemed responsible. It is important to remember that you can still receive compensation even if you are partly to blame for the accident. For example, in a crosswalk accident, you may be able to receive compensation as an injured pedestrian even if you were walking outside a crosswalk. If the driver was speeding and failed to exercise his or her duty of care, he could also be held liable for the accident.
Steps to Maximize Your Pedestrian Accident Settlement
If you have been hit by a car in a crosswalk and suffered injuries, here are some of the steps you can take to maximize your settlement:
- Gather as much information as possible including police reports, medical records, photos and videos from the accident scene and contact information for the involved parties and eyewitnesses. Your attorney can help you gather all crucial pieces of evidence that can help bolster your case.
- Remember that initial settlement offers do not represent the entirety of the damages. Your attorney can help negotiate the best possible settlement offer. While you may be feeling the financial pressure in such situations to pay medical bills and deal with lost income, having a good negotiator on your side can result in a better settlement offer that can support your ongoing treatment and recovery in the long term.
- It would also be in your best interest to retain the services of a lawyer as quickly as possible. This will help ensure that your lawyer can gather evidence and file your lawsuit within the required deadlines. In California, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is typically two years. The deadline is 180 days if the defendant in your case is a governmental entity. So, time is of the essence in pedestrian accident cases.
What Damages Can You Recover?
Some of the damages that you can recover after a crosswalk pedestrian accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Cost of hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent injuries and disabilities
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of life's enjoyment
Contacting a Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group, APC have a long and successful track record of standing up for the rights of those who have been injured because of other's negligence or wrongdoing. We focus on holding negligent people and entities accountable while pursuing compensation for victims and their families.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident and are seeking a settlement, you need the support and guidance of an experienced and resourceful legal team who can take the stress out of the process. It is critical that you are able to focus on your recovery while we fight and win on your behalf. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay unless we recover for you. Call us today for a free and comprehensive case evaluation.