Personal Injury Law Blog

Average Payout for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car in California

It’s difficult to imagine the pain of walking down the street and being hit by a car. Pedestrian accidents produce particularly devastating results. These results are mainly due to the severe disadvantages of pedestrians when matched with a vehicle. Despite safety measures in place like crosswalks and sidewalks, pedestrian accidents remain a serious safety issue in California. In 2018 alone, more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured in accidents with vehicles. That same year, 893 pedestrians were killed on California roadways. Pedestrians take a risk when walking in cities and even their own residential neighborhood. If you were hit by a car, you may be overwhelmed by mounting medical bills and the emotional trauma after such a terrifying event. As a pedestrian hit by a car, you can rely on a qualified personal injury attorney to answer questions about compensation.       

Pedestrian Rights in California 

All drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care in California. This duty of care obligates drivers to operate their car reasonably and look out for pedestrians’ safety. Some pedestrian rights include the following. 

Right of Way When in a Crosswalk

The California Vehicle Code Section 21950 provides that pedestrians generally have the right of way in crosswalks. While pedestrians are required to take precautions, drivers must be careful when driving around marked crosswalks, and this includes stopping when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. 

Right to Use Sidewalks 

Pedestrians have a right to use sidewalks. When a vehicle crosses over a sidewalk, drivers must always yield to pedestrians, and there are no exceptions to this rule. 

Right Not to be Hit by a Car 

A driver must not unreasonably operate their vehicle, including speeding, engaging in distracted driving, driving while under the influence, or any other negligent behavior. If a driver hits a pedestrian while engaging in this type of negligent behavior, the pedestrian should seek compensation from the driver.  

Common Injuries After a Pedestrian is Hit by a Car in California

Pedestrian accidents produce particularly devastating results. Pedestrians can suffer severe injuries to various parts of their bodies. A pedestrian hit by a car in California may file a lawsuit to recover compensation for one or all of the following injuries after their accident.

Head and Brain Injuries

Pedestrians often sustain severe head injuries after a car accident, including skull fractures, facial disfigurement, and traumatic brain injuries. Victims may experience permanent physical impairment and cognitive issues requiring 24-hour supervision. While many never fully recover, others require long-term rehabilitation, which delays their ability to resume any semblance of everyday life.  

Spinal Cord Injuries 

Spinal cord injuries cause partial or permanent body function. Those suffering from spinal cord injuries require specialized emergency treatment and extensive time in the hospital for rehabilitation. Despite this comprehensive and expensive care, some may never regain full function of their body. 

Internal Injuries

A vehicle collision may cause severe internal trauma to a pedestrian’s body. Internal injuries require immediate attention to avoid further damage; however, despite emergency care, some organs may never fully function the way they did before the accident. 

Crush Injuries 

Due to impact, some pedestrian accidents cause crush injuries that shatter bones permanently, and this may result in amputations of limbs. The rehabilitation process is extensive and may require prosthetics—in addition to emotional rehabilitation from the trauma of losing a limb. 

What Factors Affect Pedestrian Accident Settlements in California? 

Multiple factors impact the average settlement for a pedestrian hit by a car. A personal injury attorney evaluates the facts surrounding a case to determine which factors may impact settlement values. The most common factors impacting the average payout for a pedestrian hit by a car include:

  • The severity of injuries, 
  • Recovery prognosis, 
  • The permanence of injuries, 
  • Age and overall health of injured party, 
  • Number of defendants, 
  • Insurance coverage, 
  • Comparative negligence, and
  • Litigation costs. 

Additionally, there are often mental and emotional effects impacting pedestrian car accident settlements. Consulting with an attorney is vital to obtain a fair and accurate estimate of your case value. 

How to Maximize a Settlement After a Pedestrian Was Hit by a Car 

One of the best ways to maximize pedestrian accident settlements in California is undertaking the following steps following an accident. 

Seek Medical Attention 

All pedestrian accidents require medical attention. Even if you believe you are unharmed, symptoms may appear in the days and weeks ahead. A complete medical evaluation maximizes the average settlement for a pedestrian hit by a car and provides the evidence needed to support your compensation claim. 

Gather Information

A pedestrian hit by a car seeking compensation should gather all relevant information related to their accident. After being hit by a car, maximize your settlement by retaining the following types of information:

  • Police reports, 
  • Emergency room records,
  • Witness information, 
  • Photographs of the accident and your injuries, and
  • Contact information of involved parties.

Additional information that supports your claim for compensation includes evidence of missed work due to your injuries. 


Insurance companies may push for acceptance of an initial settlement offer after a pedestrian was hit by a car. Although you may be eager to accept this first offer of compensation, it’s important to negotiate. Your attorney understands that most initial offers fail to represent the entirety of your damages. Holding out for a better offer may be difficult considering that many victims feel the pressures of mounting medical bills and an inability to work. However, patience in negotiations often results in settlement offers that better support your recovery needs in the long term. 

Act Quickly 

You can also maximize your average settlement as a pedestrian hit by a car by acting quickly. As time passes, the recollections of eyewitnesses fade and evidence becomes harder to locate. Additionally, the longer you take to file your lawsuit, the longer it takes for you to get the compensation you need to recoup your financial and non-economic losses. 

California provides for a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. This statute of limitations requires a victim to file their lawsuit within two years from the date of their accident. Failure to file within this timeframe bars you from filing a lawsuit and eliminates your opportunity to recover any compensation from the negligent driver. 

What Can I Recover? 

As a pedestrian hit by a car, you may wonder what compensation you are entitled to recover. In California, a pedestrian hit in a crosswalk may recover compensatory damages for their losses. Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages 

Economic damages represent financial losses determined with certainty. These damages include the following:

  • Medical expenses, 
  • Lost wages and income, and
  • Loss of earning capacity.

Retain all records related to these damages, including receipts, bills, and pay stubs. Economic damages are a vital part of any claim and must be fully accounted for to recover. 

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are subjective and intangible losses that are not easily calculable. Non-economic damages impact the average compensation a victim may receive for being hit by a car and include the following:

  • Pain and suffering, 
  • Emotional distress, 
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement, 
  • Permanent disability, 
  • Loss of quality of life, and
  • Loss of consortium.

Non-economic damage awards vary greatly from case to case. However, a personal injury attorney understands the positive impact a just non-economic damage award has on your recovery. 

Contact Us 

With over fifty years of legal experience, attorneys Joshua Glotzer and Daniel Lieb of Glotzer and Lieb, LLP have advocated for accident victims in the Los Angeles area. Glotzer & Lieb, LLP focuses on holding reckless people accountable for their actions while pursuing just compensation for their victims.

As a pedestrian involved in a car accident, seeking a settlement requires the support of an experienced legal team. We know the stress you must be under. It’s impossible to focus on recovering while you’re worrying about your medical bills and lost wages. With us, you never have to worry about paying your legal fees. You don’t pay unless we recover for you. Call us today for a free case evaluation!  

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