Pedestrian accidents usually stem from driver inattentiveness. In many situations when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, drivers, particularly those who are making right turns, do not look to their left or straight ahead before making the right turn, causing some catastrophic injuries to pedestrians.
Drivers may be inattentive for different reasons such as:
- Texting, or sending an email
- Talking on their cellphone
- Looking at a different direction
- Driving under the influence
All these factors can lead to pedestrian accidents and cause pedestrians to suffer very serious injuries such as broken bones, broken legs, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, and devastating quadriplegic or paraplegic permanent injuries. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a driver, call Los Angeles pedestrian accident Joshua Glotzer today for a free consultation.
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accidents
According to the Los Angeles Times, pedestrian accidents have a huge impact on the city. After analyzing more than 665,000 traffic accidents between 2002 and 2013, 579 Los Angeles intersections were identified which had a higher than normal rate of pedestrians struck by cars. The largest number of “problematic” intersections for pedestrians were located in Downtown Los Angeles, with 48 extremely dangerous intersections.
In Koreatown, near where two Metro rail lines meet, more than 400 pedestrians were hit by cars—with eleven fatalities. Some of Hollywood’s more iconic boulevards—Santa Monica, Sunset and Hollywood are also extremely dangerous for pedestrians, possibly because of an increase in tourist foot traffic. While the city has attempted to reduce these pedestrian injuries and deaths through high visibility crosswalks and broader curbs, in the end, drivers must be alert for pedestrians, particularly in congested areas.
Types of Compensation in Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian who is injured due to the negligence of another driver, is entitled to compensation for economic and non-economic personal injury.
Economic compensation can cover past and future medical bills, past, present, and future lost wages, and lost earning capacity. If a pedestrian is permanently injured in an accident and can no longer work or do the same job, they may be entitled to economic compensation for the loss of the ability to earn a living.
An injured homemaker who suffers serious injuries from a pedestrian accident and who now needs to hire someone to do their household work may be compensated for the loss of the ability to do domestic work.
An injured person may also recover damages for the pain and suffering, emotional distress, physical impairment, the inconvenience of the accident, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary damages.
It may be difficult to put a figure on these types of damages but our firm has been successful in settling cases and convincing juries to award the maximum amount of pain and suffering, and non-economic damages that our clients deserve. Depending on the types of injuries suffered, and whether or not the injury is permanent or has permanently changed a person’s life, the value of non-economic damages may be in the millions of dollars.
What if a Wrongful Death Resulted from the Pedestrian Accident?
If a loved one was killed as the result of a negligent driver, certain family members are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf. Essentially, the same elements as those for pedestrians pursuing a claim on their own apply, other than making sure you are eligible, under California law, to bring the claim.
It is understandable that family members may be in shock following the loss of a loved one, however if the deceased was a primary wage earner in the family, then financial security may be at stake, with little time to ensure the negligent driver is held accountable.
Who Was at Fault in Your Pedestrian Accident?
While the majority of the time, the driver of the automobile was at fault, whether through negligence or simply because they failed to see the pedestrian, pedestrians can be at fault as well when they fail to exercise due caution prior to entering a roadway. Some of the instances in which the pedestrian could be at fault include:
- Ignoring traffic controls such as the “don’t walk” signal
- Jaywalking in a busy area at an unexpected location—pedestrians must cross at designated crosswalks or intersections
- In some instances, a child may “dart” away from his parents, perhaps in pursuit of a pet, a toy or another child, or toward something they find interesting. This behavior can result in tragedy for the child and parents as well as the driver who never saw the child prior to hitting him or her
- It is almost always a bad idea for pedestrians to walk on highways; highway traffic moves at high speeds, and drivers are not expecting pedestrians.
More often, the fault lies with the driver when a pedestrian is struck. Some of the most common driver errors or driver misconduct which contributes to car-pedestrian accidents includes:
- Drivers who disregard crosswalks create significant risk of a pedestrian accident
- Drivers who disregard traffic controls also increase the risk of a pedestrian accident
- Drivers who fail to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk or intersection—even when the driver has the right-of-way—can cause a serious or fatal accident.
- Drivers who are driving under the influence pose a high risk of injury to pedestrians
- Drivers who pass a stopped school bus risk the lives of children disembarking from the bus or crossing the road
- Drivers who are engaged in other activities than driving while behind the wheel are a major source of pedestrian/auto accidents. Talking on the phone, texting, turning around to scold children in the back seat, eating, changing radio stations, fiddling with the GPS device or watching something happening on the side of the road are all forms of distracted driving and can lead to tragedy.
- Drivers who disregard posted speed limit signs can cause a tragic accident when they collide with a pedestrian.
In order to successfully prove your case it must be proven that the driver of the vehicle which hit you owed you—and other pedestrians—a duty of care. It must then be shown that the driver breached this duty, whether by disregarding traffic laws, driving recklessly, or driving while distracted, and, finally, that you sustained serious injury as a result of that breach of duty.
Pedestrian Involved Hit-And-Run Accident
When a pedestrian is injured by a vehicle that does not stop, the vehicle is already involved in a hit and run and is in violation of California Vehicle Section 20002. Depending on the nature of the injury, the violation may be a felony or a misdemeanor.
The hit-and-run driver who is caught can be prosecuted criminally and additionally be made liable to pay compensation for a victim’s injuries, which will include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary injury damages.
The hit-and-run driver’s insurance company will have to cover the injuries caused by the accident. If for any reason, the hit-and-run driver does not have insurance, the injured pedestrian may still recover from their own uninsured motorist policy. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can review their insurance policy and determine whether or not the injured pedestrian is entitled to compensation under their uninsured motorist policy.
Pedestrian’s Rights under Traffic Laws
Under the California Vehicle Code, pedestrians enjoy certain rights and, as with vehicles, must obey traffic laws. In particular, pedestrians have:
- The right to cross certain highways and crosswalks in designated crossing areas
- The right of way when they are in a crosswalk, either on a green light or if there is no control light
- A car must yield to a pedestrian who is properly crossing a highway
If a driver violates the vehicle code and hits a pedestrian who is lawfully crossing in a crosswalk or in a designated area in a highway, they may be liable for negligence and to pay damages for the physical and emotional injuries, and economic injuries, to the injured pedestrian.
The Dangers to Pedestrians from Distracted Driving
It is believed that over 8,000 auto collisions per day are the result of a distracted driver who is engaged in an activity other than driving. Using a cell phone is bad, while texting is even worse. Despite the number of laws passed which prohibit texting and cell phone use, far too many drivers continue to engage in these behaviors.
Many drivers also use the inside of their vehicle as a kitchen, an office and an entertainment room. They eat an entire meal while driving, send texts or e-mails for work, drive with headphones on, turn around to see what the children are doing, read a book or a map, apply makeup and—shockingly—even change clothes. Having children in the vehicle is almost as dangerous as talking on your cell phone; having an infant in the car is considered eight times as distracting as driving with only adult passengers.
When drivers are behind the wheel they must concentrate on the task at hand, or an innocent pedestrian could be the victim and lives will be changed forever.
Get Help From An Experienced Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Many pedestrians can suffer severe catastrophic injuries, which can include life-changing injuries to their back, shoulders, arms, and legs. An accident can be traumatic and leave injured pedestrians in shock, often unable to help themselves. Our firm can evaluate your case and determine whether a legal claim for compensation exists, and we will work on your case without collecting any legal fees upfront.
We work tirelessly to obtain the maximum recovery for your case, and are prepared to try the case and get a verdict or settlement to properly compensate you for your injuries. If we don’t get a recovery, then you won’t owe us any fee.
For a free consultation, call Glotzer & Leib, LLP today at (844) 821-5271.