In recent years, pedestrian accidents and deaths in California have been increasing at an alarming rate. In Los Angeles, drivers engage in distracted driving behavior such as texting and driving which contributes to the number of accidents. Driving under the influence, speeding, and other reckless driving behaviors are also common throughout the state.
Unfortunately, victims of pedestrian accidents tend to suffer from more serious injuries compared to car accidents. Unlike an accident between vehicles, pedestrians have no protection to shield their bodies during a collision. Victims are not only physically hurt but must deal with financial stress such as lost wages and medical bills.
If the accident was due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. After an accident, victims may not know exactly how to proceed to obtain compensation for their injuries. At Mesriani Law Group, we handle every part of our client’s legal process so they can focus on their recovery. Call Mesriani Law Group today to schedule a consultation!
Here are shortcuts to the specific topics:
- 1. Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
- 2. How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help
- 3. Why Choose Mesriani Law Group
- 4. Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
- 5. Pedestrian Rules and Crosswalk Laws in California
- 6. What Do You Do If You Get into a Pedestrian Accident in Los Angeles?
- 7. Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
- 8. Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
- 9. Wrongful Death from Pedestrian Accidents
- 10. Who Can Be Liable in a Pedestrian Accident?
How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you were injured in a car accident as a pedestrian, you deserve compensation for your losses. The state of California allows pedestrian accident victims to obtain damages for their injuries. However, obtaining compensation may be difficult without the help of the right pedestrian accident lawyer. There are several important reasons why you should consider hiring a Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer including:
- A lawyer can advise you about all your legal options.
- A lawyer can help you determine the party at fault.
- A lawyer can help you prove liability.
- A lawyer has the tools and resources to gather evidence. This will significantly help you build the strongest case possible against the defense.
- A lawyer can help advise you regarding the next appropriate steps in the legal process.
- A lawyer has the experience to negotiate the maximum compensation possible for your case.
Why Choose Mesriani Law Group
While there may be numerous legal counsel options for pedestrian accident claims, choosing the right representation for your specific situation is essential to obtaining successful results. At Mesriani Law Group, we provide our clients with the following:
Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
In Los Angeles, most pedestrian accidents occur in intersections. Typically, a pedestrian will be walking inside a marked crosswalk when they get struck by a vehicle. The driver hits the pedestrian on the crosswalk while making a turn because the driver failed to see the pedestrian.
Although right-hand turns at a red light are legal in California, drivers must still stop completely at the red light and check for pedestrians before making a turn. Unfortunately, some drivers fail to adhere to flashing warning lights that indicate a pedestrian is crossing and end up hitting the pedestrian. During the night or when there are bad weather conditions such as rain or fog, the chance of a pedestrian accident increases as there is low visibility. Additionally, if the driver is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or driving distracted, this can all increase the chances of a pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian Rules and Crosswalk Laws in California
California has numerous laws that protect pedestrians. These rules were designed to keep pedestrians safe and indicate where you can legally walk without interrupting vehicle traffic. It also dictates what drivers should do when there are pedestrians crossing. Vehicle Code 21960 states that all drivers must yield to a pedestrian’s right-of-way when they are crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk. They must also yield to pedestrians when they’re crossing within marked a crosswalk at an intersection.
Other important California pedestrian rules and crosswalk laws you should know about include California Vehicle Code (VC):
- VC 467 – Defines the term pedestrian in California. In the state of California, a pedestrian is anyone who is walking, using an electric assistive mobility device because they cannot walk, or using a self-propelled device such as a wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle.
- VC 275 – Defines the term crosswalk. In California, a crosswalk can either be a portion of a road painted with distinctive white lines or other markings on the surface or where two roads meet at approximately right angles (except the extension of lines from an alley across the street).
- VC 21966 – Tells pedestrians where they’re allowed to walk. Also tells pedestrians to stay out of bike lanes when there’s an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility that includes sidewalks or designated walking paths. However, if a sidewalk is blocked, pedestrians are allowed to use bike lanes.
- VC 21950 – Pedestrians crossing the street at a crosswalk. This California law is one of the most important laws when it comes to pedestrians and crosswalk laws because it’s at the heart of many pedestrian accidents. This law states that motor vehicles must yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street inside a crosswalk. Under this law, pedestrians have the right of way. Drivers must slow down to keep pedestrians safe. This also creates a legal duty for drivers to exercise caution for the safety of pedestrians.
- VC 21955 – Requires pedestrians to use a crosswalk at an intersection. Pedestrians must use crosswalks when crossing an intersection where they are traffic signals, traffic lights, or police officers present.
- VC 21954 – When pedestrians can cross the street outside a crosswalk. This code allows pedestrians to cross the street when they’re not at a marked crosswalk or intersection. However, it requires pedestrians to yield to the right-of-way to all motor vehicles that are close enough to be an immediate hazard to the walker.
- VC 21970 – Forbids drivers from stopping inside a crosswalk and blocking it unnecessarily. This includes crosswalks that are marked and unmarked at an intersection. However, it doesn’t prevent a driver from stopping inside a crosswalk at a red right prior to making a right-hand turn.
While reading the vehicle codes may seem straightforward, some of the wording can be confusing and unclear. Unfortunately, some insurance companies use the vagueness of the vehicle code to their advantage to deny accident claims. If you’re a pedestrian who’s been hit by a vehicle, don’t let the other party’s insurance companies take advantage of you and risk denying your claim. Contact an experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
What Do You Do If You Get into a Pedestrian Accident in Los Angeles?
- Seek medical attention – As soon as possible, get professional medical attention. Not all symptoms appear immediately. Some may take days, weeks, or months to appear so it’s best to see a medical professional for a full examination as soon as you can. It’s also important to have documents that you sought medical attention after your accident for your personal injury claim.
- Report the accident – Call the police right away if you get into an accident. The police officer will take down a report of the accident scene. If you’re planning to file a personal injury claim, the police report could be critical. Police reports will be reviewed by insurance claim adjusters and defense attorneys. Details of the report will include names of witnesses, statements, insurance information, and diagrams. They will also include weather conditions that day and any other important elements of your claim.
- Do not admit fault – It’s extremely important that even if you think you could be wrong, do not admit fault because you may be incorrect. The other driver could be partially or completely at responsible for the accident. Only provide factual statements to the police but don’t speculate about how the accident happened.
- Collect as much information as you can – Write down the other party’s contact information (such as name, address, phone number), insurance information, witness contact information, and if possible, any statements. Also, write down the time, date, location, and weather conditions. Be sure to document as much of the scene as possible using a camera to take photos of injuries, vehicles, and location of accident
- Consult with a Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney – Before you settle or speak with the other party, contact a pedestrian accident injury attorney to discuss your claim. Insurance companies will always try to give you the lowest settlement possible or will try to dismiss your claim altogether. With an experienced attorney by your side, you will have the best advantage possible to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are several situations where pedestrians get hit inside a crosswalk including the following actions of a driver:
- Failure to signal before turning or stop at a red light – Vehicles failing to indicate a turn or stop at a red light is one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. Majority of pedestrian fatalities occur at intersections.
- Failure to respect pedestrian right of way – Pedestrians in California, often expect drivers to understand right of way so they will move across a vehicle’s path with the expectation that the vehicle will yield. When right of way is not respected, this often causes pedestrian collisions that result in injury.
- Speeding – Driving over the posted speed limit can cause pedestrian accidents. As the speed of a vehicle increases, so does the force of impact. Even if the driver attempts to slow down or stop to avoid a crash, the risk of deadly injury is significant.
- Distracted driving – Texting, talking on the phone, browsing the internet on the phone, eating, drinking, talking to other passengers, or engaging in any activity that takes your attention away from the road are all considered forms of distracted driving. Even taking your attention away from the road for a few seconds can lead to a deadly accident.
- Impaired driving – Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs will greatly impair driving ability. In California, anyone driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08% is considered driving under the influence (DUI). If you think that the other driver may be driving under the influence, make sure to tell the police officer to take down the report. If it’s discovered that the other driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was higher than 0.08% at the time of the accident, this may greatly help you with your personal injury claim.
- Bad weather conditions – Although Los Angeles is known for great weather, there are still days where people drive in poor weather conditions. For example, rain or fog reduces visibility and can lead to dangerous conditions for both drivers and pedestrians.
- Reversing without looking – This is often the cause of pedestrian accidents in parking lots as drivers reverse from their parking spot.
- Pedestrian negligence – Not all pedestrian accidents are caused by the drivers. Sometimes pedestrians may be responsible for an accident when they are jaywalking, walking while intoxicated, etc.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians are at high-risk for serious injuries because they have no protection against a vehicle that collides with them. Passengers inside a vehicle have safety protection such as seatbelts or airbags. Cyclists have helmets to protect their heads. Unfortunately, pedestrians have nothing to lessen the impact of a vehicle crash. Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Brain and head injuries – Often, cars that crash into pedestrians cause them to hit their heads with significant force. As result, victims may sustain head and brain injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, or facial disfigurement.
- Crush injuries – Bones are likely to break when the force exerted onto them is stronger than the force they can handle. The heavy force from the impact of a car accident can likely leave pedestrian accident victims with crushed bones including lower legs, arms and wrists, femurs, hips, clavicles, and ribs.
- Amputations – Some injuries are so severe that victims may need certain parts of their bodies amputated. Examples include loss of limbs such as arms or legs.
- Internal bleeding – Injuries from accidents may not always appear on the outside. Internal bleeding is also a common pedestrian accident injury. Accidents may cause a victim’s blood vessels to burst or damage internal organs.
- Spinal cord injuries – Injury to the spinal cord can disrupt neurological messages from the brain and cause loss of function in various body parts below the damage. Spinal cord injuries can leave victims with devastating damage resulting in partial or complete paralysis. Victims will likely need to spend a significant amount of time in the hospital to rehabilitate. Unfortunately, even with the best medical care, some victims end up never being able to walk again.
- Torn and sprained ligaments – These injuries are generally non-fatal but can still be debilitating. Mild to moderate sprains may take about 3 to 8 weeks to heal. More severe injuries can take up to several months for a full recovery.
- Fractures – Partial or complete break in bones including arms, legs, ribs, or pelvis. The main symptom of fractures is pain and victims may lose functionality depending on the area affected. Treatment typically involves resetting the bone back in place and then immobilizing it in a splint or cast to give it time to heal. In more severe injuries, metal rods and surgical procedures may be required to reset the bone.
- Scalp lacerations – A blunt force to the scalp may result in scalp lacerations or tears in the skin and underlying tissues. The scalp is more susceptible to lacerations since it is stretched over the bone. Scalp lacerations need immediate medical attention because they can easily get infected. Disfiguring scars may cause emotional distress for some victims.
- Abrasions, contusions, and lacerations of the face and hands – These injuries are usually non-fatal but should still receive medical evaluation and treatment.
Wrongful Death from Pedestrian Accidents
In the most extreme pedestrian accident cases, pedestrians do not survive the crash. In 2019, more than 7,000 pedestrians died in traffic or non-traffic accidents. Victims must endure extreme pain before they pass away and loved ones must deal with the grieving process of losing a partner, sibling, child, or parent. Losing a loved one is never easy. And it can be even more difficult if the deceased were the financial provider of the family.
In California, certain family members and dependents have the right to file a wrongful death claim when losing a loved one. Family members can seek recovery for losses including:
- Medical care expenses provided to loved one prior to their death
- Loss of income of a loved one
- Future financial support
- Loss of household services such as childcare, cleaning, and cooking
- Loss of benefits or gifts an heir expected to receive from the deceased
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Training and guidance
- Moral support
- Sexual intimacy
No amount of money can bring back your loved one. However, compensation can help your family recover financially so you can focus on moving forward.
Who Can Be Liable in a Pedestrian Accident?
After a pedestrian accident, the victim should seek financial compensation from the party at fault. California is considered a fault-based car accident state and that means the driver that hit the pedestrian will likely be responsible for the damages. An experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer can help build a strong case against the party at fault and hold them responsible.
Common examples of parties that can be liable in a pedestrian accident include:
- The driver – Common causes of pedestrian accidents include speeding, distracted driving such as texting and driving, failing to yield to the right-of-way, and impaired driving. If a driver causes an accident, their insurance company may be responsible for the damages.
- The company – If you were hit by a car driven by an on-duty driver employed by Uber, Lyft, USPS, UPS, or another business, the company could be held liable for your injuries. Generally, employers are responsible for the mistakes of their employees.
- The government – If defective crosswalks, sidewalks, or street signals contributed to the cause of your pedestrian accident, the city government may be responsible.
Determining the responsible party for your injuries is only one step of the legal process. To receive compensation, a full and thorough investigation is required. Our law firm has the knowledge and resources to gather evidence and build the strongest case possible against the party at fault. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact us today for a free case analysis.
Determining Liability in a Pedestrian Accident
To establish liability, you must prove negligence on the part of the other party. In California the elements of negligence include:
- Duty of care – The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal obligation to behave in a certain manner that a reasonable person would. For example, all drivers in California have a duty to be mindful and cautious to prevent injury to themselves and to others.
- Breach of duty of care – As a result of their careless action, the defendant breached their duty of care. For example, a driver may have breached his or her duty of care by texting and driving.
- Causation – The defendant’s breach of duty was the main cause of the pedestrian accident.
- Damages – As a result of the pedestrian accident, the plaintiff suffered compensable losses including physical injuries or lost wages.
If a reasonable person would have acted differently in a similar situation, the defendant will be held responsible for the victim’s injuries.
Establishing just one of the elements of negligence isn’t enough. To determine liability, all elements of negligence must be proven. To build a strong case, you’ll need to provide evidence such as police reports, videos, photographs, eyewitness statements, expert testimony, and medical records. A Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney at Mesriani Law Group can help you gather evidence after an accident and make sure you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Pedestrian Accident Statute of Limitations
In California, the statute of limitations refers to the deadline to file a claim. Generally, the courts would refuse to hear your lawsuit if you missed the deadline. As a result, you will not be able to hold the other party responsible and will not be able to obtain compensation for any losses suffered from the accident.
In California, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you did not discover your injury until later, then the clock starts from the day you discovered your injury. Cases against the government like the City of Los Angeles or another government agency have a six-month deadline.
Compensation in a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accident victims are entitled to receive damages for their losses. Damages refer to the amount of money paid to the victims as compensation for losses suffered. At Mesriani Law Group, our pedestrian accident attorneys can help you claim damages such as:
- Lost wages (current and future)
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Emergency medical care
- Other related medical expenses
- Rehabilitative care
- Disability compensation
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma
- Worsened quality of life
- Wrongful death damages
To obtain damages, you must provide evidence to show that you suffered these losses. Our attorneys are highly experienced at proving our clients’ losses and can help you obtain the maximum compensation. Contact our law office today for your free consultation.
Speak to a Mesriani Law Group Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
After a serious pedestrian accident, don’t wait to speak with an accident lawyer. In California, there is a strict deadline for filing your claim so be sure to contact our lawyers as soon as possible. We accept clients on a no win, no fee basis and that means if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay us anything. To schedule a free consultation, call (866) 500-7070 today.
Pedestrian Accident Lawyer FAQs
What is pedestrian negligence?
There are certain situations where a pedestrian may be considered negligent for an accident. A pedestrian may be at fault in the following situations:
- Pedestrians acted in a careless or reckless manner when crossing the roadway such as running across the street into traffic.
- Pedestrians who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Pedestrians who walk along or cross roadways where there’s no clear pedestrian crosswalk.
- Pedestrians who don’t follow traffic laws or signals and cross a roadway illegally.
What happens if a pedestrian causes an accident?
If a pedestrian was the cause of the accident, the pedestrian may be held responsible for damages suffered by the driver. These damages may include lost wages, medical expenses, property damage to the vehicle, and pain and suffering. Even if the pedestrian was also injured, they may still be responsible for damages to the driver.
What laws protect pedestrians in California?
California has crosswalk laws that protect pedestrians. These laws dictate when and where pedestrians can walk around Los Angeles and throughout the state. There are multiple California pedestrian laws but some of the most important ones include the following California Vehicle Code (VC):
- VC 467– Definition of a pedestrian.
- VC 275 – Definition of a crosswalk.
- VC 21950 – Covers when pedestrians cross the road at a crosswalk.
- VC 21955 – Tells pedestrians they are required to use crosswalks at intersections.
- VC 21954 – Requires pedestrians to yield the right-of-way to vehicles when they want to cross the street outside a crosswalk.
- VC 21970 – Prohibits drivers from stopping in a crosswalk and blocking it.
- VC 21456 – Tells pedestrians when they can cross the street using a traffic light.