Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Walking is one of the first skills that children master, and it can certainly come in handy when you want to get from point A to point B. After all, walking is an excellent way to fit some exercise into your day, it’s good for the environment, and it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the gorgeous weather in California’s Orange County. However, sharing the roads with cars and other vehicles can be a dangerous activity for pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,205 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2019. Others survived the accident but were left to deal with serious, life-changing injuries.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a pedestrian accident, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you build a convincing case to recover the financial compensation that you deserve. The experienced attorneys at Kubota & Craig are committed to seeking justice for the injured.
Pedestrian Accidents by the Numbers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some eye-opening statistics on accidents involving pedestrians in the United States:
- In 2017, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents. That works out to roughly one death every 88 minutes.
- In 2017, it’s estimated that 137,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries.
- Alcohol can be a factor in deadly crashes involving pedestrians. Some 33% of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter. Meanwhile, 17% of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a driver with a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 g/dL. In some crashes, both parties were impaired.
- Per trip, a pedestrian’s risk of dying in a car crash is 1.5 times that of someone riding in a passenger vehicle.
Unfortunately, being a pedestrian in Irvine and other parts of the Golden State may be particularly hazardous. As the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports, five states accounted for 43% of all pedestrian deaths. California was one of those five states. The others were Florida, Texas, New York, and Arizona.
Staying Safe as a Pedestrian
While traveling by foot may involve certain risks, there are steps pedestrians can take to stay safe:
- Follow the rules. Obey traffic signs and signals.
- Stay alert. Avoid distractions like cellphones or earbuds.
- Be visible. Opt for bright or reflective clothing. Carry a flashlight at night.
- Use sidewalks. If no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic.
- Watch out for cars entering or exiting driveways as you walk down the sidewalk.
- Look carefully before crossing the street. If possible, make eye contact with drivers of oncoming cars to verify that they have seen you.
- Cross streets at crosswalks. If no crosswalk is available, choose a place where you can see oncoming traffic.
- Don’t walk if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Laws for Pedestrians
Using a crosswalk doesn’t automatically give a pedestrian the right of way. Being behind the wheel doesn’t hand the power to a driver. Both parties have a responsibility to share the streets. According to the California Vehicle Code:
- Drivers should yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
- Drivers should not pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk because it may be stopped for a pedestrian.
- Drivers are only allowed to drive on the sidewalk when entering or exiting a garage or alleyway. When doing so, they must yield to pedestrians.
- Drivers should never stop in a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians may never jaywalk. If a pedestrian who is jaywalking causes an automobile accident, they’ll be held responsible for the crash.
Responsibility for an accident can be shared between multiple parties. It’s also worth noting that criminal wrongdoing and fault are not necessarily the same thing. Even if the other party is legally in the wrong, you’ll still need to show that you exercised due care to avoid being found at fault. These types of accidents can be complicated. That’s why having an experienced lawyer who knows how to gather the evidence necessary to build your case is essential.
Types of Injuries
Vehicle manufacturers have spent decades improving the safety features that protect drivers in the event of a crash. Pedestrians are far more exposed, and that puts them at a very real disadvantage. While the severity of their injuries often depends on numerous factors, including the vehicle’s speed, the body part that was struck, the vehicle’s design, the angle of impact, where the accident occurs, and how quickly help arrives, the pedestrian is often left dealing with significant trauma. Injuries commonly suffered by pedestrians struck by vehicles include the following:
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Broken and fractured bones.
- Internal bleeding.
- Nerve damage.
- Leg and knee injuries.
- Torn ligaments.
- Severe cuts and lacerations.
- Permanent or temporary disfigurement.
What to Do If You’re Involved in an Accident
What should you do if you’re involved in a pedestrian crash? Stay calm, and make safety your priority.
If possible, get out of the road, and move to a safe area away from traffic. Call 911, and request the appropriate medical assistance. Be aware that some injuries like concussions and internal bleeding are not always immediately apparent.
If you can do so, exchange information with the driver involved. They should share their name, contact information, and insurance information. Unfortunately, some drivers will flee the scene. If this happens, try to make notes of whatever you remember. If your condition allows, you can also try to gather evidence at the scene. Take photos and talk to witnesses.
Be sure to seek the medical care that you need promptly and keep careful records of your treatment. If you delay, they may try and argue that your injuries were not serious or were unrelated to the accident.
Finally, you’ll want to reach out to an experienced attorney. A legal professional can review the specifics of your case and discuss your options.
Potential Compensation for Victims of Pedestrian Accidents
Having an experienced pedestrian accident attorney on your side is vital if you hope to maximize your compensation after a pedestrian crash. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers ready to try and shift the blame onto the pedestrian. Having a lawyer on your side prepares you to fight fire with fire by ensuring that you have someone who knows how the system works and what evidence you’ll need to gather to make your case effectively.
It’s worth noting that California operates under the pure comparative negligence system. That means if the court decided that you were partially at fault for an accident in Orange County, then your compensation may be reduced. Proper documentation and a convincing court case can reduce the odd that fault will be falsely attributed to you. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on the types of things that you may be able to recover compensation for, including past, present, and future medical costs, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
When you need a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer in Southern California, turn to Kubota & Craig. We understand that dealing with a serious injury can be bewildering and terrifying, and we’re ready to help you move forward. As personal injury lawyers, we have extensive experience in dealing with complex cases, and we’re ready to put it to work on your behalf. Contact our Irvine offices today to schedule a free consultation.