Serious accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians are occurring more and more frequently throughout the country, and California is no exception. In fact, more than 14,000 pedestrians are injured—and roughly 1,000 are killed—each year. Not only does California record more pedestrian deaths than any other state, but according to the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the fatality rate for pedestrians is nearly 25 percent higher than the national average.
After a pedestrian accident, you may find yourself severely injured, temporarily or permanently unable to work, and burdened with significant medical debt. Your life has been upended, and your financial security threatened. If you are worried about how to cope, you've come to the right place.
At the Law Offices of Joshua Cohen Slatkin, our Greater Los Angeles vehicle accident attorney helps pedestrian accident victims hold negligent motorists accountable and recover fair compensation for their injuries and damages. Thinking of filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your pedestrian accident? Keep reading to learn more about these cases and how we can assist you.
California Pedestrian Accident Basics
Pedestrian accident cases can be complex. Here are a few key facts you should know:
- Personal injury claims. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident you didn't cause, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party in the California civil court system.
- Wrongful death claims. If a loved one died due to a pedestrian accident caused by someone else's negligence, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
- Injuries Caused by Dangerous road conditions. You may have claims against the city, county, or state governments if a dangerous road condition (such as an uneven sidewalk or pothole) caused or contributed to your injuries. There are strict time limitations in these types of cases, and a government claim needs to be filed with the appropriate agency within 6 months of the injury under the California Tort Claims Act. After filing your government tort claim, you have six months from the date of the postmark or personal delivery of your right to sue letter to file a civil lawsuit in court.
- Comparative negligence. Worried you may be partially to blame for the accident? In California, you can still collect damages for your pain and suffering. However, your settlement or financial award may be reduced to reflect your degree of fault.
- Statute of limitations. After a pedestrian accident, you have a period of two years to file a claim before losing the right to pursue a legal remedy. If a government entity is involved, you have six months to file a claim with the appropriate government agency under the California Tort Claims Act. Don't hesitate or delay taking action. Not contacting a lawyer can impact the outcome of your case. The sooner you hire us to represent you, the sooner we can get started gathering the essential evidence needed to prove your claim.
What You Could Recover and What You Have to Prove
Before you can recover compensation, you and your attorney must prove the following case elements:
- The defendant owed you a “duty of care” (The person responsible for the accident was negligent and did not take care to avoid injuries to pedestrians.)
- The defendant breached that duty
- The breach of duty caused the incident
- You sustained injuries and damages as a result
Depending on the facts and available evidence in your case, you may be able to collect compensation for a wide range of damages, including, but not limited to:
- Accident-related medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Physical pain and mental suffering
- Emotional distress damages
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
Take These Steps to Protect Your Personal Injury Claim
As a pedestrian, a crash is even more shocking for you than it is for the driver. With no warning, you are suddenly knocked around, possibly suffering serious injuries. If you are able, however, we recommend doing the following at the scene of the accident:
- Call the police. Don’t allow the driver to talk you out of contacting the police. You will need an official police report to make your claim.
- Take photos of the accident. Use your phone to take pictures of the car, license plate, what the car hit, the area surrounding the crash, and your injuries.
- Write down the driver’s information. Ask for the driver’s name, address, phone number, and personal insurance company. If they do not cooperate, wait for the police to arrive.
- Get the names of witnesses. If there are bystanders who saw the accident, ask for their names and phone numbers. They might be key witnesses later on.
- See a doctor. Go to urgent care or your doctor as soon as possible after the crash. It’s important that your injuries be evaluated and that you start treatment right away.
- Contact an attorney. Before speaking to an insurance company or agreeing to any kind of settlement, contact an accident attorney.
Why You Need a Skilled Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian accident cases often involve catastrophic injuries and damages and, as a result, can lead to substantial settlements or financial awards. The greater the potential value of your claim, the harder you can expect the at-fault party and their insurance company and/or defense attorney to fight against paying it.Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation with our experienced legal team. We can help level the playing field, defend your rights, and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.