Pedestrian Accidents Attorneys in Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California
Pedestrians come in all shapes and sizes. They can be walking, jogging, skating, or skateboarding. They can be in a wheelchair or on a tricycle.
Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes as well, but they’re all larger, heavier, and more deadly than a pedestrian. Data collected by the Los Angeles Police Department for 2022 reveals that nearly 51% of the 312 people killed in auto accidents in Los Angeles were pedestrians. Without the protection of vehicles and safety devices, pedestrians are more vulnerable than drivers and passengers when there is a collision.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian, or someone you loved has been killed, you may wonder whether you can file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim against the driver who hit you. That is where G. Aldrich Law can help. We represent injured pedestrians and their families in Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California, and in Los Angeles County, Lake County, Colusa County, Riverside County, and the surrounding Northern and Southern California counties.
Doesn’t the Pedestrian Always Have the Right of Way?
Pedestrians, in fact, do not always have the right of way, although it certainly leans in their favor. Everyone using California’s roadways has an obligation to do so with care for everyone else sharing them.
California has a pedestrian right-of-way law that states vehicle drivers must yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks and in intersections where there are no marked crosswalks (where they would be if marked). So, doesn’t that mean pedestrians always have the right of way? It does not.
Pedestrians don’t have the right of way when crossing a roadway somewhere other than an intersection. They have a duty to pay attention to where they’re going and obeying the rules of the road, such as obeying traffic signs and lights. They should not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when using the roadways. They should use sidewalks when one is available, and where there isn’t one, they should walk to the far left of the roadway with traffic coming toward them, not behind them, to better avoid a pedestrian accident.
However, even if a pedestrian crosses the road somewhere other than an intersection or enters a crosswalk against the traffic signal, vehicle drivers have a duty to avoid hitting them. Cars are required to stop at least five feet from an intersection walkway to give pedestrians ample space to cross safely, not only if a pedestrian steps outside the crosswalk, but also if that vehicle is rear-ended and pushed forward. They are also supposed to give a pedestrian exiting a vehicle plenty of space to do so safely.
Of course, drivers are required to obey all rules of the road. One of those rules is to take extra precautions in dangerous situations, such as slowing below the posted speed limit in areas congested with pedestrians. They should slow down and provide additional space to pedestrians in weather conditions such as fog or low visibility, and in conditions that create slick conditions, including rain and snow. Moreover, they should be extra cautious in areas where road or sidewalk construction is underway, as well as in school zones and near event venues.
Can Pedestrians Be At Fault for an Accident?
California is a fault state for auto accidents, so the driver who failed their duty of care is held financially responsible for anyone injured by their negligence. However, California is also what is called a “pure comparative fault” state. Technically, someone 99% at fault for an accident can file a personal injury claim against someone 1% at fault. Any financial reward, though, would be reduced by their share of fault. In this extreme case, a plaintiff would receive only 1% of any judgment against the defendant.
A pedestrian hit by a car can pursue a claim against the driver, even if that pedestrian is assigned some percentage of fault. You can be certain that the driver’s liability insurer will fight to have as much fault as possible assigned to the pedestrian, which is why pedestrians should be represented by an equally aggressive pedestrian accident attorney.
Let’s say a pedestrian entered a crosswalk just as the light turned red and tried to jog across to the other side. A vehicle with a green light enters the intersection and strikes the pedestrian. While it is accurate that the pedestrian should not have entered the intersection, it is also true that the driver had a duty to stop and allow them to get to the other side of the intersection safely. In this case, fault is shared.
How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim?
In California, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit, and two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death action. The date of death for someone injured in a pedestrian accident may be later than the date of the accident.
What Can I Be Compensated For?
In personal injury claims, you can recover economic damages, such as medical expenses and wages lost if you can’t work, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
In a wrongful death case, damages to the decedent’s estate, such as medical, funeral, and burial expenses, and damages to their survivors, such as loss of future income, services, and companionship, are recoverable.
What Should I Do Now?
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or if an injured loved one lacks the mental capacity to bring a personal injury claim on their own, contact a personal injury attorney right away to discuss a claim.
If you are the personal representative named in the will of a person killed in a pedestrian accident, or the surviving spouse or partner, child, or other direct relatives, contact legal counsel as soon as possible.
Pedestrian Accidents Attorneys Serving Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California
Time works against you quickly in personal injury and wrongful death claims, so do not wait. You can discuss what happened with us at no cost to you, so there is no reason to delay.Call G. Aldrich Law in Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California, today to schedule a consult. Even if you aren’t sure you are ready, we are.