Pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, the financial burden and medical expenses can add up very quickly. An experienced West Hollywood pedestrian accidents attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies to ensure you receive full compensation.

What Are Pedestrian Accidents?

Any accident involving a pedestrian and either a motor vehicle or a bicycle. Accidents can be caused by either the pedestrian, driver of a motor vehicle, or a bicyclist. Pedestrians are not always guaranteed the right of way and should always use designated crossing areas. Drivers and bicyclists as well have the responsibility of making sure pedestrian’s remain safe when they are operating their vehicle or bicycle.

Who Are Pedestrians?

A pedestrian is any person who is walking, in a wheelchair, using a tricycle, skateboard, roller skates, or any other moving object that is not considered to be a bicycle.

California Laws Regarding Pedestrians And Right-Of-Way

California Vehicle Code 29150 states that drivers “shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” This does not mean that pedestrians will always have the right of way. Pedestrians too must always abide by the rules of the road. In actuality, pedestrians should not be walking into the street without a crosswalk. 

Just like drivers, Pedestrians must yield to vehicle or bicycle traffic on roads that are not marked or unmarked intersection crosswalks. Even if there is not a marked crosswalk, drivers are still expected to yield to a pedestrian who is trying to cross the street and to exercise due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian.

Motorists must stop at least 5 feet from a crosswalk so pedestrians are able to cross safely. 

Drivers must also slow down and be prepared to stop at anytime when approaching an intersection.

Who Is At Fault For A California Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian may be injured by a car, bicyclist, motorized scooter or even another pedestrian.

An Injured Pedestrian Must Prove 3 Elements In A Personal Injury Lawsuit:

  1. The driver could have avoided the accident by exercising its duty of care.
  2. The driver failed to act safely and breached its duty of care because they were being negligent.
  3. The negligence of the driver caused the pedestrian’s injury.

Everyone operating a motor vehicle or bicycle has a duty to be aware of other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. 

How do you know if a driver is negligent? Here are some examples:

  • Speeding
  • Failing to stop at either a traffic light or a stop sign
  • Failing to slow down or move over for a person or vehicle in a break-down lane
  • Texting and driving, eating while driving, or any other distracted driving
  • Failing to give a pedestrian enough room to enter or exit a parked car.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

California Speed Limit Laws

In certain areas, drivers are required to go a certain speed. On the highway, the speed limit is typically 65 mph. On main roads, the speed limit is typically 40 mph. In school zones or zones where there are children who could be present the speed limit is typically between 15-25 mph. 

Drivers should always be aware of which zones they are in so that they go the proper speed limit and also know what to look out for. 

School zones are extremely important because there are usually many young pedestrians who may not know the rules of the road and drivers are required to wait for children to safely cross the street.

Can A Pedestrian Be At Fault For An Accident?

Drivers with insurance will likely try to claim that the pedestrian was at fault.  It is possible that the pedestrian may be at fault. California is a comparative fault state, which means that liability could be split between all parties involved.

In “comparative fault” states, the courts will determine the percentage of fault between each party. For example, if the is 20% at fault then their damages are reduced by 20%. 

What Are Other Types Of Pedestrian Accidents?

Pedestrians may also be injured due to a broken sidewalk, slippery surface, or any other hazardous condition. Pedestrians may be able to sue under the California premises liability law.

Under the California premises liability law, a person who is injured because of an owner’s negligence in managing their property may be entitled to compensatory damages. 

An owner can be anyone who owns, leases, occupies, or controls a premise.

Violation of the California premises liability law consists of two things:

  1. The owner of the property does not use reasonable care to keep the property in safe conditions; and 
  2. The owner does not use reasonable care and could have discovered any unsafe conditions and repair, replace, or give a warning of potentially harmful conditions.

If an injury happens on private property, it is necessary to find out who the owner is and who is responsible for the maintenance of the property.

If an injury happens on a town, city, or county sidewalk, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer to file a claim against the proper government agency.

What To Do If You Have Been Injured In A Pedestrian Accident?

If you are unable to move your body, hit your head, dizzy, or feel unsteady always obtain medical care first by calling 911. 

Similar to a car accident, you may believe that you are not harmed after the incident takes place.

This does not mean symptoms won’t appear later on or even days after.

If you feel that your injuries are not severe enough to call 911 or that you do not need emergency medical services, we urge you to still contact your doctor so they can evaluate you and have your condition documented.

It is important to gather the following information:

  • The name and contact information for the driver and any other person involved in the incident, including any witnesses.
  • The driver’s license number, insurance information, and car license plate (the best way to obtain this information is to take a picture with your cell phone if possible). 
  • Call the police and make a report immediately! 

It is very important to get a police report at the scene of any accident involving a motor vehicle. A police report can help support your legal rights if you need to file a claim against any insurance company and may serve as critical evidence in a lawsuit. 

How Do Insurance Companies Handle Pedestrian Accidents?

Drivers involved in any type of collision should report it to their insurance company. If a pedestrian is injured, the driver is required to file a report as well.

California requires all drivers to have at least $15,000 in bodily injury coverage and $5,000 in property damage coverage.

It is very important to seek medical attention after an accident because if you do not then insurance companies will assume that you were not injured.

You can only be awarded damages for the cost that you may have had to pay because of the injury. If your injury did not require medical attention or if there is no property damage, then you do not have a claim.

If you happen to suffer an injury that requires treatment, it is important that you make a claim against the driver’s insurance company because many times even your own health insurance will not cover your bills. 

Even if your health insurance may cover your treatment, it will not compensate you for the loss of wages due to the time you were forced to miss work due to injuries and treatment. Health insurance also will not provide coverage for emotional distress or any other damages. 

Once a report has been filed with the driver’s insurance company it is possible that the insurance company will call you to “check and see how you are doing” or “get your side of the story”. Please be careful with these types of phone calls because the insurance company will use your statements against you. 

Insurance companies will get you to say something that will make their driver less liable. These tactics are used to draw out certain responses which will minimize their insured’s liability, and allows the insurance company to offer a lesser amount in a settlement. 

You are not required to talk to the driver’s insurance company. The best thing to say is to direct them to speak to your lawyer. 

Call A Pedestrian Accident Personal Injury Lawyer

Once an accident happens, it is always best to find a personal injury lawyer right away. If you have severe injuries, if you are forced to miss work, or if you require frequent medical treatments, it is important to make sure your costs are covered.  These types of costs can greatly affect you financially and you deserve to be compensated not only for your pain and suffering but also for any other losses and harms. You are entitled to full compensation! The Sterling Firm is here to help you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation for your personal injury case.