The California Pedestrian Accident Guide was created by our attorneys to help residents obtain maximum compensation from the negligent party. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, contact our office for a free consultation.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, we just want you to know how terribly sorry we are that you have to endure potentially life-long symptoms because a driver broke the rules of the road. Los Angeles is full of lousy drivers who constantly break traffic rules. When you are someone who relies on your own two feet to get around, and someone hits you, you are probably feeling an immense amount of pain. While you are lucky to be alive, it’s more likely than not that you are terribly injured. You may not be able to get around let alone get up by yourself. It is common to be worried. Medical bills can really add up and cause you a lot of stress if you’re missing work on top of that. Our California pedestrian accident attorney, Mindy Bish, is here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Figuring Out Who Caused the Accident
The way to get your compensation is through the insurance company of the liable party. With the help of your attorney, you can determine who is at fault. This will be the person or people who were completely or partially responsible for the accident.
Causes of the pedestrian accidents where the car driver is at fault include:
- A driver failing to yield to you. It does not matter if you were in a marked cross walk or not. They have to yield to you.
- A driver zipping around the person in front of them (who was yielding to you) and ends up hitting you.
- A driver going up onto a sidewalk or failing to yield for you when you’re walking across a driveway or parking lot.
- A driver stopping in the middle of the crosswalk, forcing you to move into harm’s way to get around them.
- A driver speeding and not being able to stop on time before hitting you.
The incident where the pedestrian is at fault is:
You can clearly see that there are far many more circumstances that put the driver at fault in these pedestrian accidents. Most accidents happen in areas without a marked crosswalk, but that does not necessarily keep you from getting compensation. Our attorney will find out what rule the driver broke that caused them to hit you. From there, we can focus on going after their insurance company to get you the compensation you need.
Getting Compensation for Your Damages
You will be seeking compensation from the person who caused your accident. There is an instance in which you might not be able to find the liable party. If you were involved in a hit and run, unfortunately you are going to have to fall back on your own insurance if you have no way of identifying that driver. Fortunately, it’s not impossible to find the driver. There are ways to discover who this is. Call us right away and we can help you find them.
In most cases, you will be going after one person’s insurance company seeking compensation. In California, you are allowed to get compensation even if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. We follow pure comparative negligence rules for accidents. That is a term to describe how anyone at fault can receive some compensation. Even if you are 50% or more at fault, you are not barred from pursuing a claim.
One way you can be barred from getting compensation is to be completely at fault for the accident. If you are 100% at fault, which is highly unlikely for a pedestrian, you cannot pursue a claim. As mentioned, according to stats, you did not cause your own accident. However, the insurance adjuster wants to prove that you were, even if you weren’t. They will call and ask you for a statement. You should tell them that all communications will go through your attorney. Do not give them any statements. Don’t say anything to them. Even if you are just trying to be polite, they can use their own words against you. It is best to avoid talking to them at all.
Benefits of Moving Quickly
There are a few things you need to do right away. The most important thing is seeking medical attention. This is important for two reasons. You want to make sure your injuries are taken care of. Letting them go, even for a little while, can make them so much worse. You can get on an ambulance at the scene, or see your primary physician later that day. You might even go to Urgent Care. Bottom line is that you need to get check out. It’s beneficial to your case to do so. If your injuries are officially recorded, it makes our job much easier when we tell the insurance company what the extent of your injuries are and how much you need to be compensated for.
Another vital step that will ensure you are getting the compensation that you deserve is to hire a competent attorney right away. In California you have what is called the statute of limitations which is your time limit to bring your claim. You need to get all of the discovery of your case finished in two years, which for someone who has never brought a claim sounds like a long time. That is not the case. You should hire your attorney right away so we can, collect all available evidence, talk to your witnesses, and bring the claim in a timely fashion.
Frequently Asked Pedestrian Accident Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
If you are a pedestrian that has been injured, you want to pick an attorney that regularly handles those types of cases. You also want to pick an attorney that is not afraid to go into the court room and try your case.
Quite often, what happens in pedestrian cases is the insurance companies want to find ways to point the finger at the pedestrian and make it their fault. They want to try and minimize your claims and pay as little as possible. It’s very important to get somebody who’s really willing to stand up and fight for you and really fight the injustice that the insurance companies try and force on all of us.
What If I Was Injured in a Hit and Run?
A young lady came into our office and wanted to discuss an incident where she had been hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, but then the driver fled the scene. She wanted to know if she had a claim. There are a few different ways to handle that. The answer is perhaps no, but you shouldn’t give up hope. You should always contact an attorney, someone that can explore this with you. In certain cases, if you’re insured as a driver, there may be the possibility that your own uninsured/underinsured motorist collision coverage will kick in and can provide coverage for your injury. Some renter’s or homeowner’s policies can also provide coverage for hit-and-run instances. There’s also the possibility that if you have enough information, the police can eventually find the person that hit you. In that case, you could file a claim against that driver’s insurance as well. If you’re completely uninsured and the driver is ultimately never found, it may be that there is no one to file a claim against for your injuries.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
A young gentleman came into our office who’d been injured as a pedestrian, and he did not report the injury to authorities. That is one of the most common mistakes I see with pedestrian injuries. The collision occurs, the person gets up, goes to the doctor, but doesn’t report the collision to anyone. You always want to report the incident to the proper authorities. You always want to get as much information from the driver as you can including insurance information, license, and registration.
You also want to seek medical care and treatment immediately. If possible, you want to try and photograph the car that hit you, along with your injuries as well. Often, people don’t think they’re going to be filing a lawsuit and they don’t think to do those things, and it can put you at a disadvantage when you don’t. Those are some of the most common mistakes that I see in pedestrian cases.
How Are These Claims Different from Car Accidents?
One of the differences between a pedestrian injury and an injury when you’re in a vehicle is that when you’re in a car, you have airbags around you, you have a metal frame, doors and windshields; you’re protected. As a pedestrian, there’s nothing protecting you from that other vehicle. Quite often, we see people that when hit, people can be pulled under the vehicles, thrown many feet away from the vehicle, and they quite often have very significant injuries including broken bones, severe scarring from road rash, etc. In those ways, being hit by a car as a pedestrian can be far different than when you’re in a vehicle.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company Adjuster?
A client called us who had been injured as a pedestrian. The incident was reported to the driver’s insurance company, and a representative from the insurance company called her and wanted to get her recorded statement. She was smart and called our office first and asked me if I thought it was a good idea. I explained to her that she should never give any type of recorded statement to any insurance representative without speaking to an attorney first. Quite often, those representatives will ask questions that are not completely clear, and that invite answers that will not be in your best interest to give. Always seek the advice of an attorney before giving any type of recorded statement to any insurance representative in a case where you have an injury claim.
How Long Will This Case Take Me?
The answer is not so simple. You always have to consider the nature and extent of a person’s injury. You have to consider whether or not they’re going to lose time from work. You have to consider what type of medical treatment they need and the expenses associated with that. You need to look at how long the medical treatment is going to last. You need to figure out if it’s an injury that is going to resolve pretty quickly on its own, or if it’s an injury that may last for a few years or possibly a lifetime. All of those different factors go into how quickly a claim can be resolved. In some cases, with very minor injuries, they can be resolved pretty quickly, within a few months. Other injuries, depending on the length of the medical treatment, could take years.
How Long Do I Have to File?
Generally, in California, for personal injury actions, you have two years to file a claim. That is the general rule for all personal injury claims, including those as a pedestrian. The only exception to that would be if you are having to make a claim against a governmental entity, that could be perhaps the city employee who’s driving a vehicle and they hit you; that would be considered a case against the government and in that situation, you would only have six months to file a claim.
How Much is My Case Worth?
The value of anyone’s claim is going to be decided by multiple factors. The first is the seriousness of the injury. A few scrapes and bruises won’t be that big of a deal, but broken bones, and internal bleeding are much more serious, hence the difference in the value.
Another factor is what the other driver was doing. Was it a simple mistake? Were they under the influence? Had they been texting? Things like that also affect the value of a case. Again, the amount of medical treatment that is necessary for your injury also will affect the value of a case. Quite often, we’re not able to determine the true value of a case until you are completely done treating for your injuries and we know whether or not your injury has completely healed or will ever heal.
Call Our Office Today
If you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, please call our California pedestrian accident attorney Mindy Bish today. She has the experience you need to get your full and fair compensation. You don’t have unlimited time to get your claim rolling, so please contact our office today!
About the Author
Stacey Cutting is an associate at Bish Law, dedicated to helping clients to recover from their catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases. Stacey attended law school at the University of La Verne, and graduated at the top of her class. Since she began practicing in 2009, she has only ever represented injured plaintiffs, taking bold yet measured actions to root out those who violate the safety rules that protect us all.
Stacey has taken successful approaches to personal injury cases by always advocating for what’s best for her client, and never backing down. She is a faculty member at the Keenan Trial Institute, specializing in teaching other attorneys about taking meaningful depositions to help move their clients’ cases forward.