Any vehicle collision or accident has the potential to cause serious harm to those involved, including permanent disabilities or even death. However, the risk of such injuries skyrockets when the accident involves a pedestrian. Pedestrians have no protection from motor vehicles and are essentially at the mercy of the drivers around them. It is imperative to exercise caution when driving around pedestrians; and for pedestrians, it is crucial to always stay vigilant of the roads around you and take extra care when crossing roads.
There are very, very few instances in which a pedestrian will be held responsible for an accident. California follows a comparative negligence law, meaning that if plaintiffs are partially responsible for the incident in question, the courts will reduce their compensation by an amount proportionate to their percentage of fault in causing the incident.
However, drivers have a higher duty of care than pedestrians due to the potential vehicles have of inflicting serious harm, so even when courts find pedestrians partially at fault for accidents, it is typically a very low percentage. If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, address your medical concerns first, and then get in touch with a reliable and experienced California personal injury attorney.
Pedestrian Accidents: The Stats
The nationwide pedestrian accident statistics are highly troubling, with as many as 70,000 pedestrians killed or injured every year in the United States. Our home state of California is in the national lead for pedestrian fatalities, with 620 occurring per year and 90 percent of these taking place under normal weather conditions.
In San Bernardino alone, 95 total collisions occurred in 2013 when a pedestrian had the right of way. These collisions resulted in 102 injuries and a fatality.
Time of day is a major contributor to pedestrian accidents, with over 70 percent of fatal incidents happening at night. Women are much more likely to avoid injury than men, with males accounting for roughly 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities per year. Preteens, teens, and young adults are the most heavily affected, and most injuries to these demographics tend to occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Adults are more affected on weekends.
Tips for Pedestrians
It’s important to use good judgment as a pedestrian. Even though drivers have a duty of care to yield the right of way to pedestrians, this does not mean you shouldn’t assume a measure of personal responsibility for your own safety. Always cross roads at designated crosswalks and make sure you wait for the light to indicate it is safe to cross.
If you go walking or jogging at night, consider attaching reflective tape to your clothing to make you more visible to motorists. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle is highly likely to suffer extremely serious injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, crushing injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, and damage to internal organs.
Know Your Legal Options
If you have been hit by a car while walking, do not force yourself to do so or you risk additional injuries or making your existing injuries worse. Call 911 if possible or flag down help from a passerby. Even if you feel like your injuries are mild, seek medical attention. Symptoms of some serious injuries do not always immediately manifest, and if you need to file a lawsuit against the driver who hit you, it will not look good in court if you delayed medical treatment.
Your medical report will be invaluable to a personal injury lawsuit for your incident. Your doctor will list your injuries and treatment plan in detail, including the risks of future complications. This and the police report of the accident are two of the most important pieces of documentation for a pedestrian accident lawsuit. Your attorney will help you compile all the necessary evidence to secure compensation for:
- Property damage, in case any of your personal belongings were damaged or destroyed in the incident.
- Medical expenses, for your emergency care, hospital bills, rehabilitation treatments, or any other medical costs resulting from the incident.
- Pain and suffering. Pedestrian accidents typically involve very painful injuries, and the judge will consider expert witness testimony about the pain you experienced from your injuries and award compensation accordingly.
- Lost income, in case your injuries prevent you from returning to work for an extended period of time.
Seek Help from Our San Bernardino Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
The compensation you could collect from a pedestrian accident will vary from case to case, but the most important step you can take toward securing the compensation you need is to connect with an established, experienced San Bernardino personal injury attorney. At Estey & Bomberger, we offer free case evaluations to potential clients, so reach out to our team if you would like to discuss your case and legal options. Call us today at 909-882-2016.