When you are out walking, you may take your safety for granted. Sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing signals protect you from traffic. In truth, however, you always run a risk when you are walking near a roadway. Should you become involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, you are at substantial risk of serious injury or even death. If the unthinkable occurs and you are hurt in an accident — or a loved one is killed — contact a pedestrian accident attorney without delay.
As the miles Americans travel increases each year, so do pedestrian fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of U.S. pedestrian deaths climbed higher in 2015 than at any time during the previous two decades. If this trend continues, pedestrian injuries and wrongful deaths will, unfortunately, continue to rise.
Who Qualifies as a Pedestrian?
You do not have to be out for a walk to be considered a pedestrian. For the purposes of accident liability law, a pedestrian is an injury victim who was not in a motor vehicle at the time of an accident. As such, you qualify as a pedestrian if you were injured while:
- Changing a tire
- Cleaning the outside of the windshield
- Traveling on foot
- Riding in a wheelchair
Who Is at Fault?
Determining who is at fault in an accident is often difficult, but your pedestrian or car accident lawyer has the expertise to help. By law, drivers must show reasonable care in operating a vehicle. If they are negligent or willfully careless, they are likely to be liable for an accident that results. A negligent driver might:
- Be distracted by a passenger or a phone call
- Fail to notice a pedestrian “walk” signal
- Not see the crosswalk is occupied and stop
- Fail to signal a turn
- Miscalculate hazardous road or weather conditions
A willfully careless driver may:
- Text while driving
- Ignore crossing signals or school zone signs
- Choose to speed through an occupied crosswalk
- Choose to drive while impaired
If you and your attorney can clearly identify driver liability, you are well on your way to attaining compensation. However, California law allows for shared liability, so your actions just prior to the accident are also at issue.
As a pedestrian, you may be partially liable for the accident if you:
- Crossed the street against the signals
- Were jaywalking
- Darted into traffic
For example, the driver’s insurance adjuster might determine that you were 20 percent responsible for the accident due to your negligence, in which case any settlement would cover only 80 percent of your damages. Your pedestrian accident attorney can work with insurance adjusters to ensure you receive just compensation and take your case to court if the other party’s offer is unsatisfactory.
Calculating the Damages
Determining the damages you are due as an accident injury victim is another gray area where the advice of a pedestrian accident attorney is invaluable. A damage award should cover your current and future financial losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing physical or mental therapy
- Other foreseeable losses
If the accident caused a loved one’s death, your lawyer would also seek funeral expenses in addition to the above.
We Can Help
At Rizio Law Firm, we have a proven track record for winning the full financial settlements our clients are due. We understand the challenges you face and make sure you do not have to face them alone. Call us today at 888-292-8888, or fill out our contact form to arrange a free consultation.