Many residents and tourists like to enjoy San Francisco Bay Area’s iconic scenery on foot. But narrow streets, crowded roads, and sharp corners can sometimes cause collisions between pedestrians and vehicles. In many of these cases, the pedestrian ends up suffering severe injuries or even death.
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) notes that the state’s roadways are particularly dangerous for pedestrians. California has more pedestrian deaths on roadways than any other state, and the fatality rate for pedestrians in California is nearly 25 percent higher than the national average. In 2018, more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured in the state. Additionally, there were 972 pedestrian fatalities in 2019. Of those, 222 were over the age of 65.
The Scott Carr Law Firm is dedicated to helping California residents and their families pursue fair compensation after a pedestrian accident. If you’re dealing with an injury or death from a pedestrian accident in the San Francisco Bay Area, call our office at 415-799-2229. You can tell your story and learn what legal options you have to seek compensation from the liable parties.
Pedestrian Accidents in California?
California’s Vehicle Code defines a pedestrian as “a person who is afoot” or someone who is using any of these things:
- A human-powered conveyance other than a bicycle.
- An electric personal assistive mobility device.
A physically disabled person who is operating a motorized tricycle or quadricycle or a self-propelled wheelchair also counts as a pedestrian.
When pedestrians are hit by vehicles, they can suffer severe injuries:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bruises and skin abrasions
- Internal injuries
Because pedestrians have so little protection, even a “minor” collision with a vehicle can cause serious injuries.
In many cases, accidents are caused by a combination of the driver’s behavior and the pedestrian’s behavior. Here are some of the common driver-related causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving (e.g. texting)
- Failing to follow traffic lights and/or yield as crosswalks
These are all examples of behaviors that could cause a driver to incur some percentage of fault in an accident.
There are also things that pedestrians do that can cause accidents:
- Crossing the street away from a designated crosswalk
- Walking in traffic rather than on a sidewalk
- Ignoring traffic lights and stop signs
- Refusing to wear reflective clothing at night
Liability can be complicated depending on the exact circumstances of the accident. California law includes “comparative negligence,” which means that liability can be split across all involved parties. For example, if a car hits a pedestrian who was crossing the street somewhere other than a designated crosswalk, the driver and the pedestrian may share liability.
Generally, each party in an accident is assigned a percentage of liability. This percentage affects the damages you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. The amount of damages you can collect is reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand liability and how it affects your potential compensation.
How Does Compensation Work in a California Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In California, you can sue for two types of damages in a personal injury case: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are funds designed to cover your financial costs relating to the accident:
- Hospital and doctor bills
- Lost income
- Reduction of earning potential
The amount of economic damages you can get depends on your expenditures in these areas.
Non-economic damages are based on the intangible “expenses” of the accident:
- Loss of physical affection and/or companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
The value of these things is subjective, so a judge determines the amount of non-economic damages to award. The amount of non-economic damages you actually collect is based on your percentage of liability. If you are 10 percent liable and the judge awards $15,000, you can only collect 90 percent of that amount: $13,500.
Is It Necessary to Hire an Attorney?
California law doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, these cases can be extremely complicated, so hiring an expert can make the process simpler and less stressful for you. Additionally, there is a statute of limitations to file a personal injury suit: two years, in most cases. An attorney can help you gather evidence and build a strong case efficiently.
Contact the Scott Carr Law Firm to Discuss Your Case
Accidents and collisions can affect the lives of everyone involved, but they are often worst for pedestrians who have minimal protection. Broken bones, brain injuries, and even death are not uncommon in pedestrians accidents in California. Unfortunately, the liable party’s insurance provider doesn’t always provide the victim with a fair settlement. It may be necessary to file a personal injury or wrongful death suit to get adequate compensation.
The Scott Carr Law Firm helps California families seek financial compensation for the devastating consequences of pedestrian accidents. Schedule a free consultation at our San Francisco office to discuss your case. The number is 415-799-2229.