The statistics are frightening: Pedestrian deaths for 2019 were the highest recorded in 30 years. The Governors Highway Safety Association recorded deaths at 6,590 – a 5 percent increase from the previous year and a 60 percent increase since 2009. As pedestrian accident and injury lawyers, we see the devastating results of pedestrian accidents.
Being a pedestrian has gotten a lot riskier these days. Whether due to distraction, speeding, or impairment, the number of drivers causing pedestrian fatalities is alarming. California law places a legal responsibility on drivers to watch out for pedestrians and remain in control of their vehicles. But as we know from the number of accidents involving pedestrians, that isn’t always the case.
The risk is especially high for residents of and visitors to LA County. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranks LA County at number one in the country in pedestrian traffic deaths. LA County is home to 10.16 million people. The risk level for pedestrian accidents is higher here due to the number of residents, visitors, and vehicles on the county’s roadways on a given day.
Factors Involved with Pedestrian Accidents
There are many factors that play into a pedestrian’s right to compensation following an accident. When a third party is deemed negligent, and that negligence directly resulted in the accident that injured the pedestrian, insurance companies often try to find ways to blame the pedestrian to minimize their damages.
When determining liability, certain conditions will be evaluated:
- Driver’s Duty of Care
Following an accident involving a pedestrian, factors such as speeding, failure to signal when turning, driving while under the influence, distracted driving, and failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian are taken into account by accident investigators. Accidents that involve the driver engaging in any of those behaviors will result in the driver being listed as at fault.
- Age of the Pedestrian
Drivers are expected to be in control of their vehicles and aware of their surroundings at all times. They should take extra caution in residential areas, schools, and parks where children are more likely to be at play. Children and teens are considered a high-risk group for pedestrian accidents involving injury and death.
- Pedestrian Duty of Care
Pedestrians are not without responsibility for their own safety. Pedestrians can be charged with contributory negligence if they ignore crossing signals, disrupt traffic flow, or fail to use the crosswalk (“jaywalking”).
- Location and Conditions
Weather is a contributing factor in vehicle and pedestrian accidents. Inclement weather can cause hazardous road and sidewalk conditions, and reduced visibility for both drivers and pedestrians.
Receiving Compensation From Responsible Parties
If someone else’s negligence contributed to or caused an accident, the pedestrian may be able to recover damages of any injuries suffered. But laws are complex, and victims are often blamed by insurance companies looking to minimize their damages.
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Driver’s Duty of Care
Factors such as if the driver was speeding, failed to signal a turn, was distracted while driving such as driving while texting or using a cell phone, driving under the influence, and failed to yield the right of way to the pedestrian are considered.
Age of Pedestrian
Drivers must take special care in residential areas, schools, and parks where children are at play.
Pedestrian Duty of Care
A pedestrian could be charged with contributory negligence if he or she ignores the walk signal, quickly walks in front of the vehicles, disrupts traffic flow or doesn’t use the crosswalk.
Who Is at Higher Risk
There are certain categories of people more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents.
- Limited Mobility – This includes individuals who use wheelchairs, electric scooters, or other assistive devices for mobility. When sidewalks are missing or of improper size, persons with limited mobility may travel in the street instead.
- Occupational Risks – There are occupations that require individuals to work close to or in traffic. Construction workers, mail carriers, and garbage collectors are among the individuals who may all into this category.
- Children and Teens – Younger children are more likely to engage in “dart out” behavior, quickly running in and out of traffic from between parked cars. Teenagers, when in groups, can become distracted and more likely to engage in herd behavior that increases their risk of becoming involved in a pedestrian accident.
Physical Damages from Pedestrian Accidents
When pedestrian accidents are not fatal, victims can be left with debilitating conditions. Insurance companies operate using a standard model for compensating victims that is inadequate for medical costs and ongoing pain and suffering.
The most common type of injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – A major cause of disability and death, TBI is often caused by road traffic accidents. It can have lasting effects for years to come, including headaches and memory loss.
- Spinal Cord Injury – Spinal cord injuries are common in accidents involving motor vehicles and can leave victims partially or completely paralyzed depending on the location and severity of the damage.
- Serious Fractures – The most commonly affected areas of the body include the arms, legs, ribs, hips, and pelvis. Fractures of this nature can cause long-term pain and suffering, even after the initial injury has healed.
Location and Conditions
Weather and visibility, and location such as a school zone, commercial or industrial area or residential area are all factors that may be considered in determining liability.
States, homeowners, and business owners have a duty to warn people of hazards and to maintain roads and walking areas for safety. A pedestrian can recover damages in a premises liability case when a vehicle is not involved. A property owner may have to pay damages if it is proven that he or she created the condition, if the conditions lasted long enough for it to be remedied or if the owner was aware of the issue and did not fix it.
How Kuzyk Law Can Help
Don’t get victimized twice! If you’ve been hit by a vehicle while walking or running, it’s important to call an attorney who can protect your rights and help you receive compensation for your injuries.
The personal injury lawyers at Kuzyk Law have decades in-the-trenches experience in personal injury cases. We can help cut through the red tape with insurance companies known for sticking to their standard payout model, regardless of whether it is sufficient to compensate victims for the total cost of their pain and suffering.
Reaching out to us immediately after your accident is crucial to your case. The longer you wait to call us, the higher the risk of you not receiving full compensation for your injuries. Keep all information that may be of value to your case, including documents, photos, prescription bottles, and healthcare records documenting your injuries.
Call Kuzyk Law for a free, no-obligation case evaluation at (661)-945-6969. Or, fill out our contact form and a member of our team will get in touch. Pedestrian accident victims will not pay anything unless we win money for you!