Orange County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrian accidents can result in serious injuries and damages that deserve compensation. However, the legal process can be overwhelming. You do not have to deal with the situation alone. Instead, contact a pedestrian accident lawyer at Russell & Lazarus APC to find out how we can help you.
If you or a loved one are among the thousands of pedestrians who have suffered injury by a motorist, seek medical treatment immediately. Once you have sought medical attention, please confer with an Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer to explore your legal recourse. California law requires plaintiffs (the suing/injured party) to bring personal injury lawsuits within a prescribed deadline, which is the “statute of limitations.” If the statute of limitations lapses, you may waive (surrender) your right to sue, and thus to be compensated for your injury.
What Is a Pedestrian?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles defines a pedestrian as “a person on foot or who uses a conveyance such as roller skates, skateboard, etc., other than a bicycle. A pedestrian can also be a person with a disability using a tricycle, quadricycle, or wheelchair for transportation.”
Walking and skating are healthy, fun, and cost-efficient modes of transportation. However, pedestrians are vulnerable, particularly when motorists are distracted by phones, text messages, and other technology. In fact, current statistics reflect that California has the highest number of pedestrian accidents in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 76,000 injuries and 4,743 fatalities occurred in pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in 2012.
Negligence and Other Causes of Action
All motorists have a duty to one another and to pedestrians: a duty to drive in a reasonable and safe manner. When a motorist fails to drive in that prescribed manner, he has breached a legal duty. If that breach causes injury to a pedestrian, the motorist is liable for negligence.
Negligence is the primary claim or cause of action in personal injury lawsuits. However, other causes of action may apply, depending on facts unique to every case. For example, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle is likely to suffer severe emotional distress in addition to physical injuries. Therefore, a “Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress” cause of action would be included in the lawsuit. Other considerations determine the causes of action, such as whether the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident or violated a statute by texting and driving.
In addition to alleging all viable causes of action, including all the defendants responsible for your injury is crucial to a successful lawsuit. For example, if the motorist was acting in the course of business at the time of the accident, your attorney would name the employer and the motorist in the lawsuit under a vicarious liability theory.
Our firm’s Newport Beach personal injury lawyers will pursue the appropriate legal theories and defendants to maximize compensation for your injuries. Negligence and other claims can be difficult to prove. That’s why it’s important that you work with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer who can guide you through the claims process to prove liability.
Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident
If a vehicle hit you while you were walking, skating, or otherwise traveling as a pedestrian, then you deserve compensation for your injuries. Compensation can be obtained from an insurance company or through a lawsuit filed directly against the person who caused your injuries. You may even be able to obtain compensation from your own car insurance company if you have an Uninsured Motorist (UIM) policy.
If you obtain compensation through an insurance policy, you can receive damages up to the policy limits. Policy limits are often mandated by state minimum levels, but many people have policies that exceed those minimums. In California, car drivers must have a minimum of $15,000 per person for bodily injury liability and $5,000 for property damage. If your damages exceed those amounts, then you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company or obtain additional compensation from the person who caused your accident.
You can obtain damages for the following losses:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Other losses that you incur
Property damage may sound confusing. This would include any physical property that was damaged in your accident. Your cell phone, clothing, shoes, wheelchair, skates, backpack, computer, and anything else that was involved in your accident would be covered.
A pedestrian accident lawyer can evaluate your situation and help you obtain compensation for all of your losses. You may have many different types of economic and non-economic losses for which you deserve compensation. Each of these should be listed for the insurance company through a claim.
Filing a Claim With Your UIM Policy
If you have an uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage policy, then you may be able to recover compensation from your own insurance company in addition to or instead of the insurance company of the driver. If the driver did not have insurance, or if they did not have enough insurance to cover your damages, then you may want to file a claim with your own insurance company. However, you should still work with a pedestrian accident lawyer who can help you navigate the claim.
Although your own insurance company represents you in many situations, if you file a claim with them, they will still try to pay out as little as possible. Insurance companies stay in business by paying as little as possible on claims. Thus, your pedestrian accident lawyer can help you make a claim with your own insurance company to get the compensation that you deserve.
The following are motorist and pedestrian safety tips to keep you safe on the road and avoid a personal injury lawsuit:
Motorist Safety Tips
- Stop at street corners and crosswalks for pedestrians to cross.
- Provide pedestrians with sufficient time to cross.
- Be especially alert for elderly, disabled, and child pedestrians.
- Do not stop in crosswalks.
- When approaching crosswalks and street corners, reduce your speed.
- Do not pass other vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
- Be alert – do not text and drive; do not drive under the influence.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Be visible — wear bright clothing during the day and light clothing at night; carry a flashlight at night.
- Do not assume motorists will stop for you; make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
- Look both ways before crossing; use crosswalks; use sidewalks when available.
- Be alert — do not wear headphones or text/use a cell phone when crossing.
Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault in an Accident?
In many situations, the pedestrian has the right of way. However, there are some circumstances where a pedestrian may be partially or wholly to blame for a pedestrian accident. It can be difficult to determine who is liable for a pedestrian accident. It’s important to conduct an investigation and gather evidence to determine fault. Once negligence is established, legal liability can be assigned.
Common situations in which a pedestrian may be found to be partially or wholly at fault for an accident include when a pedestrian is:
- Jaywalking, or crossing a street outside of a crosswalk;
- Crossing a street against a traffic signal or when the signal says “Do Not Walk”;
- In a street while intoxicated; and
- Walking along prohibited roadways, such as highways and bridges.
In most situations where a pedestrian is somewhat at fault, the vehicle driver shares some of the blame. In these situations, a pedestrian can often recover some amount of compensation from the driver for their amount of negligence. It’s best to work with a pedestrian accident lawyer who can evaluate your situation and help you obtain compensation.
Retaining an Orange County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Russell & Lazarus APC are Newport Beach pedestrian Accident attorneys who have been serving clients with superior legal services for 30 years. If you are a pedestrian accident victim, you should direct your energy towards healing, not at navigating the California legal system. Our team of seasoned legal professionals possesses the requisite skill, knowledge, and expertise to vigorously represent you in your personal injury lawsuit.
Please contact us at (800) 268-9228 to consult with an Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer regarding your potential case.