What Happens If a Pedestrian Caused an Accident?

Pedestrians have a duty of care when using roads and sidewalks in Los Angeles and everywhere else. If they breach this duty and cause an accident through their negligent actions, they can be held legally responsible. Here’s an overview of the potential legal consequences when a pedestrian causes a traffic collision in California and beyond.

Determining Liability

If a pedestrian caused an accident in Los Angeles, the first step is determining liability. Police will investigate the scene and take statements from witnesses to understand exactly what happened. They will determine if the pedestrian violated any laws or acted negligently to cause the crash.

For example, a pedestrian may have jaywalked against the light or suddenly stepped into oncoming traffic. Drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care to avoid hitting pedestrians, but if the pedestrian’s actions clearly caused the accident, they will likely bear some liability.

The police report will be an important piece of evidence in determining liability. Other factors like speed, weather conditions, and visibility at the time of the accident will also come into play. If either party disagrees with the police’s initial liability determination, they can contest it in court.

Comparative Negligence

California follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if the pedestrian was primarily at fault for causing the accident, the driver may share some percentage of liability too.

For example, the pedestrian may be 80% liable for darting across a busy highway illegally, but the driver may be 20% liable for not slowing down or taking evasive action when they saw the pedestrian. The percentage each party is responsible for the accident gets determined during the claims process.

Claims from Injured Parties

If the pedestrian or driver suffered any injuries or vehicle damage in the accident, they can make an injury claim against the at-fault party’s insurance. They will need to prove their medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and other losses were directly caused by the accident. This is when it is best to work with a pedestrian accident lawyer Los Angeles from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys.

A pedestrian accident attorney Los Angeles from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys will help you negotiate with the insurance company of the other party(ies) to reach a fair settlement. They will factor in comparative negligence percentages to reduce the claim payout by the claimant’s own percentage of fault.

So, in the example above, if the negligent pedestrian suffered $100,000 in damages, they would only recover $20,000 from the driver’s insurance since they were deemed 80% liable. The driver could claim against the pedestrian’s insurance for their own losses reduced by their 20% fault share, but a pedestrian hit by a car lawyer will help.

Legal Action Against Pedestrians

Beyond claims from injured parties, pedestrians who caused accidents in Los Angeles may face further legal consequences like traffic tickets, misdemeanor charges, and civil lawsuits.

If the police give the at-fault pedestrian a citation for jaywalking, disobeying traffic signals, or reckless endangerment, they must pay the ticket or contest it in court. More serious criminal charges like manslaughter may be considered if the pedestrian’s actions led to a fatality.

The injured driver can also choose to sue the negligent pedestrian directly for damages like medical bills, lost income, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress resulting from the crash. If they win this lawsuit, the pedestrian is personally responsible for paying the judgment amount.

Long-Lasting Consequences

Beyond immediate fines, claims, and legal action, pedestrians who cause accidents in Los Angeles may face lasting consequences. A driving record will show citations for years. Serious criminal charges can lead to jail time and restrict future employment prospects. Civil judgments can stay on a person’s record indefinitely.

And if the accident led to serious injuries or fatalities, the negligent pedestrian may suffer mentally and emotionally long after the incident. While pedestrians do have certain rights on roadways, they must exercise reasonable caution to avoid causing devastating collisions in LA.

Preventing Pedestrian-Related Accidents

By fully understanding liability rules and potential penalties, pedestrians and drivers alike can stay safer on LA streets. Being attentive, obeying traffic laws, and taking care around vehicles are key to accident prevention for all roadway users.

Here are some tips for pedestrians to avoid causing accidents in LA:

  • Only cross at marked crosswalks and obey walk signals. Jaywalking is illegal and dangerous.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing to ensure they see you. Don’t assume they will stop.
  • Avoid distractions like phones when walking near traffic. Pay full attention to vehicles around you.
  • Take extra care at night by using reflectors, lights, and retroreflective clothing.
  • Don’t dart suddenly into roads from between parked cars. Cross at corners after checking for traffic.
  • If you are intoxicated, use ride services or public transit rather than walking impaired.
  • Follow the rules and signs if walking along highways. Never attempt to cross freeways on foot.

Drivers also play a key role in avoiding collisions with pedestrians:

  • Slow down and prepare to yield when approaching crosswalks or intersections.
  • Scan sidewalks for pedestrians wanting to cross and be prepared to stop.
  • Avoid distractions in the car near pedestrian areas. Don’t use phones or touchscreens while driving.
  • Use caution around stopped vehicles – they may be stopping for pedestrians you can’t see.
  • Drive slowly in parking lots, garages, and residential areas where pedestrians may dart out.
  • Be extra vigilant at dawn, dusk, and night when visibility is reduced. Use headlights.
  • If you see an intoxicated or dangerous pedestrian, call 911 and don’t interact directly.

Shared Responsibility for Safety

Roadway safety is a shared responsibility between drivers and pedestrians. With mutual caution, attention, and respect for traffic laws, the risk of collisions can be drastically reduced in Los Angeles. Understanding liability rules can also help all parties take the utmost care to avoid causing preventable accidents.

Speak to Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys, an experienced pedestrian accident law firm, today if you want to know how to claim for a pedestrian accident. We are here to help.

Common Questions San Antonio, Texas Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Get Asked

Being involved in a pedestrian accident can be a traumatic and confusing experience. You may have many questions about your legal rights, options for seeking compensation, and what to expect from working with a pedestrian accident lawyer. Here, we will explore some of the most frequently asked questions that pedestrian accident lawyers in San Antonio, Texas regularly receive from their clients. This overview aims to provide clarity and insight into the legal process following this type of unfortunate incident.

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

One of the first things on an injured pedestrian’s mind after seeking medical attention is whether or not they may have a personal injury case. The short answer is that if you have suffered injuries or damages as the result of a driver’s negligence, then you likely do have a valid legal claim. Some examples would be if the vehicle failed to yield the right-of-way to you in a crosswalk, ignored traffic signs or signals, or was speeding and lost control. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can review the specific details of your accident and advise on the strength of your case.

What Damages Might I Be Entitled To?

As a pedestrian accident victim, you may be legally entitled to several forms of compensatory damages under Texas law, including coverage for your:

  • Medical bills, both current and future treatments
  • Lost income due to missing work during recovery
  • Cost of physical rehabilitation or long-term care
  • Pain, suffering and mental anguish
  • Permanent physical impairments/disabilities
  • Damage to personal property (clothing, shoes, glasses, cane, etc.)

The exact value of your pedestrian accident claim will depend on the severity of your injuries, prognosis, and calculated losses. An accomplished pedestrian accident lawyer can help put together a demand amount reflecting the full scope of your damages.

Is There a Time Limit to File My Claim?

Yes, under the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury, pedestrian accident victims have two years from the date of their accident to pursue legal action and file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. This deadline applies regardless of whether the case settles out of court or proceeds to a jury trial. Failure to take action before the expiration of the two-year window unfortunately means you forfeit your right to recover compensation. As such, it’s wise to speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer sooner than later after your accident.

What If I Was Partially at Fault?

Unlike some other states, Texas follows modified comparative negligence rules when determining financial awards for personal injury claims. This means that even if you as the pedestrian were deemed partially responsible for causing the accident due to your own negligence, you would still be eligible to recover some damages from the driver (but potentially with a reduction based on degree of fault).

For example, if you stepped out into the road in an area that was not designed for crossing and were found 20% liable for the collision, your final compensation amount would be reduced by that same 20%. So, there is still an incentive to pursue legal action in the majority of pedestrian accident cases with shared blame. A pedestrian car accident lawyer can guide you more specifically given the circumstances.

How Does the Claims Process Work?

If you decide to go forward with a legal claim after a pedestrian accident, you would start by having your pedestrian car accident lawyer formally notify the driver’s insurance provider. Included would be details surrounding the incident and a demand letter stating the compensation you are seeking. Typically, the insurer will launch an independent investigation to assess liability. From there, a few things can happen:

  1. The insurance company accepts fault based on evidence and agrees to settle – this would resolve things quickly out of court.
  2. The insurer disputes fault and/or your damages, so your car accident injury lawyer would then file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
  3. The insurer makes a low-ball settlement offer attempting to resolve things cheaply, which you could choose to accept or reject and still pursue higher compensation through a case.

An accomplished legal professional can handle negotiations with insurers to help obtain full and fair payment. They will also represent you vigorously in court if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached initially.

How Are Pedestrian Accident Cases Won?

There are a few key ingredients generally needed for a pedestrian accident lawyer to build a winning case on behalf of an injured client. These include:

  • Credible evidence the driver violated traffic laws – Police reports, surveillance footage, and eyewitness testimony can prove negligent driving.
  • Proof of the driver’s fault for the collision – If their negligent actions directly caused the pedestrian crash, it supports a liability claim.
  • Documentation of your resulting injuries and damages – Medical records, physician statements, receipts and bills help quantify losses for compensation.
  • Establishing long-term effects on your life – Documents showing loss of income, physical therapy treatments, permanent disabilities/pain, and other consequences from the crash.

When reliable evidence clearly shows the motorist’s legal fault resulted in significant harm and losses to you as the pedestrian, this presents a compelling basis for a legal victory. An accomplished pedestrian accident lawyer knows how to craft a winning case to prove both liability and damages.

What If the Driver Who Hit Me Doesn’t Have Insurance?

One of the worst things that can happen after getting struck as a pedestrian is finding out the negligent driver either didn’t carry auto insurance, had lapsed coverage, or carried only minimum liability limits totally insufficient to cover your serious injuries. This scenario may mean having to rely on your own auto policy’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If you did not carry these optional coverages, the only other recourse is to sue the at-fault driver personally in hopes of collecting on any assets to their name.

Being involved in an accident as a pedestrian can be a stressful and traumatic experience. Regardless of how it happened, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. If you or a loved one is going through this right now, contact Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

Pedestrian Accidents Are on the Rise

There has been a real and noticeable rise in pedestrian accidents since the pandemic began. Figures are up an alarming amount, with the number of reported accidents each year almost doubling. So, why is this trend moving at such a rate, and what are the contributing factors behind the shift? There are a few reasons that are easily pinpointed, and these are explored below.

 

Poor Road Designs

One major complaint worth discussing is the poor infrastructure and road design. Not only are roads deteriorating, but there are more and more complicated and ambiguous structures in use than ever before. This means an increase in mistakes from drivers has left a wide gap for pedestrians to become vulnerable to collision episodes. A lack of public funds, a slowdown for essential engineers and construction staff, and a general move away to other priority areas in policy have really left a gap for the roads all over the country to become somewhat neglected in many areas. People are therefore left in a tricky predicament. Pedestrian accidents have become a natural consequence, and the issue does not appear to be going away.

 

Reckless Driving

The pandemic saw a definite rise in reckless driving. The roads were emptier and police patrols were few and far between because of all the associated anxiety with humans coming into close contact. This was a perfect storm that led to an uptake in dangerous driving with minimal consequences. With more people walking about in local areas for exercise and something to do, and less care taken on the roads, pedestrian accidents saw a natural increase.

This trend does not appear to have settled as of yet, with more accidents of this nature being reported than ever before. Despite things returning to more or less normal, and the roads once more busying up, the habits of daily walks and exploring areas on foot means more pedestrians. Mix this in with a return to normal driving levels, and the problem has only grown.

 

Drunk Drivers

Similarly, reckless driving is often caused by drunk drivers. This has always been an issue on the roads, but it seems to have risen as people were drinking more at home and less out and about. Normal standards were blurred, and it is yet to balance out seemingly. This leaves pedestrians at risk of people getting behind the wheel inebriated, and it is happening more and more frequently.

 

Lack of Road Safety Awareness

The younger generations do not appear to have as much road awareness when it comes to what is safe and what isn’t. Young people, teenagers, and young adults in particular are a high risk category in this context. Road safety awareness is an essential life skill, but there is not as much focus on it as the years go by. There are many trends that have overtaken in terms of priority like cyber safety, technology skills, and equality issues. Road safety, while still highlighted as a core academic milestone area, does not have as much of a focus because new things are leading the charge.

 

Night Time Driving

When social gatherings were back on track, there was a definite increase in nighttime driving. Driving at night carries a unique set of risks like tired drivers, decreased visuals, and higher anxiety. All these components add up to an increased scope for accidents to occur. Pedestrians walking around at night should always try to make themselves as visible as possible and stick to the designated pathways so they are actively avoiding moving traffic.

 

Bigger and Faster Cars

The significant spike in popularity of bigger, faster vehicles like SUVs is definitely a contributing factor. These cars were not originally explicitly intended for general use on average roads, but instead for work purposes or specialist excursions. However, more and more households are acquiring these vehicles as a daily use mode of transport and family car. These are quite powerful vehicles and can cause real damage if involved in a pedestrian collision. Compared to other vehicle types, they are more dangerous in the hands of a less experienced driver.

 

More Drivers

There are more drivers on the roads which have led to an organic increase in pedestrian based accidents. It makes sense that with more cars on the road and more people driving, there would be a correlation between the two events. The infrastructure is busier, peak times are blurring into non-peak times and an increase in drivers means an increase in mistakes, poor driving decisions, and a decrease in general safety out and about.

 

What to Do If You’re a Pedestrian In an Accident

If you are a pedestrian that has suffered as a result of a vehicle collision, there are some courses of action to take. If you have been seriously injured, it is always worth seeking compensation. Finding professional representation is the only route to securing remuneration and support if you need to take time off work and pay expensive medical bills. The car owner is likely to move through their insurance provider, and there should always be police involvement too. It is a crime, after all, so the proper procedures are essential in order to achieve the best possible outcome. You will need to:

  • Report the incident to the police as soon as possible.
  • Get the contact information for any witness to the event.
  • Try to take the driver’s details.
  • Seek medical assistance if you need it, and even if you don’t feel hurt it is best to get checked over just in case.
  • Find legal representation if you feel there is a call for financial reparations.

Pedestrian accidents are on the rise, and it’s easy to see why. Post pandemic life has led to a shift in patterns across the world in driving, road user habits, and general life. Pedestrians are more at risk because there are a higher number of people behind the wheel using the roads, and less government spending on essential infrastructure. Post pandemic life is strange indeed, with concrete habits such as increased alcohol intake and higher anxiety sticking around for good now life is moving back to normality.