Anyone who has walked in one of California’s bustling cities knows that crossing a street or a busy intersection can be very dangerous. Every year in California there are thousands of pedestrian accidents causing serious injuries and even death. Unfortunately, almost all auto versus pedestrian accidents result in serious injuries, leaving the victim with substantial medical bills and the inability to work or enjoy their life as they once had. Just a few of the serious injuries that can occur as a result of a pedestrian accident include broken bones, lost limbs, head and neck injuries, spine injuries, brain injuries, muscle tears, and many more. Too often, these accidents are caused by inattentive or distracted drivers, especially by drivers who are texting or breaking traffic laws. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact Hepburn, Hernandez and Jung Trial Attorneys to fight on your behalf and help you to get back on your feet.
What to do After a Pedestrian Accident
Make sure that you are safe. If you are able, move to the side of the roadway or to another safe place to ensure that you are no longer in danger. Immediately call emergency services (9-1-1) for a police officer or ambulance if you are able to do so. Wait for police to arrive and provide the officer with a factual description of how you saw the incident unfold. INSIST THAT A REPORT IS FILED WITH THE AUTHORITIES. DO NOT discuss the specifics of the accident with the other party involved in the accident, as doing so may harm your legal position when you try to recover damages at a later date.
Before leaving the scene of the accident, make sure you gather all of the necessary information from all other parties involved in the accident (including names, contact numbers, insurance information, license plates, etc.). Do not rely on the officer to do this for you. Make sure you also obtain the name, agency, and badge number of the officer who has reported to the scene.
Document everything. Documenting the scene is crucial, especially if there is a disagreement as to who is at fault. Make sure you note and take pictures of crosswalks, street signs, traffic signals, conditions of sidewalk and roadway, etc. Be sure to also note the speed of the driver and the sequence of events, as all this information will help in the event the driver tries to place the blame on the pedestrian.
Make sure you receive proper medical care. The first place you should go IMMEDIATELY after the accident is to the nearest medical facility so that you get a proper and thorough medical evaluation. You should visit a medical facility even if you do not believe you have a serious injury, as many injuries may not be immediately apparent—it is crucial to be examined by a doctor. Moreover, a proper record of your injuries and your medical care will be necessary later in the recovery process, as insurance companies may say that your injuries must not have been serious if you waited to get treatment.
Do not speak to anyone about the accident or your injuries other than the police, your medical provider, or your lawyer. Giving statements to other persons other than those mentioned above may damage your legal case in the future. Finally, you should then file a claim with your insurance provider. You should NOT speak to an insurance provider representative or sign any documents from an insurance provider, especially those that represent the opposing side or other driver. You should contact an attorney from Hepburn, Hernandez and Jung Trial Attorneys who know how to deal with insurance providers to best represent your interests. Let our experienced attorneys fight on your behalf so you can concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery.
California’s Pedestrian Laws and Right of Way
In California, both drivers and pedestrians are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure safety on the roadway. While pedestrians have the right-of-way in many instances, and drivers are responsible to make sure they do not put pedestrians in danger, pedestrians are also expected to use care and cross a street as safely as possible. California uses a pure comparative negligence system, which means that if the pedestrian is partially at fault for the accident, then the pedestrian’s compensation or recovery may be reduced. It is therefore important that as a pedestrian, you cross a street responsibly and as safely as possible.
According to the California Vehicle Code, a driver of a vehicle must abide by the following rules when it comes to pedestrians:
Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians and always stop for any pedestrian crossing at corners or other crosswalks.
Do not pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk because a pedestrian may be crossing the street. Stop and proceed through the intersection when all pedestrians have safely crossed the street.
Do not stop in a crosswalk as you may place pedestrians in danger.
If you approach a crosswalk while driving, you are required to exercise caution and reduce your speed to ensure safety of the pedestrian.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks. However, even though pedestrians may have the right-of-way, they also must abide by the rules of the road. A pedestrian should not suddenly leave a curb, or other place of safety, and cross into the path of a vehicle as this creates an immediate hazard.
Obey all signs pertaining to pedestrians.
These are just some of the rules that drivers should follow in order to protect the safety of pedestrians. Unfortunately, many of these rules are not followed and many pedestrians are injured or killed across California every year. If a lawsuit becomes necessary to obtain compensation for your damages, it is important to have experienced trials attorneys for your case. Please contact HHJ Trial Attorneys for a free case evaluation and let us help you obtain the justice you deserve from your pedestrian accident.