California Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians
California Car accidents involving pedestrians often result in severe injuries. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one, here’s what you need to know about hiring an attorney to recover financial compensation.
Whether you are walking on the sidewalk, walking to your car, crossing the street, or jogging on the side of the road, there is a chance that you could get hit by a car. While this isn’t a risk most of us actively consider on a day-to-day basis, it is a risk that exists nonetheless. Unfortunately, California car accidents involving pedestrians are common, and they are to blame for thousands of deaths in the United States every year.
Serious and Fatal California Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians are on the Rise
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that California car accidents involving pedestrians have been on the rise in recent years. “Since 2009, pedestrian fatalities [have] trended up sharply; 2019 showed a 51% increase, totaling 6,205 traffic-related deaths compared to 4,109 in 2009.” Notably, the NSC reports that the percentage of all traffic-related fatalities involving pedestrians has increased as well—meaning that pedestrian accidents are up while overall traffic accident numbers are on the decline.
Of course, if you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one, the statistics on California car accidents involving pedestrians don’t mean much. What matters to you is what you need to do in order to assert your legal rights. So, without further ado, here’s what you need to know:
- Recovering Your Losses After a Serious or Fatal Pedestrian Accident
- What if the Driver Fled the Scene of the Accident?
- FAQs: Insurance Claims for California Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Fundamentally, seeking financial compensation for a California car accident involving a pedestrian is no different from seeking financial compensation for any other type of collision. If the driver was at fault (which is usually the case), the driver is responsible for your losses. You can file a claim under the driver’s insurance policy, and the driver’s insurance company should pay the compensation you and your family are rightfully owed.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always this easy. In fact, rarely, if ever, do insurance companies simply pay what is due. Instead, they put up a fight, and they do everything they can to make sure they pay as little as possible.
Given that this is the case, what do you need to do in order to collect just compensation?
1. If You’ve Been Injured, Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
If you got hit by a car while walking or running, you need to follow your doctor’s advice (or seek a second opinion, if necessary). Get the treatment you need, rest as required, and rehabilitate your injuries when your body is ready to begin the recovery process.
2. Write Down Everything You Know about What Happened
Write down everything you know about what happened—whether you were involved yourself or you have second-hand knowledge of a loved one’s accident. No detail is too minor. Your memory will fade over time, and taking notes now will help you recollect the details when you need to later on.
3. Keep Track of Your Accident-Related Losses
Keep track of all of the costs you incur as a result of the accident. This includes medical bills, prescription costs, and loss of income and benefits. If you have lost a loved one in a California car accident involving a pedestrian, it includes your family’s funeral and interment or cremation costs as well. You should also keep a daily diary or journal where you record your pain levels and the day-to-day effects of the accident.
4. Review Your Auto Insurance Policy(ies)
If you have auto insurance, you may be able to file a claim under your own policy (or policies). Even though none of your insured vehicles were involved in the accident, your coverage could still apply. This will be particularly important if the driver fled the scene (more on this below), or if the driver’s insurance coverage is inadequate to cover all of your accident-related losses.
In many states, pedestrian accident victims and families can “stack” their uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policies to maximize the coverage that is available to them. Stacking essentially adds up your policy limits and allows you to seek up to the aggregate policy limit in a single claim.
5. Get Help from a Local Attorney
Whether the driver has adequate insurance coverage, you need to file a UIM claim, or you need to seek financial compensation through other means, you will need an attorney’s help. You can hire an attorney at no out-of-pocket cost, and you can get started with a free consultation 24/7 through CarAccidentSource.com.
After many California car accidents involving pedestrians, the driver flees the scene. Hit-and-runs involving pedestrians are common (more than 20 percent of all fatal accidents), and they present additional challenges for victims and their families.
When you hire an attorney, your attorney will conduct an investigation and attempt to identify the hit-and-run driver. Your attorney may also work with the local police—who can use their resources to try to identify the driver as well. If your legal practitioner and/or the police are able to identify the driver, then you can pursue a claim just as you normally would.
But, if it isn’t possible to identify the driver, or if the driver fled the scene because he or she didn’t have insurance (as is often the case), you will need to determine what other options you have available. Again, you will need a lawyer’s help, and you will want to contact a lawyer promptly to give yourself the best chance of recovering maximum compensation.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Pedestrian Accidents?
Yes, auto insurance covers pedestrian accidents. Not only can you file a claim under the policy owned by the driver who hit you; but, if you have auto insurance coverage, you should be able to file a claim under your policy as well. Generally speaking, personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments (MedPay), and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can all be used in the case of a pedestrian accident.
What Types of Compensation Can Injured Pedestrians Recover?
Injured pedestrians can recover the same types of compensation as injured drivers and passengers. This means that pedestrians can file claims to recover compensation for their medical bills, other out-of-pocket costs, lost income and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other financial and non-financial losses.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help with My Pedestrian Accident Case?
Yes, whether you were injured while walking or running, or you have lost a loved one in a California car accident involving a pedestrian, you should hire a lawyer to represent you. An experienced lawyer will be able to help with all aspects of your claim, deal with the insurance companies for you, and take your claim to court if necessary.