Orange County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Orange County can be a dangerous place for pedestrians. Vacationers crowd cities, paying scant attention to what’s going on around them. The streets and byways of many smaller towns lack adequate shoulders and sidewalks for those traveling on foot.
Pedestrians involved in accidents can suffer serious injuries and long-term disabilities. It can help to have experienced legal representation by their side as they navigate the often-challenging process of seeking insurance benefits and pursuing legal claims against parties responsible for their injuries. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact our Orange County personal injury accident attorneys today at (714) 434-1424, and read on, to learn more.
Our Results in Roadside/Pedestrian Accidents
At Aitken * Aitken * Cohn, we have extensive experience representing clients who have been injured in pedestrian accidents. We work hard to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Some of our notable results include:
- An almost $18 million settlement on behalf of a young boy who was injured in a bicycle accident involving a trucker who was unable to see him.
- A more than $6 million settlement for a client who was injured when a vehicle struck his disabled car beside a road while he waited for towing service to arrive.
- A $3.1 million settlement for an elderly client who died after being struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk.
- A $3.4 million settlement for a client struck by a commercial vehicle while crossing a street in the crosswalk.
Our track record of success on behalf of clients injured in roadside accidents does not guarantee future successes, of course. Every case is different and a large number of factors can influence whether a pedestrian struck and injured while crossing the street or walking on a roadside can recover compensation. While we cannot guarantee large insurance settlements or jury awards in every case, we can, however, promise that the knowledgeable lawyers at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn always will always do their utmost to represent our clients with diligence, respect, and compassion, and to fight our hardest to see justice done on their behalf.
What Are Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian accidents occur when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian. They commonly occur at intersections with crosswalks, on roads with narrow shoulders and no sidewalk, when pedestrians cross a street outside of a crosswalk, and in parking lots. Significant risk factors for pedestrian accidents include:
- Time of day – accidents typically occur at times of limited driver visibility, such as at night and at dusk or dawn when the sun shines in drivers’ eyes;
- Alcohol and drugs – drivers and pedestrians who have consumed intoxicating drugs or alcohol run a far higher risk of pedestrian accidents;
- Driver and pedestrian distraction – whenever drivers take their eyes from the road, such as to text or adjust the radio, the risk of a pedestrian accident rises. It also rises when pedestrians walk with their eyes glued to phones or while listening to music that drowns out their surroundings.
- Poor road design/condition/signage – roads with narrow shoulders, limited sight lines, and a lack of crosswalks and signs warning of pedestrians, pose a higher danger of pedestrian accidents.
- Walking on the wrong side of the road – pedestrians who walk on road shoulders with their backs to oncoming traffic (in the U.S., that means walking on the right) run a far higher risk of accident than those who walk facing oncoming traffic (i.e., on the left).
Pedestrian accidents can cause devastating injuries no matter what speed the vehicle is traveling. In fact, some particularly severe and permanent disabilities often result from collisions between pedestrians and cars traveling a low speed, such as when a vehicle comes to a “rolling stop” at a four-way intersection and hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk as it begins to make its turn, or when someone backs into a pedestrian in a shopping center parking lot. Of course, vehicles traveling at high speed will also cause traumatic injuries and possibly death when they strike pedestrians.
Common injuries resulting from pedestrian accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage, including sprains and strains
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord damage
Who Can Be Found at Fault for Orange County Pedestrian Accidents?
In California, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing at any marked crosswalk and at any intersection (even if it doesn’t have a marked crosswalk). This does not mean, as many people believe, that pedestrians always have right of way. Nevertheless, drivers should always yield when they see a pedestrian in the road.
After a pedestrian accident, it usually falls to police, insurance companies, and lawyers to identify who might have been at fault. Here are some of the parties they might identify:
Drivers. Because pedestrians enjoy the right of way in many instances, the driver of the vehicle involved in the pedestrian accident often bears a significant share of the responsibility and legal liability for the victim’s injuries. Certain aggravating factors tend to make it more likely for the driver to bear that fault, such as speeding or committing other moving violations (e.g., failing to stop at a red light), driving while intoxicated, and texting-and-driving.
Employers. When a pedestrian accident involves a commercial vehicle and occurs during work hours and in the course of the driver’s job responsibilities, the driver’s employer may also have legal liability for the victim’s injuries. Employers can be held liable for failing to train drivers in safe driving or failing to ensure drivers stay sober on the job.
Municipalities and road engineers. A poorly-designed and maintained road poses a danger to drivers and pedestrians alike. Road designers and municipal road departments may face legal liability if they fail to build and maintain safe roads, such as by placing crosswalks in low visibility locations (such as below the crest of a hill), posting improper speed limits, and neglecting to post and replace signals and signs.
Property owners. When a pedestrian accident occurs in a parking lot, legal liability may fall to the property owner for failing to design and maintain the lot in safe condition, which may include insufficient lighting, signage, and turning radii.
Adults who serve minors alcohol. Under California Civil Code section 1714, an adult who serves alcohol to a minor at the adult’s residence bears legal liability for any injuries the minor’s intoxication causes, including injuries to a pedestrian struck by the minor driving a vehicle.
Vehicle/parts manufacturers. It’s rare, but not impossible, for a vehicle mechanical failure to cause a pedestrian accident. When it does happen, the manufacturer of the vehicle or part that failed could face legal liability for the victim’s injuries.
Pedestrians. Sometimes, the pedestrian’s actions cause the accident. A pedestrian walking on the wrong side of the road, failing to wear visible clothing, paying no attention their surroundings, jaywalking, or walking in limited access roadways, invites disaster and may be found at fault for their own injuries.
What Damages Can Pedestrian Accident Victims Recover?
Victims of pedestrian accidents may be entitled to recover damages from the parties found legally responsible for their injuries. Those damages may include compensation for:
Medical expenses. Pedestrian accident victims often face significant medical expenses, including the cost of emergency and ongoing medical treatment, medications, physical therapy, and mental health counseling. The victim’s own health insurance may cover some of these expenses, but rarely covers all of them.
Lost wages. Pedestrians injured in collisions with vehicles often miss time at work while they recover. As a result, they may recover the wages lost during their convalescence as damages.
Lost earning potential. When a pedestrian accident causes permanent injuries and/or disabilities, the victim may never be able to return to work in the same capacity and earning level as before the accident. Depending upon the nature of the injury, the victim may no longer be able to perform essential job tasks. A traumatic brain injury, for instance, can make cognitive tasks difficult. A physical disability can prevent a worker from having a pain-free work day. In severe cases, the victim may not be able to return to work at all, or may lose any hope of advancing in their career. In these cases, the victim may recover the “present value” of the future earning potential lost because of the accident.
Pain and suffering. The pain and suffering a pedestrian accident victim endures can be difficult to quantify. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney often works with experts to estimate a value to these damages.
Loss of companionship and support. When a pedestrian dies as a result of the injuries sustained in an accident, or suffers injuries so severe that they lead to a loss of major life functions, the victim’s spouse or family members may seek damages for a loss of companionship and support. Many think of loss of companionship as the same as loss of intimate relationship, but it can also include loss of a partner who is able to carry on conversation, and help with tasks around the house. Loss of support tends to refer to the loss of the victim’s income to support a spouse or family member.
Working with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help establish the appropriate damages to seek after a pedestrian accident, and to convince insurance companies and opposing parties to pay those damages.
How Do Those Liable for Pedestrian Accidents Try to Escape Liability?
It would be nice if the parties legally responsible for a pedestrian’s injuries just came forward, admitted their fault, and paid their fair share to compensate the victim of their negligence and wrongful actions. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. Opposing parties, their lawyers, and their insurance companies, fight back to try and avoid liability instead of doing the right thing. Here are a few ways they try to duck out on their obligations:
Offering a quick, lowball settlement. If it’s obvious someone caused an accident, their lawyer or insurance company may try to offer a quick, lowball settlement before the victim has the chance to explore legal options. Their hope is to buy their way out of liability for a fraction of their real exposure, and to get the victim to sign a waiver of all further claims.
Trying to prove the pedestrian was at fault. Under California law, the amount a person can recover in damages must be reduced by the percentage of that person’s fault for their own injuries. As a result, parties legally responsible for a pedestrian’s injuries will try to pin as much of the blame as possible on the victim, claiming, for example, she was intoxicated, distracted, or walking outside of a crosswalk.
Pointing the finger at each other. Even when there’s no chance of pinning blame on the victim, if there is more than one party potentially responsible for paying the victim’s damages, each party may try to pin blame on the other, hoping to minimize their own exposure.
Working with a knowledgeable and experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help protect against these tactics.
How Much Does an Orange County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Cost?
Victims of pedestrian accidents have enough pain, difficulty, and expense to deal with without having to worry about paying for a lawyer. At Aiken * Aiken * Cohn, we offer free initial consultations to discuss whether medical malpractice victims may be entitled to compensation. If we determine that you have a case, our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, which means, our attorneys are paid only if the lawsuit is successful or is favorably settled out of court. Contingent fees are usually calculated as a percentage of the client’s net recovery.
Speak to an Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to significant compensation. To ensure you protect your rights, it can be important to retain an attorney immediately. Contact the experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn today online or by phone at (714) 434-1424 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we may be able to help.