Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney

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Orange County Pedestrian vs Auto Accident Lawyer

Pedestrian Accidents

Motorists are responsible for obeying traffic laws, including yielding to pedestrians when they have the right-of-way. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents occur because drivers either do not see people crossing streets or they do not understand who has the right-of-way. If you’ve been hit by a driver as a pedestrian, it is important to begin working with an Orange County pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible.

Being hit by an automobile can affect the course of your life in just a few seconds. These accidents can result in injuries such as fractures (broken bones), head injuries, numerous back & neck injuries and even death. The courts may award financial compensation to victims of accidents caused by the negligence of others. By working with a skilled and qualified attorney, you can secure a fair and comprehensive settlement that will cover your expenses and set you on a path toward healing.

Pedestrian Accident Representation in Orange County, CA

The attorney team at Duque & Price works with pedestrians in and around Orange County to fight for just compensation in their accident cases. Our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers will work tirelessly to help you make a monetary recovery for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income, disfigurement, and any other losses sustained in the accident.

Our lawyers have handled thousands of cases involving accident victims, and we have the experience necessary to secure a favorable outcome for you in your claim. If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident involving a vehicle, let us help you determine whether you have a legitimate case.

How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?

Accidents involving pedestrians are very serious, as pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to injuries from vehicles. While typical auto accidents between two cars are less likely to lead to injuries, the lack of protection that pedestrians are afforded means that severe injuries are much more common. Pedestrian accidents can happen when drivers are not careful in a variety of situations, such as:

  • Failing to yield for pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Backing out of parking spaces in parking lots
  • Speeding in residential areas where there are children playing
  • Turning right on a red light, and not looking for pedestrians in the crosswalk
  • Using a cell phone or texting on a mobile device

While pedestrians should always be careful when near traffic, it is the responsibility of other drivers to pay careful attention to the presence of pedestrians. For this reason, the fault in a pedestrian accident far more often lies with the driver. However, despite how clear-cut some of the details of the case may seem, it is important that an experienced accident attorney review and counsel you on your case. They can help determine what evidence to gather to establish fault.

Proving Fault in an Orange County Pedestrian Accident

When it comes to establishing fault in a pedestrian accident in California, this is determined by demonstrating negligence on the part of one party or the other. Because pedestrians have the right-of-way in most circumstances, accidents occur because of negligence by the driver in almost all cases.

Nevertheless, proving negligence requires legally establishing three components: that the driver had a duty of care, that the driver breached that duty of care, and that the breach directly resulted in the injury-causing accident.

Duty of Care

All drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists whenever they operate their vehicles. This duty includes:

  • Observing and obeying all applicable traffic laws
  • Observing and obeying all posted signage and pavement markings
  • Exercising awareness of road conditions, which include changes in traffic, weather, and hazards on the road
  • Keeping a watch for other motorists, cyclists, or walking pedestrians
  • Generally operating the vehicle in a safe and responsible manner, demonstrating a reasonable amount of care toward others

Drivers owe pedestrians a greater duty of care due to their increased capacity to cause injury in the event of an accident. California Vehicle Code states that drivers of a vehicle must allow pedestrians to cross roadways within marked crosswalks and that drivers approaching a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk must exercise care, reducing their speed and operating their vehicle in a manner that safeguards the pedestrian.

Breached Duty of Care

When a driver fails to uphold their duty of care, either through action or inaction, this is known as a breach of duty of care. Violating a traffic law of any kind, for example, is an automatic breach of duty of care by the driver. There are many other behaviors that would qualify as a breach in upholding or maintaining their duty of care to others, including:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while distracted, such as texting
  • Failing to yield to a pedestrian’s right-of-way
  • Ignoring posted signage or pavement markings
  • Driving recklessly, such as swerving or driving erratically

Engaging in any of these or other similar driving behaviors can lead to an accident, endangering the lives and safety of others.

When a Breach in Duty of Care Leads to an Accident

In order to be at fault for an accident, a driver must not only have acted negligently, but their negligence must have directly caused or resulted in the accident in question. When a driver’s negligence does directly cause the accident, they are deemed at fault and are liable for compensatory damages.

There are several circumstances in which a driver’s fault due to their negligence is presumed:

  • Violating a pedestrian’s right-of-way
  • Failing to provide an adequate explanation for an undisputed law violation

When a motorist breaks the law, they are almost always found to be at fault for the accident. While this may seem straightforward, providing adequate evidence of the violation can become a challenge, especially if proper evidence was not collected early in the case.

It is of utmost importance that anyone suffering injuries due to someone else’s negligence work with a skilled attorney with the experience necessary to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and fight on your behalf.

Comparative Fault Law in California

While determining fault lies in demonstrating one or more parties’ negligence, fault may be split between both sides. This means that both parties, the driver and the pedestrian, could potentially share blame for an accident. California uses a comparative negligence standard, which means that you can recover damages in direct proportion to the percentage of fault you are for the accident.

If a pedestrian files a case against a driver and is found to be partially at fault, the courts will assess the percentage of fault of each party and calculate the settlement accordingly. This means that if the gross settlement award would have been $80,000, but the pedestrian is found to have been 25% at fault for the accident, then they would be entitled to 75% of the total settlement, netting the pedestrian $60,000.

In these cases, the driver’s legal counsel will likely attempt to find fault in the pedestrian in order to lower their client’s liability in the case. By maintaining strong legal counsel of your own, you will be able to defend against baseless accusations that could otherwise undermine the just compensation amount to which you are fairly entitled.

On the other hand, this standard could also work for you in cases where you are knowingly at fault, as California has a pure comparative negligence standard. This means you are entitled to pursue compensation no matter how high your percentage of fault is. Even if you were deemed 99% at fault for the accident, you could recover 1% of the settlement amount.

Ultimately, it is important to discuss your case with your attorney, who can help you determine how much your case is worth. Regardless of the specific circumstances in your case, it is highly likely that if you’ve been injured by another motorist as a pedestrian, you are entitled to recover damages for your injuries.

Common Types of Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents

The reason vehicles owe pedestrians a greater duty of care is because of the greater potential for damage they can cause in an accident. Pedestrians, after all, lack the safety and protections that motorists have in their vehicles. This leaves them much more vulnerable. Even a compact car is bigger and much heavier than a person. This means they can cause severe injuries if they strike a pedestrian. In fact, because of the weight and size, injuries occur at every degree of speed. Even at a slow speed, the chance for injury is great.

It is not uncommon for pedestrians who have been hit by cars to suffer:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussion or other head injury
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Herniated disc in neck or back
  • Nerve damage
  • Dislocated joints or limbs
  • Painful soft tissue injuries
  • Cuts, scrapes and bruises
  • Paralysis or death

Many of these injuries can take a significant amount of time to heal. Some may result in permanent damage that affects your ability to work or perform simple tasks for the rest of your life.

No matter how severe you perceive your injuries, you should pursue fair compensation to cover the overall costs of the damages you’ve sustained. Securing the proper compensation at the beginning is vital, as it will be the only chance to receive reimbursement for the total cost of your injuries, which not only includes the financial costs but the emotional costs as well.

Recovering Damages in Your Pedestrian Accident Case

As a victim of a pedestrian accident, you are legally entitled to recover damages for the total amount the accident cost you. This amount should cover the physical, mental, emotional, and financial costs inflicted on you. The following represents the types of damages you can recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance in an insurance claim or from the driver in a personal injury claim:

  • Medical expenses. Your claim should seek to recover the cost of medical bills, hospitalization, medication and prescriptions, medical procedures, assistive devices, physical therapy, and follow-up doctor visits.
  • Lost income. Your claim should seek to recover wages lost as a result of missing work during recovery time from the accident. For more serious injuries, this should include both future lost income and a loss of earning capacity if the accident has left you with a disability that hinders your ability to return to the same type of work.
  • Pain and suffering. Your claim should seek to recover intangible damages beyond the financial costs of the accident. This includes compensation for the actual pain and discomfort experienced as a result of the accident and the injuries that ensued. It also includes mental anguish caused by the accident and your injuries, as well as its impact on your ability to enjoy the same activities you did previously.

Despite being entitled to these damages, it is often difficult to actually secure a just settlement from insurance companies, who will often make attempts to minimize the presumed liability, the severity of the actual injuries, or the extent of the damages. Working with a qualified accident attorney is the most effective method of pursuing comprehensive compensation.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will discuss with you not only your existing medical bills, but what costs you expect to incur for future treatment or therapy, and whether you’ve lost income or will lose future income as a result of your injuries. Other types of damages you may be able to recover include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of normal life, and disability and disfigurement. Your attorney’s goal will be to convince the driver’s insurance company or a jury to compensate you for all of those costs or as much as possible, given the limits of the driver’s insurance coverage.

What You Can Do Following a Pedestrian Accident

There are a number of steps you can take immediately following an accident that could prove highly beneficial later in your case against the insurance or at trial against the at-fault driver. Doing any or all of the following may help avoid disputes and aid in your efforts to secure a fair settlement:

  • Call 911. Immediately following the accident, call the police to ensure an officer initiates an accident report. You or your attorney can later request a copy of the accident report.
  • Take pictures. Take photos of the accident scene if you are physically able or have someone else do so. Photos should include the vehicle that hit you, the road and its conditions, any property damage caused, and the location of the accident.
  • Collect info. Make sure you get a copy of the driver’s insurance information, driver’s license, and license plate. Additionally, make sure you collect the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Seek medical attention. Whether you go by ambulance or take yourself to the hospital, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention for an official and thorough evaluation.Regardless of how you feel or whether or not you believe your injuries are minor, it is important to be seen by a doctor and evaluated through X-rays, MRIs, and other devices to catch any conditions that don’t immediately manifest themselves. This can ensure that every related injury is properly covered by the settlement.
  • Keep careful documentation. It is vital that you keep copies of all documents, medical records, and information related to the accident. Journaling your condition and keeping careful track of any changes will provide you with detailed evidence to present during litigation.
  • Refrain from discussing the accident. As tempting as it may be, anything you say can be used against you by the other party later in your case. You should refrain from admitting to any fault or action when giving your statement to the police, and you should not mention anything about the accident or your injuries to others on social media.The insurance company may attempt to use social media posts to demonstrate that your injuries are not as serious as you claim or may use statements made at the scene of the accident to impart fault onto you.
  • Contact an Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. Partnering with a qualified attorney as early in the process as possible will give you a leg up in your case from the beginning. Your lawyer can counsel you through each step, ensure you complete proper documents, gather evidence, and interview witnesses right from the start.

Whether or not you are able to complete these other steps, hiring an experienced attorney is one of the most important actions you can take for your recovery. A skilled pedestrian accident attorney can investigate your case, negotiate settlements with the other driver’s insurance company, assist in filing a personal injury case, and represent you in court during litigation.

Your Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney

In the end, your personal injury lawyer is your advocate in court. At Duque & Price, we employ a staff of highly professional, knowledgeable, aggressive and successful car accident attorneys who represent injured people through our offices that stretch across Southern California. Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so for purposes of investigating a possible case and possibly preserving evidence, it’s best for you to contact us immediately after an accident.

Contact our Orange County Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-590-0080 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.

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