Murrieta Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer
Each year, the number of pedestrians involved in automobile accidents rises, alongside the number of fatal pedestrian automobile accidents. This may be because there are more pedestrians out and about, especially in beautiful cities like Murrieta. Everyone wants to be healthier these days, and for many, walking to work, taking a run, jogging to the store, or even walking just for the sake of exercising has become a popular trend. Unfortunately, though, drivers are not adjusting their speeds, their attention, or their routes to accommodate the influx of pedestrians on the roads. It’s becoming an increasingly worse problem, especially for those pedestrians who are injured.
Kampf, Schiavone & Associates has been serving the Murrieta, San Bernardino, and other areas of California’s Inland Empire for four decades. We have successfully recovered more than $250 million in personal injury and other settlement awards and are equipped and capable of working hard to recover your personal injury claim, as well.
What Are Pedestrians?
Many people think of pedestrians as people walking on foot and using traffic signals at an intersection to properly cross busy streets, but pedestrians aren’t just those walking on foot; they can be walking or traveling in inconspicuous ways that are not front and center in a crosswalk. In fact, California includes riders of motorized tricycles and quadricycles, as well as those people traveling by self-propelled wheelchair or assistive electric mobility device.
The Checks and Balances of Roadway Safety
It is up to everyone who uses the roads to exercise their own responsibility to other users and laws. For instance, motorists must always yield to pedestrians at designated crosswalks and should anticipate having to slow down for pedestrians when coming up to an intersection or crosswalk. Pedestrians traveling in a crosswalk have the right of way even if the crosswalk is unmarked. At the same time, pedestrians have a responsibility to avoid acting recklessly when crossing traffic. They must not linger in a crosswalk or enter into a crosswalk carelessly or abruptly so that motorists wouldn’t have time to see them, react, and slow down. When pedestrians are not in a designated crosswalk, they have a responsibility to yield to oncoming cars.
Additionally, since bicycle riders are not considered pedestrians, they are expected to follow the same laws as motorists and yield to pedestrians, giving them the right of way in designated crosswalk areas. At the same time, pedestrians are not allowed to walk in a bicycle lane when a sidewalk or walkway is available. Thus, all parties have legal responsibilities when traveling in regard to interacting safely with other users of the road.
What Happens if a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Car in CA?
When a motorist hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian can file a personal injury claim for damages or partial damages if they were partially at fault for their own injuries. Proving liability is done by showing a breach of duty of care occurred. Motorists owe a duty of care, or responsibility, to pedestrians, as explained above. If there is, in fact, proof that the driver breached their duty of care through a reckless or irresponsible act of negligence such as texting while driving, speeding, or failing to obey other laws of the road such as traffic signals or signs, then they can likely be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries.
On the other hand, if the driver can show that the pedestrian’s careless behavior or negligence contributed to their own injuries, the driver may be cleared of liability or share fault in the accident.
Comparative Negligence in California
The state’s comparative negligence laws distribute fault for auto accidents if more than one driver or pedestrian is at fault in an accident. Pedestrians can be held fully or partially responsible if their negligence causes an accident or worsens an accident. However, even if an injured pedestrian is held partially responsible, they may still be able to receive damages for their injuries from other involved parties who were cited as contributing to the accident more so than they were. Regardless, the most effective way to know for sure what you are entitled to, whether you were an at-fault pedestrian, an injured bystander, or another involved party, is to seek legal counsel from a Murrieta pedestrian accident attorney.
What Are the Consequences for Motorists Involved in Pedestrian Accidents?
Motorists who fail to yield to the right of way of pedestrians when legally required to do so will be fined a $220 penalty if injuries are involved. If a motorist doesn’t yield to a blind pedestrian crossing the street, a $1,000 fine may be enacted, as well as up to six months in prison, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
When a blind pedestrian with a white cane is at a crosswalk, motorists are required to wait until they step onto the curb on the other side of the street they are crossing before continuing to drive. It is important to allow blind pedestrians to fully cross the street before proceeding through the intersection or crosswalk because they rely on sound cues to inform them how to safely cross through a trafficked roadway.
What Should You Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
When a motorist is involved in a pedestrian accident, assess your and the other parties’ safety. Move away from passing traffic to avoid more injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911. Report the incident to the police, but don’t admit fault. State the facts in an objective manner and give an honest account. If you were hit by a driver who fled the scene, it is important to recall as many specific details as possible right away so you don’t forget things like what the car or driver looked like or the direction they left in.
Exchange information with anyone at the scene of the accident, including all parties involved. Get contact and insurance information of other drivers and get the name and number of any witnesses who may have seen what happened. Take pictures or videos with your cell phone and get as many images as possible. Take pictures of any road signs or traffic signals, such as stop signs, crosswalk signals, crosswalks, intersections, and posted signs, especially those that indicate pedestrian-only crossings. Any of these things could be an important factor in your case if you are attempting to assign fault to another party.
Seek medical attention immediately for any injuries you have and keep records and bills related to your doctor visits, x-rays or tests, and treatments. Also, take videos and pictures of your injuries so you can show how they looked before you began recovering. Finally, contact a pedestrian accident attorney and provide all the details, information, and evidence you’ve collected to your attorney so that a strategy for your case can be crafted in an attempt to get you the most favorable outcome in a fair settlement for your pedestrian injury. If it comes down to having to prove the breach of duty or defend your own negligence, you want an attorney who has extensive experience litigating personal injury claims as well as negotiating with insurance companies.
A good pedestrian attorney knows that an insurance adjuster’s first offer is always their lowest, and there’s always room for negotiation. Letting a skilled attorney represent you in negotiations for a settlement amount can significantly increase the amount you receive for retribution for the damages you suffered from the accident.
In the event you must go to court to litigate for your compensation, you should know that the insurance companies go up against claimants every day, and their lawyers are very well-versed in arguing a case to deny your claim. The ideal weapon and resource you can have when going up against these insurance company attorneys is an established personal injury attorney of your own. Selecting a successful attorney who has won many pedestrian injury cases like yours can mean the difference between a small settlement and a large settlement. Insurance companies are in business to deny insurance claims, while personal injury attorneys are in business to optimize settlements for deserving victims.
Wrongful Death Pedestrian Accidents
If you hit a pedestrian and kill them, you can be charged with either vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, depending on the situation of the accident and the level of negligence exhibited by the driver. Families of those pedestrians who have been killed by motorists have the right to file a wrongful death suit against the driver at fault for the accident. The family may be awarded a monetary settlement for damages, wage losses, and pain and suffering following the death of their loved one.
These cases require a great deal of familiarity with personal injury law and well-developed skills to apply them appropriately to your case. You do not want to take chances and represent yourself in cases of wrongful pedestrian death. Hiring a pedestrian accident attorney who is well-established and experienced in both wrongful death cases as well as pedestrian accident cases is the ideal way to approach cases like these.
Getting Legal Assistance with Your Murrieta Pedestrian Injury Claim
If you or someone you care for has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact a member of the Kampf, Schiavone & Associates law firm as soon as possible. Our trial-ready and competent attorneys can explain to you what to expect, what you are entitled to, and what approach we recommend taking to optimize your case outcome to get the justice you deserve for your injuries.