Can a Pedestrian Sue if Hit by a Car?

Can a Pedestrian Sue if Hit by a Car?

If you were in a car accident as a pedestrian, you could have medical bills, lost wages, ongoing medical treatment, and life-altering, serious injuries.

An insurance claim will only cover your economic losses. You may wonder: Can you sue the at-fault driver?

While you can sue, you should understand whether you have a strong case before pursuing legal action. For instance, if your injuries are severe, you may have grounds to sue for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Read more below about how to handle a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance company, what you should do after a pedestrian accident, and what damages you can pursue for a serious pedestrian injury.

Common Pedestrian Injuries After a Car Accident

When a human body and a motor vehicle collide, the driver of the car has the protection of the car structure, while the car is a weapon against the pedestrian’s unprotected body. Pedestrian accidents often lead to serious injury or pedestrian fatalities, depending on the size and speed of the vehicle.

Common injuries after being hit by a car as a pedestrian include:

  • Sprains, strains, cuts, and scrapes
  • Road rash
  • Broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Parapalegia or quadripalegia
  • Amputation of one or more limbs
  • Death

Traffic laws clearly dictate that car owners must yield the right of way to pedestrians, even if the pedestrian is failing to adhere to pedestrian laws against jaywalking or crossing against traffic signals. Pedestrians hit by a car, bus, or motorcycle often suffer much more severe injuries than victims of other accident types.

What to Do After Pedestrian Accidents

After a pedestrian car accident, you need to get medical attention for your injuries, collect relevant information from the driver and any witnesses, speak with police, and contact your personal injury lawyer. However, if your injuries are serious, you may not be able to get the appropriate evidence at the accident scene.

If you aren’t able to stay on-scene to file a police report and get pictures of the scene after the accident occurred, look for a law firm with experienced pedestrian accident lawyers as soon as you can. Your attorney can begin putting evidence together to recreate the events of the accident, including:

  • Nearby security footage
  • Photos of the scene
  • Witness statements

Insurance companies try to devalue claims as much as possible, and sometimes victims can say things that can lead an insurance investigator to believe they were responsible for their injuries. Your pedestrian accident attorney can help you manage your accident claim with the driver’s car insurance company by speaking on your behalf.

Which Insurance Policy to Use in Pedestrian Accident Claims

California is an at-fault accident state. Whether you were a pedestrian or a driver when you were hit by a car, you would file a claim for your medical bills and other losses through the driver’s insurance policy rather than using your own personal injury protection policy.

Insurance companies only pay for economic losses in accident cases. An insurance company will cover a pedestrian’s medical bills, other medical expenses for travel or physical therapy, and lost wages. It won’t cover noneconomic losses like pain and suffering or mental anguish.

If you lost a loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim in court against the driver of the vehicle. You must be a spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, dependent minor relative, or an heir under California’s intestate succession laws to bring a wrongful death case forward.

Damages in a Pedestrian Personal Injury Lawsuit

If the insurance company denies or underpays your claim, you may need to pursue compensation in court against the car owner who caused the accident. In a pedestrian accident case, you can pursue not only economic damages, but also noneconomic damages. If the driver was particularly reckless or malicious, you may also be awarded punitive damages.

Noneconomic damages can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent disability

Because there isn’t a bill or invoice tied to noneconomic losses after an accident, having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can help you ask the court for the real value of your losses.

California follows comparative negligence laws in personal injury cases, meaning the court can reduce the compensation awarded if you were partly at fault for your injuries. Sometimes the negligent driver’s legal team will attempt to shift some of the blame onto you to reduce the amount they need to pay.

Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Orange County, CA

For help with a pedestrian accident claim in Orange County, CA, turn to the experienced team at Khalil Law Group. We’ve helped many clients reach a positive resolution to their pedestrian accident claims. Call us today at (714) 613-8386 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.