If you are a pedestrian hit by a car while crossing the road in Orange County, CA, you’re not alone: every year, thousands of pedestrian accidents occur in California. Pedestrian deaths account for 25% of traffic accident fatalities in the state.
As an injured pedestrian, you have the option to file a legal claim against the responsible driver and their insurance company. In some cases, you may also decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Learn how a pedestrian accident claim works in California and how an experienced lawyer can help protect your rights.
As a pedestrian hit by a car, you may suffer shock and fail to consider the legal implications of your accident right away. Nevertheless, your actions in the first minutes and hours after an accident may determine the outcome of your pedestrian accident case.
Immediately after an accident, you should:
Seek medical treatment or at least an evaluation of possible injuries, and save any relevant medical records
Report the accident to the police and request a copy of the police report
Take multiple, clear photos and videos of the accident scene
Get the name, contact details, and insurance information of the driver who was involved in the accident. If it’s a hit-and-run, try to write down the driver’s license plate number.
Talk to any witnesses and collect their contact information
Write down all you can remember about the accident
Always talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer. They will speak to the insurance company on your behalf.
Most pedestrian accident and other car accident cases in California end with an out-of-court settlement, although some may lead to a trial. Resolving a claim involves proving liability, establishing the extent of damages, and negotiating a settlement offer.
A pedestrian accident claim hinges on proving that:
The at-fault party breached their reasonable duty of care (e.g., the driver didn’t obey traffic signals or didn’t do enough to avoid hitting the pedestrian)
This breach of duty resulted in an accident
The accident led to significant injuries, medical expenses, and other types of damages for the victim
Generally, the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage will step in and compensate you for eligible accident-related costs. Often, auto insurance policies in California include medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The driver’s PIP insurance or MedPay may cover the injuries you sustained in the accident that involved the insured vehicle.
Sometimes, when a pedestrian accident occurs, the pedestrian may be partly at fault. What if you crossed where there was no crosswalk or failed to obey traffic control signals?
In that case, your comparative fault may decrease the settlement amount you could claim. However, as a pedestrian, you may still be entitled to compensation even if you didn’t follow all the rules.
Generally, any damages that occurred directly because of the accident may form a part of your claim. While every case is different, pedestrian accident victims often collect compensation for:
Medical bills, including emergency care, rehabilitation costs, and prescription meds
Lost wages and reduction or loss of earning capacity
Daily assistance and care that you may need as a result of the accident
Travel expenses for any travel you need to make because of the accident (e.g., for treatment)
Pain and suffering
If the accident led to fatal injuries, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death claim that includes medical and funeral costs and loss of financial support.
Try to contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. California’s statute of limitations gives you two years to file a claim, but acting fast will make it easier to gather evidence and build your case.
Your lawyer can:
Review your case and assess the potential worth of your claim
Handle the entire insurance claim process
Negotiate with an insurance adjuster on your behalf
Protect you against unfairly low settlement offers
Advise you on your legal options in case settlement negotiations fail
After traffic accidents, injured pedestrians often struggle with serious injuries, lost wages, and overwhelming medical bills. If you are a pedestrian who was hit by a car in Orange County, consult a pedestrian accident lawyer and start building your claim as soon as possible.
At Khalil Law Group, we help injured victims and their families pursue compensation after pedestrian accidents. Call (714) 617-7870 or contact us online 24/7 for a free consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Orange County, CA.