Most people don’t think as walking or jogging as a dangerous activity. But when you walk or jog near a road, you are at risk. A pedestrian accident can happen to anyone, and the results can be devastating.
Often, the cause of the accident is a negligent driver. If you are an accident victim, you should contact a pedestrian accident attorney in Fresno. Grossman Law Offices can help you receive compensation for your injuries and other damages.
The Frequency of Pedestrian Accidents
It’s no secret that car accidents are common occurrences in California. However, most people don’t realize that pedestrian accidents are also quite frequent. In 2018, there were 35 people killed on the streets of Fresno. Of those deaths, 22 were pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrians happen in crosswalks, on sidewalks, and in bicycle lanes. They can occur anytime a vehicle collides with a pedestrian. In many cases, the pedestrian is following all the safety protocols.
In 2018, statistics showed that 64% of Fresno’s fatal accidents involved pedestrians. Unfortunately, the growing city is not a safe place for those on foot.
Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
In the worst case scenario, a pedestrian accident can be fatal. But there are other outcomes. Typically, they involve serious injuries. Because pedestrians have no protection from oncoming cars, they tend to experience the collision at full force.
The seriousness of your injuries depends on the specifics of the accident. For instance, the speed of the vehicle, the angle of impact, and the site of the accident all matter. Here are some of the most common injuries experienced by victims of pedestrian accidents:
1. Broken Bones
Although it is possible to repair a broken bone, the injury is still serious. A broken bone tends to be extremely painful. Furthermore, it usually comes with a long healing period. Once it does heal, you might need physical rehabilitation to regain full use of your injured body part.
2. Spinal Cord Damage
If a vehicle hits a pedestrian, it is possible for the victim to suffer from spinal cord damage. Even minor damage can result in a short-term disability. Severe damage could lead to permanent paralysis or death. In any case, spinal cord damage requires hospitalization and costly procedures.
3. Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many victims of pedestrian accidents suffer from brain injuries. The result could be the loss of motor function, loss of short-term memory, and other life-altering effects. Although the impact can be short-term, it could also be permanent.
4. Internal Bleeding
Some injuries aren’t immediately obvious. This is the case with internal bleeding. And it happens to be one of the more common injuries in pedestrian accidents. Typically, victims who have internal bleeding need immediate surgical care. Without rapid care, the risk of death is high.
5. Cuts or Lacerations
Whether cuts or lacerations are caused by the vehicle itself or by colliding with something after the impact, they can be serious. In the wrong place, a laceration can cause excessive blood loss.
After you receive medical attention, you could still suffer. A cut on the face results in disfigurement. For the rest of your life, you might have a permanent scar.
Who is Liable?
In California, there are many laws in place to protect pedestrians. However, motorists don’t always follow those laws. If a driver breaks the law and hits a pedestrian, they are liable. If you file a personal injury claim, you could receive money for your injuries, as well as other damages. When a pedestrian accident results in a fatality, you could file a wrongful death claim.
But a successful claim requires some strategy. You need to be able to show that the other driver was legally responsible for the accident. This means showing that they acted in a negligent manner. Here are some common incidents that result in the driver being liable for the accident:
When a driver exceeds the speed limit or goes too fast for the weather conditions, they can’t react to other drivers or pedestrians. As a result, they could hit an innocent bystander.
2. Driving While Drowsy
When people are behind the wheel and overtired, their reaction times slow. This is a common cause of pedestrian accidents. There are laws in place to prevent truck and bus drivers from driving while drowsy, but some people neglect those laws.
3. Driving While Distracted
If a driver is on the road, they should be fully focused on the road. But that doesn’t always happen. Often, drivers spend time texting on their phone or talking to passengers. In the seconds that they avert their eyes, anything can happen.
4. Driving While Drunk
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a recipe for disaster. When people drive under the influence, they often neglect the rules of the road. They also have slower reaction times. For that reason, drunk drivers usually cause accidents. Many of those accidents involve pedestrians.
How to Recover Damages
If you want to receive money for your damages, you need to take action. Although the police might take their own action and arrest the driver, the only result will be criminal charges. And in criminal cases, victims do not receive any form of compensation.
Therefore, you need to take matters into your own hands. You need to file a personal injury claim against the offender. Because the claim is a civil lawsuit, you can recover damages. But like a criminal case, a civil case involves a trial. The only exception is for parties who agree to settlements before their trials.
How Much Will You Receive?
There are limits to what damages you can recover. Typically, victims can recover their medical expenses, missed wages from time off work, decreased earning ability, and pain and suffering.
If you want to learn more about your potential compensation, you should contact a pedestrian accident attorney in Fresno. Here at Grossman Law Offices, we want to hear about your accident. After we get all the details, we can discuss your options for compensation. Contact us today to learn more about seeking justice for your accident.
Fresno Pedestrian Accident Statistics
In 2018, 30 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in Fresno, and this number follows growing trends across the country. In the past 10 years, pedestrian fatalities in urban traffic accidents have increased by 70%, and experts expect this trend to continue. Part of the issue is that Americans are driving larger vehicles, but the bigger part of the problem is that distracted driving is such a common occurrence since the advent of the smartphone.
In addition to distracted driving, intoxication played a part in nearly ⅔ of the 30 fatalities in Fresno.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pedestrian Accidents in Fresno
Take a look below at some of the common questions that we hear during our initial consultations with victims of pedestrian accidents in Fresno. Keep in mind that your specific situation will likely differ from other accidents, meaning that the answers to these questions may also differ depending on a variety of details and variables. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation so that we can answer your questions directly and specifically, and read the following to get a general idea of what to expect.
Like any accident between two parties, there is no certainty about who is at fault depending on what modes of transportation were involved. In order to understand who is at fault, or what degree of comparative negligence is at play, we will need to examine all of the relevant details of the accident, including things like where you were walking, whether or not the driver was violating any traffic laws, who had the right-of-way, and much more.
California uses comparative fault in order to ensure that every personal injury case is fair to both parties, and if it is found that you are partially responsible for the accident but still entitled to damages, then your final damages will be reduced by the percentage that you were responsible. For example, if you were found to be 10% responsible for an accident and are awarded $100,000 in damages, then you will ultimately receive $90,000 to account for your degree of liability.
In order to determine how much you should receive as a fair settlement amount after your accident, we will need to go through a variety of different details. Each of these specifics, such as your income, the extent of your accident, the emotional impact that your injuries have had, and much more, will ultimately translate to a wide range of possible settlement amounts.
When you start working with an attorney as soon as you realize that you will need to file a claim, we will be able to take advantage of the time that the claims investigation takes in order to do our own investigation. When the insurance company is ready to make an offer, we will be prepared with a counter-offer that will kick off a series of negotiations to get you what you actually deserve.
Like every other detail in a personal injury lawsuit, the amount of time that it will take for you to receive your settlement depends on a variety of different issues and questions. One of the major factors for the length of time that it takes to reach a settlement agreement is whether or not you will be required to go to court for a lawsuit. Once a lawsuit is initiated, there are many more steps that you will need to take and each of these steps is up to the court’s schedule and other things that are beyond your control.
If possible, our initial goal will be to reach a settlement agreement before we need to file a lawsuit with the California courts. Lawsuits are costly and time-consuming, so it often works out that accepting a settlement agreement for less than what we would likely be awarded in a lawsuit still works out to the same amount that you will get to take home.
As mentioned a few times in the previous FAQs, there are a lot of different factors that will determine whether or not we will need to file a lawsuit, primarily the insurance company’s willingness to negotiate. If negotiations fail, then the logical next step is to file a lawsuit and begin the process of building a case for your courts.
In certain situations, it may appear that you are entitled to punitive damages because of egregiously reckless or dangerous actions on behalf of the defendant. In these cases, we may favor a lawsuit over a settlement; however, the defendant may want to avoid bad publicity and the increased threat of a lawsuit can be a strong motivator. The best way to figure all of this out is by contacting us now for your consultation.