Walking around town is an excellent way to travel in a no-cost, eco-friendly way. Unfortunately, most American surface streets were not initially designed to accommodate pedestrians and the effects of that reality are still impacting “foot travelers” in a myriad of ways. Even most roadways that were designed after pedestrian safety became a priority within broader American culture rarely shield pedestrians from the dangers of having traffic whiz by them in one or more directions at any given time. As a result, far too many individuals are hit every year while walking around town through no or very little fault of their own.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2019 was the worst year for pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. in over 30 years. In all, more than 6,500 pedestrians were killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents during that year alone and tens of thousands more sustained non-fatal injuries in such accidents. Pedestrians are uniquely vulnerable when motor vehicles strike them, as they don’t have so much as a bicycle to share the impact of the collision. As a result, pedestrians are likely to sustain injuries that do lasting damage to their bodies and often result in psychological trauma as well.
Protecting the Rights of Riverside Pedestrian Accident Victims
It’s important to understand that if you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, you don’t have to manage the legal and practical aftermath of this unacceptable situation alone. Our firm has extensive experience advocating on behalf of pedestrian accident victims struck while traveling by foot in Riverside County. Once we learn more about the unique circumstances surrounding your accident, we can begin protecting your rights as an accident victim and evaluating your legal options. We’ll provide you with personalized legal guidance unique to your situation. This feedback will allow you to make informed decisions about how you’d like to proceed in regards to legal action, insurance settlements, medical care, and a host of other challenges that tend to arise in the wake of a pedestrian accident. Our knowledgeable, compassionate team will handle the legal “heavy lifting” associated with your case so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Is a Pedestrian Accident Ever the Pedestrian’s Fault?
If you jumped out in front of a car on purpose in order to collect an insurance settlement, you are at-fault for your accident and you will not be able to pursue compensation from anyone else for the injuries you sustained. However, chances are almost zero that this is the situation you find yourself in. Chances are far higher that you were injured due to no or little fault of your own. Too often, accident victims assume that if they were at-all to blame for the accident that caused their injuries that they are barred from seeking compensation related to their accident. Please don’t make assumptions about fault related to your crash until you’ve spoken with our team. Consider the following scenarios:
- You’re texting and walking down the sidewalk at the same time. When you come to a crosswalk, you wait for the light to signal that it is safe to proceed. While walking across the street, you glance down to finish your text when you’re struck. Yes, you were technically a “distracted pedestrian.” Therefore, it’s possible that you may bear a small fraction of the responsibility for the accident, as you may have been able to run out of the way to safety had you realized that the car which struck you was running a red light. However, you bear so little of the responsibility for this accident that your right to compensation will be diminished hardly at all.
- You’re playing in your driveway with your two children. Suddenly, you realize that your child isn’t breaking as they are directing their bicycle down the driveway. As they launch out onto the street, they are struck by oncoming traffic. Is the motorist who struck your child at-all to blame for what happened? There is really no way to know until our team investigates. We’ll need to ask how fast the vehicle was going and how far away the driver was from your child when the child first appeared on the road. If the motorist was obeying all traffic laws, could not have possibly seen your children at play from their vantage point, and was far too close to your child when they emerged into the road to avoid the collision, it’s possible that they bear no responsibility for the accident. However, no one will know for sure until the crash is properly investigated. This is why it’s important not to make assumptions before you’ve had your case evaluated for free by our team.
Fault matters when personal injury matters are filed. If an accident victim is completely at-fault for the harm that they have suffered, they can’t hold anyone else accountable for that harm. Similarly, if an accident is no one’s fault, an injury victim won’t have standing to sue anyone as a result of their suffering. With that said, it’s important to speak with an attorney even if you believe that you were totally at-fault or no one was at fault for your accident. Why?
- First, it’s rare that an accident victim is aware of all the details surrounding their collision in its immediate aftermath. After an attorney “digs into” the situation, they may discover that another party (an individual, a corporation, the state government, etc.) was indeed responsible (partially or fully) for the harm you suffered.
- Second, even if you don’t have strong grounds upon which to file legal action, you may be entitled to an insurance settlement. Insurance companies like to protect their profits. As a result, they’ll generally look for any available excuse to reject your claim or to minimize the amount of compensation that they may agree to pay you. Our firm has extensive experience negotiating with insurance providers to secure fairly-valued settlement awards that are paid in a timely manner. Instead of negotiating with insurers on your own, you may benefit significantly from allowing us to handle this work on your behalf.
How Do I Know Whether I Have Grounds to File Legal Action?
Unlike a lot of other personal injury case types, pedestrian accidents are unusually straightforward in one respect. There are three primary foundations that must be proven in a successful personal injury action:
- The party that harmed the accident victim owed that victim a “duty of care” under the law
- That party breached their duty of care by engaging in negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous behavior
- The accident victim’s injuries resulted directly from the responsible party’s breach of duty
In a pedestrian accident involving a motorist, there is almost never a question of whether the motorist owed the pedestrian a duty of care. When motor vehicle operators choose to operate their vehicles, they are legally bound, from the moment that the key turns in the ignition, to obey safety laws and to generally drive with proper regard for the safety of those around them. The question of whether you specifically have strong grounds for legal action will depend (almost certainly) on the second two foundational issues noted above – did the motorist who hit you behave negligently, recklessly, or in intentionally dangerous ways AND did your injuries directly result from that behavior? These are the questions we’ll ask and the answers we’ll investigate as soon as we’re alerted to your situation. We’ll also look into whether any auto defects, road defects, premises liability concerns, and other legal issues may have affected your case. If so, you may be in a position to hold third parties (beyond the driver who hit you) accountable for the harm you’ve suffered.
Understanding Why Pedestrian Accidents Occur
Experiencing a pedestrian accident can feel uniquely isolating. As you’re recovering from relatively minor, serious, or catastrophic injuries, you may understandably feel like you’re the only one navigating this particular experience. After all, it isn’t every day that you meet someone who has recently been struck by a car, truck, or another kind of vehicle. With that said, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Many Americans have experienced the kinds of challenges you’re navigating now. Sometimes, it truly helps to understand that someone else has been where you are now.
Pedestrian accidents occur for a host of reasons. As mentioned above, few American roadways were initially designed with pedestrians in mind and those that have been remodeled to accommodate pedestrians still remain dangerous much of the time. Additionally, dangerous driving behaviors such as drunkenness, drowsiness, and distractedness contribute to a staggering number of pedestrian accidents. Still others are caused by poor road conditions, weather, faulty auto parts, inadequate signage, inaccessibility to crosswalks, etc.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “National Pedestrian Crash Report,” California is among the top three states in the union when it comes to pedestrian accident fatalities. Certainly, California’s population size contributes to that reality but the ways in which California roads are constructed and maintained contributes as well. The NHTSA concludes that “The significance of non-intersections, urban roadways, and city streets as closely related to pedestrian fatalities… (is) confirmed by this report.” Motorists are often to blame for pedestrian accidents by virtue of their negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous approach to driving. However, it’s important not to dismiss the importance of road conditions and design when thinking about why you – and so many others just like you – struggle as a result of pedestrian accidents.
Please trust that when you meet with our firm, we will leave no opportunities to learn more about why your crash happened unexamined. If it makes sense under the circumstances to hold those responsible for Riverside’s roads responsible for what has happened to you, we won’t let this opportunity pass simply because it’s generally “easier” to place blame on motorists and motorists alone.
If you’ve recently been injured in a pedestrian accident, please don’t suffer in silence and bear the costs associated with your accident alone. Contact our experienced, compassionate legal team today to receive a free, risk-free case evaluation. Speaking with our team won’t commit you to take legal action or even to file an insurance claim related to your crash. Doing so will simply ensure that you can have your questions answered by legal professionals and that you understand all of the legal options available to you at this time.
Our firm takes great pride in advocating on behalf of the rights of pedestrian accident victims. We believe that everyone has the right to walk safely around town without fear of being struck. Please allow us to learn about your story and to provide you with the personalized, professional guidance required to make truly informed choices about your options. We look forward to speaking with you.