Pedestrians are often the most exposed to accidents, among all other road users. The reason why this scenario prevails in California, as is the case in many other states, is because pedestrians make up a large percentage of people using roads and highway sidewalks. Moreover, as a pedestrian, you are at a higher risk of impact accidents from vehicles based on several reasons. While some of the accidents are minor and do not cause any severe or life-altering outcomes on the victims, pedestrians still face some of the worst fatal accidents.
When you or a loved one suffers severe injuries and other losses due to a pedestrian accident, you have the right to make a claim for compensation. The remuneration you will receive depends on if your case is successful and covers all the expenses and losses you bear as you seek medical treatment and recovery for any property damages you may have also incurred because of the accident. While your case may appear straightforward, especially if you are a direct victim of the accident, the defendant’s lawyers are always equipped with rebuttals to discredit your case and secure a win. Therefore, you require the services of The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm to guide you through the best legal strategies you can incorporate. Our team of lawyers has served numerous clients in California and has been successful in making a personal injury settlement.
What Are The Causes Of Pedestrian Accidents in California?
Since there are numerous causes of pedestrian accidents, it is essential to remember that the reasons for the occurrence of accidents are divided into multiple causes. For example, motorists can be responsible for hitting a pedestrian. On the other hand, the accident could arise because of a chain of events started by a factor like a failure to give way to a fellow pedestrian on a narrow sidewalk. The common causes of pedestrian accidents are:
Reckless and Aggressive Driving
At the top of the list of the most prevalent causes of pedestrian accidents are motorists who pay extreme disregard for road users’ safety. When a driver recklessly operates his/her vehicle, a pedestrian may likely become a victim and suffer great harm from the high impact and force exerted by the moving vehicle. Some of the dominant modes of reckless driving include exceeding set speed limits, especially in residential areas, or locations close to institutions of learning. Drivers are expected to observe a specific speed range while in such areas because of the many pedestrians who are bound to use the road at any given time. Besides this, routes in these distinct locations often have marked crosswalks that pave the way for pedestrian use when crossing the street. Thus, should a motorist use excessive speed and hit an innocent or unsuspecting pedestrian, he/she may carry full liability.
Another frequent indulgence in reckless driving involves drivers who make road overlaps or unforeseen turns that may veer the car onto the sidewalks. Such behavior often causes severe pedestrian accidents because of the unsuspected turn of events. Thus, you may be unable to move away on time and be on the receiving end of the overwhelming force from the oncoming vehicle. In most cases, the driver who caused the accident will carry full liability, especially when the judge considers factors like his/her aggressive driving.
Aggressive drivers also tend to rush so that they can make it just before the traffic lights turn red and stop all moving vehicles. The recklessness in failing to check for any possible oncoming pedestrians could cause all the difference between preventing and enabling an accident. Some of the liable motorists often claim to respond to emergencies as the cause of recklessness on the road. However, your attorney will do the best he/she can to ensure that such an argument does not bar you from receiving a reasonable sum as compensation for any injuries caused.
Multiple Car Crashes
If there are more than two vehicles involved in a collision accident, the impact is likely to extend way beyond the designated road area. What such an outcome leads to is a ripple effect of havoc at the scene of the accident. Consequently, where several pedestrians are present moments before or after the accident, the debris from the crashed vehicles may land on them and cause several abrasive injuries. However, the effect may be even more severe than anticipated. For example, where the collided cars catch fire, the catastrophic nature may affect multiple pedestrians who are unable to get away on time. Also, the billowing dark smoke that is common in such scenarios is likely to cause visibility impairment to road users who try to escape the scene, including pedestrians. Subsequently, the confusion may result in multiple other accidents, whether significant or not.
Extreme scenarios also cause rollover accidents, especially if the colliding vehicles were moving at high speed. The incident causes a car to topple over and fall, hence the name rollover accident. Such a crash is dangerous for any person within the surroundings, because the vehicle may roll several times and land on an unsuspecting pedestrian. Other times, the rollover accident may occur in elevated highways or over a bridge, making the debris fall over onto the unaware people below. The damage from a rollover crash is undeniably horrible, considering the risk it exposes to victims.
Pedestrian accidents caused by debris from these multiple crashes also result in different types of injuries to the victim, depending on the impact and force exerted on the pedestrian as the debris landed. For example, most accident victims may suffer fractures on the limbs caused by falling hard on the ground. The severity is not always high, especially if you were at a reasonable distance from the scene of the accident. Nevertheless, despite how minor the accident is, it still counts as a pedestrian accident, and you are entitled to receive payment from the liable party for the inconvenience brought about by the disaster.
Failure to Yield at Intersections
A vital point to note is that either the pedestrian or motorist may carry the blame in the occurrence of an accident. Moreover, intersections are hotspots for numerous types of accidents because of the many intertwining highways and concurrent regulating traffic lights. Thus, most road users become easily confused and end up continuing into the intersection at the wrong time. The judge determines liability based on the circumstances leading to the collision.
On the one hand, where you, as a pedestrian, fail to observe the traffic signs that signal you to stop for moving vehicles, it is foreseeable that you face blame for being contributorily negligent. The decision is based on other factors like the extent a driver went to avert the car from knocking you down. Thus, if he or she had complied with all speed regulation and traffic light guidelines, you may have to carry a more significant percentage of liability. Often, courts measure this scope by calculating the number of damages you receive based on the rate of responsibility for the accident.
On the other hand, a pedestrian accident can arise solely based on the motorist's negligence to comply with the set regulations at an intersection. Most of the vehicle-pedestrian accidents occur from lack of attention to the traffic signs that require a driver to yield to crossing persons. When a moving car speeds past a crosswalk at an intersection without waiting for all the people to pass, there are high chances of an accident occurring, often involving a pedestrian as a victim. Even as you hurry off into the sidewalk, you may lose balance as you land, fall, and injure yourself or others near you. In case of any injuries or damages suffered, the driver responsible for your reflex action will pay a compensatory fee to you and all other pedestrians affected by his/her failure to yield.
Lastly, pedestrians who make advertisements like passing fliers or selling food at crossroads or intersections often put themselves at high risk of suffering from an accident. While you may receive a select type of permit to carry out these tasks in the middle of the road, you may still be liable in a civil court once you are involved in an accident. Similar to other analysis applied by the judge, he or she checks for any acts of negligence you may have indulged in that enabled the accident to occur. An example is where you flag down oncoming motorists at a two-way road, with the knowledge that a car moving in the opposite direction can easily hit your arm if you extend it to the other side of the way.
On top of that, the pedestrian marketers at intersections may run after a vehicle that proceeds out of the intersection or takes a different turn. Such an action poses a risk not only to themselves but also to other drivers. While you may have a valid reason to chase after a car, probably to demand payment or to push a flier into the car window, it is never worth the impact you may suffer from an accident. Additionally, your actions will play a disadvantageous role by establishing a significant percentage of negligence on your part. Consequently, you may not receive as much compensation as expected and cause even more problems in the future.
Intoxicated Road Users
Consuming alcohol before driving causes impairment of judgment and improper body coordination. Moreover, drunk drivers are often unable to make out the objects ahead of them because of blurred vision. Hence, it is effortless for a drunk driver to lose control of the car and knock down a pedestrian, even if he or she is on the sidewalks. The consequence of DUI accidents is even higher than that caused by sober drivers because an intoxicated motorist will probably have close to no coordination to guide the mind in the right direction. Therefore, the vehicle may veer off into the sidewalk and proceed until it hits an object massive enough to stop it.
Another characteristic of pedestrian accidents arising from drunk drivers is that they happen suddenly, depending on the level of intoxication that the motorist is operating on. Due to sudden spasm motions in the body, the driver may suddenly hit the gas pedal and accelerate the car straight into a pedestrian walking close by. The effects of the situation are often fatal.
Conversely, pedestrians may also choose to walk along the road while drunk. There is no doubt that if you decide to try such action, your balance is significantly compromised, and you may stagger into the road. Sometimes, there are also cases of drunk pedestrians who run straight into the highway or completely lose balance and fall right on the road. Where an oncoming driver fails to spot such a pedestrian, he/she may hit the person and cause grievous bodily harm. The situation is worse at night when most people tend to indulge in drinking. Since road visibility is already less at night, the chances of such a pedestrian accident occurring increase and may expose you to danger.
We recommend staying off the drink if you must step outdoors, whether as a driver or a pedestrian. Moreover, even as you walk on designated sidewalks while fully sober, you should remain alert enough to detect any lurking danger. The practice will come in handy in escaping threats from drunk drivers if need be.
Street Festivals and Events
California is home to people of diverse cultures who enjoy celebrating themselves and other events of life in different ways. Therefore, street events and festivals are the norms, attracting large crowds of people to specific zones. While these people gather to celebrate incredible aspects of life, such events expose pedestrians to plenty of accidents. The primary cause of increased numbers of accidents is the overcrowding in the locations that host the gatherings. In case of any alarm, the people present will spread out and run abruptly, with some of them heading straight to oncoming vehicles and motorcycles, among other road users.
Moreover, pedestrian accidents also occur by scattering people tripping over each other and falling, while others push and kick to be able to get away. The stampedes often result in a lot of casualties that include people indirectly involved in the event. Such victims often find themselves unintentionally in the middle of the commotion. For example, if you simply happened to pass by a parade where a cause for panic arises, you will be counted among those who suffered from the stampede.
Cyclists on the Sidewalk
The law requires people who use bicycles to stick to the sidewalks but observe proper care not to hit pedestrians who must also use them when walking along the road. However, while the requirements are precise, bicycle users often become negligent and end up causing some severe pedestrian accidents. For example, if the cyclist does not ring the bicycle bell to warn pedestrians that he/she is approaching, it counts as negligence for failing to observe the duty of care owed to you.
Another cause of pedestrian accidents is the use of high speeds, especially on sloped sidewalks that require a maximum application of brakes. Where the cyclist wishes to try out some tricks like lifting off one wheel while at such a high speed, you may suffer from an accident and sustain several injuries. These actions also count as negligence, because it is a breach of the duty of care to try out dangerous bike skills while fully aware that you may expose others to particular danger. Thus, if you, as the pedestrian is a victim of such an accident, you have a legal right to claim against the cyclist responsible for the harm caused.
The causation also extends to motorcycle riders who enjoy crisscrossing in between vehicles, especially on multiple lane highways. These riders become a risk factor to pedestrians when they engage high-speed gears on roads where the pedestrians need to cross. An excellent example of how an accident arises is where you confirm that the road is clear on your end, only for a motorcycle to appear and proceed on, barely managing to avoid colliding with you. Even if the cyclist does not cause a direct impact on you, he or she is liable for the injuries you sustain from falling or hitting another vehicle as you try to escape the motorcycle.
Improper Construction of Sidewalks
In areas where there are uneven steps in sidewalks that may easily cause tripping and falling of pedestrians, the poor construction becomes a primary cause of accidents. Moreover, where the sidewalks are too narrow to allow two or more people to cross paths when moving in the opposite direction, one of them may have to step into the road to allow the other to proceed. While the move is a polite gesture, the pedestrian who steps aside exposes himself/herself to potential danger from speeding vehicles that cannot swerve and avoid hitting him or her. Thus, the improper construction causes more harm than good in such situations and becomes an aggravating factor even where pedestrians try to follow road regulations and stick to using them.
The situation also becomes significantly worse where you meet inconsiderate pedestrians who do not want to give way or slow down to avoid collision with other people. For example, people who exercise by making sprints or jogs on sidewalks may refuse to stop even where the path is narrow, and force you off the sidewalk. If you happen to trip or fall as you try to avoid such a runner, it qualifies as a pedestrian accident, and you may make a reasonable claim for any personal injury you suffer.
It is a requirement for schools to put a barrier close to the actual institution and have a traffic coordinator who warns motorists of oncoming children who would like to cross the road. The absence of such a system often leaves schoolchildren unsupervised. Subsequently, they may end up playing off into the road and suffer from a head-on collision with an unsuspecting driver. Alternatively, such children, who are often in crowds as they walk to and from school, may get carried away and chase each other. Such games may cause accidents on the sidewalks, which may include cyclists trying to avoid hitting them.
Children in residential areas are also prone to wandering off and onto the road, where they may cause dangerous pedestrian accidents, or end up as the primary victims. Similar to school children, kids at home may join the road and suffer from a sudden head-on collision with motorcyclists, drivers, or any other road users. Also, unsupervised children who operate locomotives like skateboards and scooters may lose control and hit other pedestrians on the sidewalks. Such causes are common where the children are at the training stage and have not fully mastered balance.
Adverse Weather Conditions
When it rains, it pours. Sometimes, the weather conditions may be extreme, causing impaired vision as well as the loss of control of vehicles that may end up knocking down pedestrians. Broken branches from trees may also hit you and cause severe injuries on you, especially if they hit delicate parts of the body like the skull or the eyes. Overall, these extreme weather conditions make circumstances more difficult for all road users. For example, when there is a heavy thunderstorm that makes it difficult to detect any pedestrians crossing the road, a driver may quickly cause a pedestrian accident and cause numerous personal injuries like spinal fractures and brain injuries.
You could end up severely inconvenienced from such an accident, even if your injuries are not severe. While neither you nor the driver may be the direct cause of the accident, you are still eligible for some compensation to cover basic medical requirements. The judge will make a proper assessment of the presented submissions and decide how much the defendant owes you.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Pedestrian accidents, just like any other accident, can cause dramatic life changes to those affected, especially if you sustain severe injuries. For example, if you are unable to work because of paralysis or lose a loved one because of the accident, you deserve appropriate compensation. Even for the less complicated losses you incur, feel free to reach out to The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm. We endeavor to seek justice for our clients by ensuring you receive rightful compensation for your injury. Call us today at 619-625-8707.