Costa Mesa Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in California, according to our Department of Motor Vehicles. But pedestrians in Costa Mesa have a right to share the road with bicyclists, motorcyclists, and occupants of motor vehicles. When negligent drivers run into them, pedestrians are likely to suffer serious – if not fatal - injuries.
If you or your loved one has been struck by a driver, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. You should get medical treatment immediately after the accident. California is a “fault” state for auto insurance, but your health insurance may need to cover the bills up front. An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney can help you pursue the maximum compensation available under the law from the at-fault driver.
Pedestrians are completely unprotected in traffic. When a pedestrian is hit by a moving, 3,000-lb. motor vehicle, he is at risk of suffering catastrophic or fatal injuries. The type and speed of the vehicle, and what part of the body was impacted, are determining factors in the severity of the injuries. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury: Car accidents are a leading cause of head trauma and traumatic brain injury.
- Internal injuries: A pedestrian hit by a car may sustain rib fractures, internal bleeding, or ruptured organs.
- Pelvic injuries: The hood design of vehicles is a contributing factor to pelvic fractures sustained in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians hit by a car may suffer several different types of pelvic injuries.
- Bone fractures: The external force of a motor vehicle hitting the body often causes bones to break.
- Spinal cord injuries: When the spinal cord is damaged, it can have a life-altering impact on the victim.
- Lacerations: Deep cuts or tear in the skin can have painful and lasting consequences.
- Wrongful death: In the worst cases, pedestrians can die from their injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle.
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the driver who hit the pedestrian is usually at fault. Situations in which a pedestrian may be found partly or wholly at fault include walking out into traffic without looking or crossing the road in the middle of the block at night, wearing dark clothing. A driver who hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk has almost no chance of avoiding liability. A pedestrian who was not in a crosswalk when hit still has a good chance of winning a personal injury claim, provided he or she was paying attention to the road and did not run into the street without observing traffic.
When both the driver and the pedestrian are partly at fault, the comparative negligence rule in California allows insurance companies or the courts to apportion blame to the parties. The damages the pedestrian can recover will be reduced by the percentage of fault he or she bears for the accident. For example, if you were seriously injured and assigned 10% of the responsibility for the accident, if the damages awarded to you were $500,000, they would be reduced by 10% to $450,000.
A statute of limitations is a time limit imposed by law, after which your claim is forever barred. In California, you have two years after the date of a pedestrian accident to file a claim in civil court against the responsible party. It is critical to file a lawsuit within this timeframe unless the case is favorably settled before that time.
After a serious pedestrian accident, our Orange County personal injury lawyers at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie can investigate and gather witness statements, photographs, and other evidence to support your claim, including video evidence when available. We understand insurance companies will try to shift at least part of the blame to you, and we can negotiate skillfully with their representatives on your behalf. If necessary, we can fight for the compensation you deserve in court. Call us today at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a free consultation.
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