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Personal Injury Blog

Can a Pedestrian Ever Be Held Liable for a Road Accident?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

In cases of collisions with moving vehicles, pedestrians can suffer significant injuries even from very minor impacts. It tends to be pretty difficult to view the pedestrian with much liability in an accident. Especially when they suffer a broken bone or serious laceration while the vehicle has barely a dent on it. Yet, just because a pedestrian can suffer a serious injury at the hands of a vehicle does not completely excuse them from all cases of liability for the accident. 

Pedestrian Negligence as Liability

It is obviously the responsibility of drivers to drive safely as well as to watch and yield to pedestrians. However, it is also similarly the pedestrians' responsibility to ensure caution when crossing trafficked areas for their own safety. Not using the appropriate caution, taking illegal actions, or just acting recklessly in the situation can have the pedestrian held liable for their own accident or at least contributing to it.

Negligent pedestrian behaviors include:

  • Jaywalking

  • Crossing the street without the walk signal

  • Standing behind vehicles

  • Standing in the street

  • Crossing in front of vehicles with no signal

All of the above can be classified as pedestrian negligence, and thus can mean that the pedestrian is at fault for the accident. However, this doesn't mean they are without options for covering their injuries. Even if a pedestrian is at fault, California is a comparative negligence state. This means that even those at fault for an accident can receive some compensation.

What to Expect Under Comparative Negligence

California, among many other states, follows the rules of comparative negligence when it comes to liability in an accident. Under comparative negligence, those who may have had some negligence in their own accident can only recover compensation of the percentage they were not responsible for.

So if a pedestrian jaywalked into traffic and the courts decide that they are 20% responsible for the accident, and they are awarded $100,000 for it, they can only receive 80% compensation, or $80,000.

Alternatively, if it is deemed that the pedestrian was 99% at fault in their accident, they can still recover that 1% compensation. This will be unlikely enough to cover their injuries. Comparative negligence is particularly beneficial for people like those pedestrians in accidents. If they were at fault, they still likely got hurt. And with the healthcare system as it is, they will still require compensation for those medical bills.

Need Help?

If you were a pedestrian in an accident that may have been caused by your own negligence, you may feel like you don't have a lot of options available. You caused it and you may feel like you definitely will be paying for your own medical bills. However, that may not always be the case. In many cases, both parties do share some fault. Due to the potentially serious nature of your injuries, you owe it to yourself to see if there is at least something that can be done.

Are you a pedestrian that has been in an accident? Regardless of whether it was your fault or not, contact us today. We make sure to get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.

What to Do After You Have Been Hit as a Pedestrian in a Parking Lot

Thursday, July 11, 2019

When we think of pedestrian accidents, only the most obvious situations come to mind. Perhaps someone blow a red light at a crosswalk, clipped a roadside walker at night, or maybe a car even accidentally swerved onto a sidewalk. However, while those can be common pedestrian accidents, it is probably more likely that you will be struck by a car as a pedestrian simply when walking through the parking lot to your favorite store.

Unfortunately, parking lots are often where vehicles and pedestrians most often intersect. There will always be an abundance of both, and accidents are bound to happen. Furthermore, drivers, even safe drivers, tend to not register a parking lot with the same diligence for safety as an actual road. You may find drivers doing behavior they otherwise might not do on the road such as setting up a GPS, sending a text, adjusting their to-do lists, or posting on social media – all while backing out of their parking spot or driving the lanes.

It is this penchant for distracted driving that leads to thousands of pedestrian accidents in parking lots every year. While these accidents often happen at very low speeds, they can still be devastating to the pedestrian that doesn't have a heavy metal shell to absorb the impact. Broken bones, soft tissue damage, and serious head injury from being knocked down by a slow-moving, but large vehicles, are all common. A pedestrian that has endured the pain of a parking lot collision deserves compensation for it.

What to Do After a Parking Lot Accident?

If you were a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in a parking lot, you are not without options. Your first course of action should be to seek medical attention, but after any accident it is also important to collect the pertinent details such as the driver's name and insurance information. It is also crucial to call a police officer to file a report of the accident to better pursue a civil case later to receive compensation for your injuries.

As parking lots are very public places, you may find that there will be no shortage of witnesses that saw what happened. The store in question may also have parking lot security cameras that caught the whole incident on tape. This will make receiving compensation for your injuries go more smoothly as everyone involved will be able to clearly see that the vehicle struck you due to their own distracted driving or pure negligence.

While being struck by a slow-moving car doesn't always manifest immediately severe injuries, it is still to your benefit to seek medical attention. Often after accidents, adrenaline is high and we don't feel the injuries until the day after. However, the longer you wait to seek medical attention, the worse off your case will be. Furthermore, if you opt to just "walk it off," it is likely that the driver that hit you will just disappear into the wind with no way to contact them to recover compensation for any of your injuries.

Need Help?

If you have been in any kind of pedestrian accident, be it in a parking lot or otherwise, you will need the help of a skilled attorney to navigate the personal injury process. If you have been struck and have any kind of injury, contact us today to see how the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you recover the compensation that you need for your injuries. Like many areas of the law, personal injury suits can get complex, and we can make sure you get every penny of compensation that your injury deserves.


Pedestrian Safety Tips

Thursday, July 12, 2018

For many people, when possible, walking is their preferred way to get from one place to another. Walking is a great way to get exercise while also saving on gasoline, but it also requires you to take extra care to avoid getting injured by an inattentive driver.

Pick the Right Path

One of the most important things you can do as a pedestrian is to pick the right path. When sidewalks are available, use them. When possible, even if it means taking a slightly longer route, take roads that have well-maintained sidewalks. If the street does not have a sidewalk, walk as close to the edge of the left side of the road as possible. This allows you to see oncoming traffic and to avoid impeding traffic.

It is also important to use crosswalks. When possible, cross at streets with pedestrian lights. Drivers are more likely to be watching for pedestrians at crosswalks than they are if you simply cross in the middle of the road. Even when crossing at crosswalks, always make sure drivers see you before you cross the street. Never assume a driver will stop for you. Even after the driver has stopped, you may want to make eye contact with the driver to ensure that the person really has seen you.

Make Yourself Visible

It is always important for pedestrians to be easily visible. When walking along the side of the road, if there are vehicles parked along the road, avoid weaving between them. Maintain as straight of a path as possible.

It is especially important to make sure that you are visible when you are crossing the street. Never attempt to cross the street between two parked cars or if there are other items that might hide you from passing drivers' view.

Pedestrians traveling after dark or in bad weather can be especially hard for drivers to see. When traveling after dark or in bad weather, avoid wearing dark clothing. Instead, wear bright colors. You may even want to invest in reflective clothing, especially if you often travel on foot after dark. To make yourself even more visible, carry a flashlight or other device that gives off light to help drivers to see you better.

Be Smart

Pedestrians who make smart decisions are more likely to be safe pedestrians. People often emphasize the importance of not driving impaired, but it is also important to not walk impaired. Drugs or alcohol may impact your judgment or your ability to walk straight. Because of this, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may weave into traffic or try to cross the street when it isn't really safe to do so. Stay where you are or get a ride rather than trying to walk or drive anywhere until the effects of the drugs or alcohol have worn off.

It is also important to avoid distractions, which may also cause you to weave into traffic or step off the sidewalk when you cannot do so safely. Put down your cell phone. Don't try reading and walking. Do not engage in any other behavior that may distract you from paying attention to your surroundings.

Another part of being a smart pedestrian is paying attention to drivers near you. If there is someone driving erratically, you may need to move onto the grass or otherwise get out of the driver's way to stay safe. You may also need to move over if someone is driving close to the curb or might otherwise hit you.

Unfortunately, even if you are careful, sometimes drivers are not watching for pedestrians. If you or a family member was the victim of a pedestrian accident, contact us. We will provide you with a free evaluation of your case and work to get you with fair compensation for any injuries you or your family member suffered as a result of the accident. 

How Distracted Walking Effects Pedestrian Accidents

Friday, June 22, 2018

distracted walker

As a pedestrian, you should expect a certain amount of safety on sidewalks and crosswalks. Unfortunately, things happen and you may find yourself hurt by a car as a result, even as a pedestrian. However, if you have been injured, you need to be able to prove that the driver was at least at some fault for the accident. However, if you were engaging in distracted walking, such as looking at your cell phone, you may not be able to recover as much compensation as if you were walking around without distraction and had all your senses about you.

Types of Distracted Walking

When walking, especially near busy streets, it pays to be undistracted and alert of your surroundings. While you as the pedestrian have the right of way in most cases, cars do not always see you and the pedestrian has a certain duty to do their due diligence when walking near roadways, especially when crossing them.

When it comes to distracted walking, many people consider cell phones or other handheld devices to be the only sort of distraction that counts. However, audio devices count too. This means if you step off the curb while looking at a device or listening to music, you can be held at least in some fault for engaging in distracted walking.

How Distracted Walking Affects Your Case

If you are at a crosswalk and it signals that it is safe to cross, but a car hits you anyway because you were looking down at your cell phone, you may not be at full fault, but you will be at some fault. Alternatively, if you step off the curb, trip, or cross at a crosswalk that designates it is not safe to cross because you were looking at a device or listening to music, then you will, in fact, be in full fault for the accident. If the driver could not avoid you, you may be on the line for your damages as well as potentially theirs, depending on the unique circumstances of the case.

However, if you were distracted and the situation resulted in the driver being mostly at fault, you can still receive compensation. In this situation, it will limit how much compensation you can receive depending on how much of a percentage you were at fault in the accident. For example, if you are set to receive $10,000 in compensation for the accident, but were 10 percent at fault, you will only receive $9,000 in compensation as the percentage is deducted.

If you were walking while distracted and got into an accident, things are going to be bad going on worse. You need that compensation for your injuries and you will want to get as much as possible. This is why it is crucial to get an attorney as soon as possible. If you were walking while distracted and the witnesses can prove it, you will be held at least in some fault. There is no resolving that, but your attorney can help keep that percentage of fault as low as possible so you can get as much compensation as possible.

In order to do this, your attorney will need to prove that the car that hit you was acting illegally, such as running a red light or making a right turn without first looking for pedestrians crossing. If you have been in a pedestrian accident in California, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman is ready to fight for the rights of injured pedestrians, even if they were walking while distracted when they probably shouldn't have been. Let us fight to get you the compensation that you deserve for your case.


Who is at Fault in a Jaywalking Pedestrian Accident?

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Almost everyone has jaywalked at some point in their life. Maybe at first, you are very diligent about making sure there are no cars even in sight, but after enough jaywalking, you tend to get a little lax with making sure things are safe. This is where jaywalking becomes dangerous as well as illegal.

Jaywalking is illegal for a very good reason. If you get hit at a crosswalk, usually it is because a car was going a little too fast. However, in jaywalking cases, often a car isn't slowing down at all, which can lead to catastrophic injury or even death. In these cases, you or your family may be able to file a personal injury case for compensation, but can you even recover damages if you were jaywalking?

California law states that a pedestrian must yield the right of way to motor vehicles if they are crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk. However, this does not mean that a pedestrian will have no right to damages if they were injured while illegally jaywalking. California is also a comparative negligence state, which means that if the driver also shared a percentage of the fault in the accident, they may be able to pay a percentage of the damages. Unfortunately, if you are determined to be more than fifty percent at fault for the accident, you cannot recover damages and you may need to pay for the other parties injuries.

Jaywalking is something you shouldn't be doing, but people still do it. However, it can make pedestrian accident cases much more difficult, which is why you need a skilled attorney on your side to make sure you can and should pursue damages for your injuries. If you have been in a pedestrian accident in the greater Los Angeles area, contact us today.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.