Every day, people in Los Angeles and Southern California rely on walking as a primary means of commuting, getting from one point to another, and exercising. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents and fatal pedestrian-related accidents happen often. There were more than 60,000 pedestrians injured across the United States in 2021, and more than 7,000 pedestrian fatalities. What happens if you get hit by a car while walking? What steps should you take immediately, and what are your legal rights? Below, our Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers discuss what to know if you get hit by a car while walking in California.

What Are My Legal Rights if I Was Hit by a Car While Walking?

If you are involved in a pedestrian car accident, you may suffer from serious injuries and other damages. Your injuries may result in piling medical bills, time away from work, and a long recovery. In severe cases, your injuries may result in permanent disabilities, changing how you live your daily life.

It is a common question to want to know what your legal rights are after a serious accident. Can you hold the driver responsible for your medical bills? What about your lost wages and the pain and suffering you have endured?

What Are My Legal Rights If I Was Hit By Car While Walking?

If the driver was negligent and you suffered harm as a result, you have the right to pursue financial compensation from them. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other incurred damages through a personal injury claim. Generally, you would file an insurance claim against the motorist’s car insurance company policy seeking compensation.

However, many factors may affect the viability of your potential medical or disability claims. You must be able to prove that the driver had a duty of care to you, breached their duty, and their negligence caused your injuries and damages. Additionally, if your behavior contributed to the accident, it could affect your potential claim.

We recommend consulting our firm’s experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney about your situation. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation. We can answer your legal questions during a consultation and discuss your unique situation. We can help you understand your potential legal options for moving forward and pursuing compensation for your damages.

Two men holding skateboards while walking in a pedestrian crosswalk

Determining Fault After a Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident

In many cases, the motorist is at fault for pedestrian car accidents. Motorists have a duty of care to other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. However, even so, liability is not always straightforward.

Pedestrians themselves have a duty to exercise reasonable care for their own safety. It is possible that your actions contributed to the accident. For example, if you ignored traffic signals or were jaywalking when the accident happened, you could be found partially at fault.

Keep in mind that California is a comparative fault state. This means that both parties can share fault in an accident. Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you can still seek compensation for your damages. However, the money you recover may be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident.

If there is any doubt about accident liability, you should seek professional legal assistance as soon as possible. An attorney can investigate the accident, gather evidence like medical records and witness statements, and help you determine and establish fault.

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What to Do if You Get Hit by a Car While Walking in California

Pedestrian accidents can be traumatic and leave you in physical or mental shock immediately after an accident. Knowing what steps to take after an accident can ensure your safety and help you protect your personal injury claim. However, you should only follow these steps if you are physically able:

Step 1: Move to Safety

If possible, move further away from traffic to avoid additional harm. However, if you have severe injuries, do not move. Moving could make your injuries worse.

Step 2: Call the Police

If you can, call 9-1-1 right away to request medical attention and report the accident. If police come to the scene, an officer will create an accident report. A police report provides an unbiased account of what happened, details about each involved party, and whether any citations were issued. It can be used as evidence to support your personal injury claim.

Step 3: Exchange Information and Collect Evidence

If physically able, collect as much evidence from the scene as possible. Evidence can include taking pictures or videos of the scene, the vehicle that hit you, and your physical injuries. Note the time, location, weather, and traffic conditions.Cars passing near the road where people are walking in a pedestrian crosswalk

You should also get the driver’s contact details and insurance company information. Additionally, get the driver’s license number and license plate number.

Step 4: Find Witnesses

If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information. Witnesses can provide an independent account of the incident, which can be invaluable when proving fault in your case.

Step 5: Seek Medical Attention

If emergency responders do not take you to the emergency room from the accident scene, you should seek a complete medical evaluation as soon as possible. Regardless of whether you feel fine, you should always seek medical assistance immediately after an accident.

Sometimes, certain injuries may not show immediate symptoms but could have long-term implications. Prompt medical care also provides crucial documentation of your injuries to use in your claim.

Step 6: Notify Your Insurance Company

If you have a car insurance policy, report the accident to your insurance company. Even though you are a pedestrian in the accident, most policies cover these types of accidents. In the event that you need to turn to your insurance for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, or med pay coverage, it is important to report the accident to your insurer.

Step 7: Consult a Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Navigating the aftermath of a pedestrian car accident can be complex, especially if you are suffering from severe injuries. An experienced accident lawyer can ensure you protect your legal rights right away and help you understand your legal options for pursuing financial compensation for your damages.

What Are Common Pedestrian Injuries Caused by Getting Hit by a Car?

Pedestrians have no protection against moving vehicles. Because of this and a vehicle’s sheer size and weight, pedestrians often suffer more severe injuries than vehicle occupants. In many cases, a pedestrian may suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries when hit by a car.

A person may suffer a wide range of injuries in an accident, including but not limited to:

Additionally, beyond physical injuries, pedestrian car accidents can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other emotional or mental health issues. The trauma associated with being hit by a vehicle can have long-lasting psychological impacts.

What Compensation Can I Claim in a Pedestrian Accident?

After pedestrian car accidents, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries and other losses incurred as a result of getting hit by a car. These damages typically fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.Two men shaking hands in agreement after a meeting

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also known as special damages, are your monetary losses. They are quantifiable. Examples of economic damages you may be able to recover include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical bills: These nclude the immediate medical costs following the accident and projected future medical costs related to your injuries. Medical expenses may include, but are not limited to emergency room visits, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and necessary assistive devices.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries force you to miss work, you can claim compensation for your lost wages.
  • Loss of future earning capacity: Suppose your injuries reduce your ability to work or keep you out of the workforce. In that case, you can claim compensation for future income loss.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, or general damages, are more subjective as they represent your non-monetary losses. Examples of non-economic damages you may be able to recover include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering due to the accident. Factors like the severity of the pain, the length of recovery, and the impact on your quality of life may affect these damages.
  • Emotional distress: Serious accidents can lead to psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Do your injuries prevent you from aspects of life you enjoyed before the accident? If so, you can be compensated for these losses.
  • Disfigurement or disability: If the accident caused scarring, disability, or other physical disfigurement, you may be compensated for these damages.
  • Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium damages refer to damages suffered by the spouse or family of the injured pedestrian, including loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, and affection. If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to pursue these damages in a wrongful death claim against the liable party.

An experienced Los Angeles accident lawyer from our firm can help you understand the potential value of your case.

Dealing With the Driver’s Insurance Company After a Pedestrian Accident

Navigating an insurance claim after a pedestrian accident can be challenging on your own, especially while dealing with serious injuries. Insurers often try to settle quickly and minimize payouts. The driver’s insurance company may offer you a quick, low settlement to close the case and save the company money. It is not in their best interest to pay out maximum compensation for damages.

Our Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers do not recommend signing the first settlement offer without consulting a qualified personal injury attorney first. You want to ensure that the offer covers not only your current bills and lost wages, but all future losses related to the accident. It should also account for your non-monetary losses. Once you sign a settlement agreement, you cannot ask for more money later. You want to avoid out-of-pocket costs due to accepting an inadequate settlement.

An experienced attorney can ensure you do not accept a low settlement. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf with the driver’s insurance company for fair compensation. If the driver’s insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation, your attorney can take the case to court and fight for maximum compensation.

Pedestrian accidents

Get a Free Case Review With Our Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Have you or a loved one suffered serious injuries after being hit by a car in Los Angeles or Southern California? Did someone else’s negligence result in your injuries? If so, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

At the Law Offices of Steers & Associates, we have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. With more than 40 years of combined experience, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers can determine whether you have a viable case and help you understand your legal options for seeking compensation.

We provide a free, no-obligation consultation. During a consultation, we can answer your legal questions, discuss your situation, and determine how we may be able to help you. Call us at (800) 824-5416 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your case review today.