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Do you walk to work or to run errands every day? Whether you enjoy the California sunshine, want to cut down on your carbon footprint, or enjoy exercising, you’re one of the millions of people who choose walking as their main method of transportation.
Walking is great for your health and well-being, but unfortunately it can be hazardous as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013 alone, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in accidents with thousands more injured.
California specifically tops the list for the most pedestrian accidents for the second year in a row. In 2014, there were an estimated 700 pedestrian deaths due to accidents. That’s in addition to the hundreds of non-fatal injuries that occur every year. These accidents can be particularly severe, with injuries ranging from broken bones to brain trauma and spinal injuries. However, pedestrian injuries can take on many forms and do not always result from a car accident. Sometimes pedestrian accidents occur because of poorly maintained sidewalks, unclear signs, or other negligent behavior.
Since pedestrians usually have no protective gear while walking, accidents can often result in significant injuries and substantial medical expenses. It’s not uncommon to miss work, and in some cases, lose the capacity to work in the future. If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident and have suffered injuries, contact an Orange County personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. If the incident resulted from another party’s negligence, then you may have a case.
Hiring a lawyer is often the best way to obtain fair and full compensation for your losses, including medical bills and lost wages. Our lawyers at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can work with you through every phase of a lawsuit, fighting for fair recovery on your behalf. An injury lawyer from our law firm can help you with the recovery process in many ways after a pedestrian collision.
One of the key matters your lawyer can handle for you is dealing with an insurance company after a pedestrian accident. The insurance company you contact to request benefits – often, the driver’s insurance company – will not be on your side. You may need a lawyer to negotiate with the claims adjuster for you to achieve a fair outcome. While money won’t resolve everything, a fair settlement can help you and your family move forward after a devastating accident.
Before you can recover financial compensation from someone else for your injuries and losses as an injured pedestrian, you will have to prove that person’s fault. This is how the insurance system works in California and all fault-based insurance states. The driver’s insurance company will need proof or evidence of its policyholder’s fault before it will pay for the collision. In general, proving fault requires clear and convincing evidence that four main elements are true.
During a pedestrian accident case in Orange County, it will be up to you or your personal injury attorney to prove fault. The burden of proof in a civil claim rests with the plaintiff (the injured victim). Hiring a lawyer from DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can make it easier to prove fault and establish negligence during a claim. Our lawyer can help you gather proof of fault and present it to an insurance company, judge or jury.
Negligence is defined as a failure to act in a reasonable manner. When driving a vehicle, that means looking out for other people on the road, whether they’re driving, biking, or walking. It also means following the rules of the road and respecting the speed limit.
In 2013, 69% of all pedestrian accidents occurred in non-intersection locations. This indicates two things:
In some cases, both parties are at fault. That’s where California’s comparative negligence clause comes into play.
Comparative negligence allows both parties to be partially at fault for the accident and still collect compensation. Perhaps you crossed the street at night and forgot to check the road, but the driver who hit you was going over the speed limit or was distracted.
In this case, you might be partially at fault because you didn’t look both ways, but the driver was also at fault for driving in a reckless manner. If fault is shared, for example, then you’ll collect only a portion of the total compensation awarded.
Your attorney will gather evidence to minimize your share of fault. This may entail collecting medical records, police reports, witness statements, and other documents. Furthermore, he or she will also use evidence to maximize your compensation amount based on damages. Damages are a money award that serve as compensation for loss and injury. These include:
• Medical expenses – including doctor’s visits, treatment, and medication.
• Lost wages from missing work, now and in the future.
• Pain and suffering, both emotional and physical.
• Property damage.
• Wrongful death or loss of consortium if you lost a loved one.
By increasing damage amounts and decreasing fault in the accident, your attorney will help you receive the most compensation possible.
You must act quickly if you believe you have grounds to bring a claim against someone else for a pedestrian accident in California. The state has a statute of limitations that places a deadline on every injured victim’s right to file. In most cases, this deadline is two years from the date the accident occurred or the date of injury discovery.
If you wait until more than two years have passed to try to file a claim, the courts in Orange County will most likely refuse to hear your case. If your claim qualifies as an exception to the rule, however, you may have more or less time to file. Bringing a lawsuit against the government, for example, comes with a shorter statute of limitations than the average injury claim in California. Talk to an attorney for a more precise filing deadline.
At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, we fight for our clients with compassion and vigilance. We provide effective representation for clients in Orange County and surrounding areas in Southern California and have more than 30 years of experience fighting and winning pedestrian accident cases.
We approach each of our cases as if they involve a family member, and we will come to you where and whenever is best for you. Dealing with insurance companies and medical professionals can be stressful after an accident, so let us help and give you the peace of mind you need. Contact us today for a free consultation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Orange County, contact our injury attorneys for a free legal consultation 24/7.