The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) released a report in 2019 that projected 2018 would have the highest number of pedestrian deaths in almost 30 years. A new report by the GHSA reveals that pedestrian deaths are projected to increase by five percent from 2018 to 2019. The report also examines some of the reasons why pedestrian fatalities are increasing in the United States.

Pedestrians injured in traffic accidents sustain catastrophic injuries. Our California pedestrian accident lawyer helps pedestrians file injury claims for damages and losses caused by a negligent and reckless driver.

Keep reading to learn more about:

  • Pedestrian Accident Statistics in California
  • What Causes Pedestrian Accidents in California?
  • How Can You Avoid a Pedestrian Accident?
  • Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
  • How Much Money is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?
  • Steps to Take After a California Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian Accident Statistics in California

The 2018 GHSA Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State report projected that there would be 6,277 pedestrian deaths in 2018. That would mean that more individuals died in motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents during 2018 than any other year since 1990. California had the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2018 (432).

The 2019 GHSA Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State report states that the actual number of deaths caused by pedestrian accidents in 2018 totaled 6,283. In its latest report, the GHSA projects that the number of pedestrian deaths in 2019 will increase by five percent from 2018.

The projected number of individuals killed in pedestrian accidents in 2019 is expected to be 6,500, based on the pedestrian accident data from the first half of 2019. This number will be the largest number of deaths from pedestrian accidents in American since 1988. Again, California had the highest number of pedestrian deaths in 2019 for the first half of the year (519).

The rate of pedestrian fatalities as a percentage of total motor vehicle deaths is also increasing. In 2009, pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes represented 12 percent of overall traffic fatalities. In 2019, pedestrian deaths as a percentage of motor vehicle deaths were expected to be 17 percent. The last year that pedestrians accounted for such a large percentage of individuals killed in motor vehicle accidents was 1982.

California consistently has the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the country. Los Angeles is one of the four counties in the country that account for 10 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.

Los Angeles topped the list of counties for the highest number of deaths from pedestrian accidents for each year from 2014 through 2018. A CBSLA report detailed the 20 most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles for pedestrians and motorists. Sepulveda Boulevard and Sherman Way topped the list.

What Causes Pedestrian Accidents in California?

According to the GHSA, unsafe driving behaviors account for many of the pedestrian accident deaths each year. Unsafe driving behaviors that contribute to the cause of pedestrian accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted Driving
  • Drowsy Driving
  • Alcohol Impairment

Alcohol impairment by the motorist or the pedestrian was reported in about one-half of the traffic accidents that resulted in the death of a pedestrian in 2017 and 2018.

Also, a high number of pedestrian deaths occur at night. The larger number of SUVs on the road could also be a factor in the increase in pedestrian fatalities. Individuals struck by an SUV are at high risk for life-threatening injuries and catastrophic injuries. Pedestrians killed by SUVs increased by 81 percent compared to a 53 percent increase in pedestrian deaths from accidents involving passenger cars from 2018 to 2019.

Motorist error continues to be one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. In addition to the above reasons, failing to yield the right of way, drugged driving, and inexperienced drivers are also common reasons for pedestrian accidents.

How Can You Avoid a Pedestrian Accident?

One of the best ways to avoid pedestrian accidents is to be alert when walking. Avoid distractions and pay close attention to traffic and drivers. Also, know and understand pedestrian laws and traffic laws in California.

Pedestrian safety tips from the California Office of Traffic Safety include:

  • Avoid using cell phones, including texting while walking.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid distractions.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing to make yourself visible. Use a flashlight when walking at night.
  • Always look left-right-left before crossing a street.
  • Do not drink alcohol before going for a walk.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Cross streets at intersections and obey all traffic signals and pedestrian signals.

Teaching children about pedestrian safety is very important. SafeKids Worldwide has safety tips for children. NHTSA’s Pedestrian Safety page also has information and resources for learning more about pedestrian safety.

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Unfortunately, you can take all the safety steps possible to avoid a pedestrian accident, but you cannot control a driver’s behavior. Pedestrians struck by motor vehicles sustain catastrophic injuries and life-threatening conditions.

An individual does not have any protection from an impact with a motor vehicle. The person’s body takes the full blow from the impact of the collision. That force often throws the person into the air or into another object, which increases the severity of the injuries. In other cases, the person is crushed beneath the vehicle.

Common pedestrian accident injuries include:

  • Spinal cord and back injuries, including complete or partial paralysis
  • Neck and shoulder injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Facial injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Head and brain injuries, including concussions, brain hemorrhages, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal injuries, including damage to organs and bleeding
  • Abrasions and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Amputations

Thousands of people are injured in pedestrian accidents each year. The survivors often sustain permanent impairments and disabilities. For those who do not sustain disabilities or permanent impairments, it can still take numerous months to complete medical treatment and return to normal daily activities.

In many cases, a pedestrian may require extensive medical treatment, include surgery, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, to recover from injuries caused by a traffic accident. During the time it takes to recover from a pedestrian accident, the person may incur substantial financial damages, in addition to the pain and suffering caused by the pedestrian accident injuries.

How Much Money is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?

Many factors impact the value of a pedestrian accident claim. The most common factors that determine how much your injury claim is worth include, but are not limited to:

Injuries

The type and severity of your injuries from a pedestrian accident impact the value of your claim. Cases involving traumatic injuries, permanent impairments, and disabilities are often worth more than cases involving minor injuries for several reasons.

First, it costs more to treat catastrophic injuries and your financial losses from missing work increase. It is also assumed that you suffer more physical pain and emotional distress when you sustain a catastrophic injury compared to the suffering and pain caused by less severe injuries.

If the injury resulted in permanent disability or impairment, your quality of life is also diminished, which can increase the value of noneconomic damages. Permanent disabilities also increase the financial losses if you are unable to work or your earning potential is less because of the disability or impairment.

Financial Losses

If another party is completely responsible for the cause of the crash, you are generally entitled to reimbursement for all financial losses related to the accident, your injuries, and your recovery. Medical expenses, personal care, and loss of income typically make up the majority of financial losses in an accident case.

However, you may also include other out-of-pocket expenses such as medications, prescriptions, medical supplies, medical equipment, travel costs, and help with household chores in your accident claim.

You may also be entitled to compensation for future loss of income, ongoing medical treatment, and ongoing personal care if you sustain an impairment or permanent disability. Our California pedestrian accident lawyer works with medical experts and financial experts to maximize the value of future damages.

Liability

Under California’s personal injury laws, the party or parties responsible for causing an injury may be held liable for losses and damages sustained by the victim. However, you must prove that the party was at-fault for the cause of the pedestrian accident to hold that party liable for your damages.

A comprehensive accident investigation is generally necessary to gather evidence to prove fault. Our California pedestrian accident attorney performs a thorough investigation to identify who is responsible for causing the accident. We may work with various accident experts, such as an accident reconstructionist, to determine how the crash occurred.

Some steps we may take when investigating a pedestrian accident include:

  • Interviewing eyewitnesses
  • Examining the accident scene
  • Searching for video evidence of the accident, including videos from traffic cameras and surveillance cameras
  • Reviewing police reports and accident records
  • Reviewing the physical damage to the vehicle
  • Reviewing medical records

You must prove the motorist caused the accident to recover full compensation for your accident claim. Under California’s comparative fault laws, the compensation paid to a victim may be reduced if the victim shared fault for the cause of the injuries.

Therefore, the insurance company for the driver may claim that you are partially at-fault for the cause of the pedestrian accident. By alleging you shared in the responsibility for the crash, the insurance company is seeking to reduce how much your claim is worth. If it can convince a jury you were partially at fault, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the cause of the pedestrian accident.

Available Insurance Coverage

The available insurance coverage also impacts the value of a pedestrian accident claim. If the driver carries minimum liability car insurance, you may not recover as much as your injury claim is worth. We can obtain a judgment against the driver, but if the driver does not have sufficient assets to pay the judgment, you may only receive a portion of the value of your claim.

However, if you carry underinsured motorist coverage, we can file a claim against your insurance policy to recover additional funds. There could also be another party that might share some liability for the cause of the accident, such as an employer if the person was driving a company vehicle. Our legal team searches for every possible source of compensation available for your accident claim.

Documenting Damages and Losses to Calculate the Maximum Value for Your Personal Injury Claim

We work closely with your doctors and with you to carefully document your expenses and damages throughout the case. Careful documentation and detailed records help increase the chance that you recover maximum compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages related to pedestrian injuries.

Our California pedestrian accident lawyer carefully calculates the value of your claim based on your financial losses and noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages are the “pain and suffering” you experience because of the crash and your injuries. Pain and suffering damages include physical pain, mental anguish, scarring, disabilities, disfigurement, and emotional distress. It also includes loss of enjoyment of life.

Steps to Take After a California Pedestrian Accident

The steps that you take after a pedestrian accident in California also impact how much your personal injury claim is worth. Steps you can take after an accident to protect your legal rights include:

  • Call 911 to report the pedestrian accident. Wait for police and ambulances to arrive. Do not admit fault for the accident or say that you did not see the car. Do not say you are sorry because that could be misinterpreted as admitting fault for the crash.
  • Try to take pictures or make a video of the accident scene. If you cannot do this, a bystander might be willing to make a video with your cell phone.
  • Seek immediate medical treatment. You could be injured, even if you “feel okay.” Also, delays in medical care harm injury claims. Insurance companies use delays in medical care to claim you were not injured in the accident.
  • Do not discuss your accident or injuries on social media. It is best to avoid using social media while your injury case is pending. Anything you post online, send in a text, or put in an email could come up later in your case. Nothing is 100 percent private when it is sent electronically or posted online.
  • Do not discuss the accident or your injuries with an insurance adjuster until you talk to an attorney. The insurance adjuster might request and aggressively push you to make a written or recorded statement. Your statement could be used against you. It is best to talk with an attorney before providing statements or signing any forms so that you learn your legal rights and options from a trusted source who has your best interests in mind.
  • Contact a California pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney helps you take steps to protect your legal rights. Our legal team also provides the guidance and support you need as you continue to heal and recover from an accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver.

The Lawyers of The Thompson Law Office Fight to Protect The Rights of Injured Pedestrians in California

Being injured in a pedestrian accident can turn your life upside down. An accident can cause a financial crisis and disrupt the entire family. You deserve to be compensated fully for all your losses and expenses related to the accident. You also deserve compensation for your pain and suffering.

Please contact our office for a free consultation with a California pedestrian accident lawyer. Call 1-650-513-6111 for more information or to schedule your free consultation with a pedestrian accident attorney in San Mateo county. We are here for you when you need legal advice and guidance.