Were You Hit By a Car While Walking?
The city of Santa Ana is packed with great things to do, from the Bowers Museum to the Santa Ana Zoo. It is the most densely populated city in Orange County, and its downtown is best explored on foot. However, if you are a pedestrian in Santa Ana, you have to be cautious. A crosswalk or intersection accident could leave you severely injured.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a pedestrian accident due to someone else's negligence, contact Riverview Accident Lawyers. Our skilled pedestrian accident attorney in Santa Ana can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and more. Call us today for a free consultation.
Santa Ana Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Santa Ana's Vision Zero Plan reveals that the city has the 3rd highest rate of injury and death from traffic crashes for cyclists and the 5th highest for walkers among California's 13 most populous cities.
From 2017 through 2021, 375 pedestrians were killed by vehicles in Orange County. Many accidents occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight. A majority of those killed were males between the ages of 51 to 70.
Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
A Santa Ana pedestrian accident can leave you with severe injuries and financial loss. If a negligent driver caused you to suffer harm, you deserve compensation from them. However, the process of obtaining compensation can be challenging, especially if you have insurance adjusters calling you day and night.
When you hire a pedestrian accident attorney, they will handle all communication with the other party and their insurance company. They will investigate your case, gather evidence, file all necessary documentation, and send a demand letter to the insurance. If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, our injury lawyer will take your case to court.
Furthermore, a Santa Ana pedestrian accident attorney gives you peace of mind. While you focus on your recovery, we will be fighting on your behalf for maximum compensation. Leave the legwork to our experienced injury attorneys.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians and motor vehicles can be a deadly combination if one or both parties fails to respect the rules of the road. In many pedestrian accident cases, it is the vehicle driver’s negligence that leads to a crash.
Alcohol plays a major role in pedestrian accident cases. Drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs have a slower reaction time, impaired thinking, and reduced muscle coordination. Like the rest of the U.S., the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08% in California.
Intoxicated pedestrians also risk their own safety, as they lack awareness of their surroundings.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Speeding, running red lights, and weaving in and out traffic pose a serious risk to other drivers and pedestrians. If a driver speeds through a red light, they run the risk of hitting a pedestrian crossing the street who has the right of way.
In response to speeding, many residential areas have installed speed bumps. The state of California is also considering adding more speed cameras to deter drivers from excessive speed. Speeding also increases the risk of a hit-and-run, where a driver may hit a pedestrian and then flee the scene.
Failure to Yield Right-of-Way
Under California state law, pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks. This means that motorists must yield to pedestrians who are walking in a designated crosswalk.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrian accidents occur more frequently at night. In darkness, pedestrians are harder to see than other road users. Pedestrians are also less likely to wear reflective gear or lights.
An increase in SUVs and pickup trucks on the road have also led to more pedestrian fatalities. Higher vehicle hoods significantly reduce visibility, making it harder for drivers to see pedestrians.
A rise in distracted driving has also led to an increase in Santa Ana pedestrian accidents. Texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving, as it takes a driver’s eyes, mind, and hands off the road. A driver looking down at their phone or talking to a passenger may not see a pedestrian crossing and hit them.
Pedestrians must respect traffic signs and symbols in the same way that drivers do. While pedestrians can legally cross outside of the crosswalk, they must first check to see if it is safe to do so. If there is an immediate danger of a collision, pedestrians are legally not allowed to jaywalk. Pedestrians should not assume that the driver will slow down or see them.
Pedestrians should also avoid freeways, highways, and any other high-traffic areas where cars may be speeding and not watching for pedestrians.
Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim
When pedestrians are injured, they have the right to sue the person responsible for the injury. Compensation in personal injury claims can be divided into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent the actual financial loss of the victim, such as:
- Past and future medical expenses, including emergency room visit
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
On the other hand, non-economic damages represent non-monetary or “intangible” losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent disability
In some rare cases, injured pedestrians may recover punitive damages. These damages are awarded when the defendant’s behavior is deemed especially harmful.
Who Is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
In personal injury lawsuits, fault lies with who acted negligently and caused the accident. In some cases, liability is clear. If a driver was speeding and hits a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk, the driver is likely at fault. When fault is disputed between both parties, that is a sign to hire an experienced Santa Ana pedestrian accident lawyer.
To successfully obtain fair compensation, you must prove the following five elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: The defendant owed the plaintiff (the victim) a duty of care. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably and avoid harming the plaintiff.
- Breach: The defendant breached the duty of care by failing to act reasonably and violated the standard of care that was expected of them. For example, a driver breaches their duty by speeding, running red lights, driving under the influence, etc.
- Harm: The plaintiff suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm.
- Proximate cause: The defendant's breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm.
- Cause-in-fact: The defendant's breach was the cause-in-fact of the plaintiff's harm. This means that the plaintiff's harm would not have occurred if the defendant had not breached the duty of care.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Serious injuries or fatalities are all too common in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians lack the protective gear of a motorcycle or the safety of a vehicle, meaning their bodies are vulnerable to various trauma.
Some of the most common pedestrian injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries: Sprains and strains of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons can cause pain, swelling, bruising, and limited mobility. They may heal on their own or require physical therapy or surgery.
- Broken bones: Fractured bones can cause severe pain and require months of rest and rehabilitation. Depending on the type and location of the fracture, surgery may be needed.
- Head injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are one of the most common injuries suffered in a pedestrian incident. A brain injury can cause permanent brain damage or death.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the back and spine may affect mobility, either temporarily or permanently.
- Internal injuries: The internal organs can be ruptured or torn if the trauma is extremely forceful. Symptoms may not appear immediately, but require medical treatment.
- Psychological trauma: Pedestrians who are hit by motor vehicles may suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, stress, and other emotional distress.
What should I do after a pedestrian accident?
You should follow the same procedures for a pedestrian accident as you would any other traffic accident:
- Move out harm’s way and call 911
- Exchange information with the driver and witnesses
- Don’t admit fault or apologize
- Document your injuries with photos or videos
- Seek medical attention
- Alert your insurance company
- Talk to a Santa Ana pedestrian accident attorney before accepting a settlement
How long do I have to file a pedestrian accident claim?
There is a deadline to file a pedestrian accident claim in California. Under the statute of limitations, injury victims have two years from the date of their injury to file a personal injury case. If the accident involved a government entity, you have to file an administrative claim within six months.
How much does a pedestrian accident lawyer cost?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee. This means they do not collect upfront attorney fees or charge by the hour. Instead, they will take a percentage of the settlement if the case is won. The average contingency fee in California is 33%.
What if I was walking outside of a crosswalk?
You can still obtain compensation even if you were partially at fault. California follows a "pure comparative negligence" law, which allows pedestrians to claim damages for the percentage they are not at fault. For example, if a pedestrian was 30% at fault for the accident, they can still receive 70% of the damages from the driver.
What if the driver flees the scene?
If you are a victim of a hit-and-run, it is still important to call the police and report the accident. The police officer will document the accident and begin a search for the at-fault driver who fled the accident scene. If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information and witness statements.
A hit-and-run accident is a serious illegal offense that can result in fines, imprisonment, loss or suspension of a driver’s license, and points on the driver’s record.
What is the average settlement for a pedestrian accident case?
The average settlement for a pedestrian accident case can vary depending on the severity of the injuries, the driver’s liability, and the damages suffered by the accident victim. A Santa Ana pedestrian accident lawyer will help you navigate the legal process to hold the driver responsible.
Contact a Santa Ana Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Have you suffered a pedestrian accident injury? Our Santa Ana pedestrian accident lawyers have substantial experience dealing with negligent drivers and their insurance companies. We can guide you through the entire process and assist you in obtaining the compensation you are entitled to.
If a pedestrian accident has taken the life of someone you love, our legal team can also support bereaved families in seeking a wrongful death claim. We will fight for you and seek justice. Get in touch with our personal injury law firm today for a free consultation.