A pedestrian is defined as someone who walks or runs along the streets, roads, or any developed urban area. In California, this also includes walking through driveways, crossing the street, jay walking, or even walking between parked cars. People just love to be outside, walking their dogs, jogging, or going to the beach when living in or visiting the beautiful state of California due to its great weather.
INCREASES IN PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
As beautiful as California is, it does have some of the worst traffic and some of the highest numbers of pedestrian-related accidents. Over the years, this has led to steady increases in the number of pedestrian-related accidents resulting in serious injuries as well as fatalities. In response to these increases, insurance companies have begun offering lower and lower settlement offers to those who were injured or deceased in an accident.
Sadly, pedestrian accidents happen often and can occur at any time without warning. However, as a pedestrian, you have rights under California law. Even if the driver’s insurance company tries to place at fault, or you believe you might have contributed to the accident, when you are struck as a pedestrian in California you are likely still eligible for compensation.
PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS AND SEVERE INJURIES
Pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries to those involved. This can include things like head and brain trauma, spinal cord damage and paralysis, crushed or shattered limbs, lacerations, severe bruising or road burns, and internal bleeding. Sometimes, when a person is struck as a pedestrian, they might not feel any pain immediately following the accident. This is because some injuries take time for the body to process, and a person will not feel the full effects of their injuries for 12-72 hours. Internal injuries may not show symptoms for weeks or even months following an accident. In the worst cases, pedestrian accidents can be fatal. If you have been struck as a pedestrian, please consider visiting your nearest hospital or emergency department to rule out internal bleeding and other injuries.
Statistics show that the number of pedestrian deaths is highest for people who live in urban areas, walk on busy roads that lead to freeways, and walk around at night-time. Sometimes, as pedestrians, we do not use proper crosswalks. In the event that a person enters a roadway outside of the designated crosswalk, that person is still considered a pedestrian under California law. As a pedestrian in California, you are owed a duty by all persons operating a motor vehicle.
KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE FROM PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
Parents and guardians should always be careful when their children go out. Children should be accompanied to ensure that they are walking safely on the sidewalks, using crosswalks, and entering crosswalks safely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association suggests several ways to keep children safe when travelling as a pedestrian. First, plan ahead for the safest route. Second, understand traffic laws and right of ways. Third, always look for oncoming vehicles and walk defensively. When walking at night, you should bring lights or glowsticks and kids should wear bright or reflective clothing. Lastly, it’s best to choose routes with less traffic and streets with slower speeds. Children should also be aware of and instructed to stay away from busy streets with traffic that travel at high speeds.
CROSSING WHEN THERE IS NO SIDEWALK
When walking on the road, it’s always safest to walk where there are both sidewalks and lighting. You should know the rules about walking when there are no sidewalks. For example, if there are no sidewalks, walk on the left-hand side of the street. Also, look left-right-left before crossing a driveway or road, and when you cross a street at a corner, make sure you obey any pedestrian crossing signals. To avoid drivers from hitting you, make sure they can see you before crossing. Also be sure to watch for cars that might be backing up and be on alert for reverse lights and sounds.
MAKE EYE CONTACT
If you are walking in a parking lot, watch for drivers who might not see you and attempt to make eye contact before passing in front of them. Stay focused and alert when cars are around. Don’t text, listen to music, or do anything else that will make you less aware of your surroundings. In bad weather (rain, snow, fog) give drivers more time to slow down or stop. You might think they see you, but they often don’t.
No matter how many safety precautions you take as a pedestrian, accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian, it’s best to seek help from an experienced lawyer to represent you. Ryan L. Maughan, Esq. helps clients through these types of cases and understands the work required to help get you the settlement that you deserve. Call us at 949.503.9035 for a free consultation today.