Going for a leisure walk outside or getting a morning run in may not seem like extraordinarily dangerous activities. While such activities are beneficial for our health, they can also lead to tragic pedestrian accidents.
Because pedestrians lack physical protection around them that motor vehicles provide for vehicle occupants, those involved in pedestrian accidents oftentimes sustain catastrophic injuries or are killed. If you are lucky enough to survive one of these events, you should know what your legal rights are and who is liable to pay for your damages.
Each year, thousands of pedestrians across California and the U.S. are seriously injured when they are struck by motor vehicles. The California Office of Traffic Safety even deemed pedestrian accidents as having reached “crisis proportions” in most recent years. Below are some statistics on accidents between pedestrians and vehicles:
So, how does the city of Fresno fare when it comes to pedestrian-vehicle accidents? Unfortunately, it’s probably not as safe as many would hope. A 2019 report entitled “Dangerous by Design” by Smart Growth America, a nonprofit dedicated to urban planning and metropolitan issues, found that Fresno ranks in the top 30 cities on the “Pedestrian Danger Index” in the U.S.
According to the study, there were 209 pedestrians killed on Fresno streets between 2008 and 2017. This comes out to 2.17 deaths per 100,000 people, making it the 26th deadliest metro area in the U.S. for pedestrians. It’s also the second deadliest in California, just behind the city of Bakersfield (the seventh nationally), which saw 247 pedestrian deaths in the same time span.
Drivers will generally always owe a duty of care to pedestrians, which means they should slow down and exercise caution as needed to keep pedestrians safe. According to California Vehicle Code 21950, motor vehicles are required to always yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street in a crosswalk.
Unfortunately, not all drivers take the precautions they should when approaching crosswalks, yielding to pedestrians, and operating their vehicles to keep pedestrians safe. The good news is that understanding how pedestrian accidents occur can help prevent them:
Vehicle drivers are not the only offenders of pedestrian accidents. In fact, pedestrians face a variety of hazards and are injured in knockdown accidents on a daily basis. Some ways that pedestrians are commonly knocked down include:
Ultimately, if you were injured as a pedestrian because of another person’s negligent actions, you may have legal grounds to file a personal injury claim in order to get compensated for your:
As an injured pedestrian, you may believe your case is fairly simple and pursuing compensation won’t be a problem. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t see it this way. Due to California’s comparative fault laws, an injured pedestrian could have their compensation reduced if they are found to be partly at fault for their accident.
You may know that you did nothing to cause the accident. However, in order to maximize their own profits and reduce payouts, the insurance company that you file a claim with may try to say that you were partially or wholly responsible for the accident because you:
To protect yourself and your rights to compensation after a pedestrian accident, it’s always recommended that you hire a dedicated pedestrian accident attorney who can work hard to ensure that you are not held liable for your injuries and the insurance company pays you the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.
After being injured, your job should always be to focus on getting better, not stressing over the legal obstacles that may present themselves and stand in the way of your recovery. At Fowler Helsel Vogt, our legal team has decades of experience fighting for justice on behalf of injured pedestrians and their families. We are here to help you through your most trying times.
Get zealous legal advocates in your corner today by calling (559) 900-1280 or filling out our online contact form. We answer our phones 24/7 and offer free case evaluations.
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