Sunny California weather encourages lots of people to get out and walk. For some, walking is the primary means to travel to work or school or just around the block to the store. Pedestrians may be focused on crossing streets safely, but that can mean little when careless drivers start to lose focus and fail to monitor the road and crosswalks in front of them.
Drivers allow themselves to become distracted and take their eyes off the road. This can prove to be a dangerous mistake for an unprotected person on foot and can suddenly leave them with a severe and debilitating injury.
Supporting Pedestrian Accident Victims in California
If you are the victim of a careless driver’s error while out walking, don’t trust your recovery to that driver and his or her insurance agent. Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law of California, has seen the insurance industry from both inside and out over his long career and he knows what kind of tricks they use to rob hurting victims of the compensation they need to resume their lives.
Contact Maison Law to talk over what happened to you and let us help you decide the best course of action to get your recovery paid for and your financial hardships erased. It’s a no-obligation consultation that comes at no charge to you.
Distracted Driving Dangers in Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers who hit pedestrians often say they didn’t see the walker. This usually means they weren’t paying attention at the time and forgot to look out for any unprotected person on foot as they drove.
Of course, the greatest source of distraction is the cellphone. Drivers can be tempted to text, play music, and even play games while in traffic. Picking up or touching a cellphone while you drive is illegal in California. You can only use hands-free devices. And if you’re under 18 you can’t use a cellphone for any reason while driving, hands-free or not.
This will be of little comfort to a pedestrian attempting to recover from an injury caused by a driver distracted by a text notification.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles reported that there were over 426,000 handheld cell phone and texting convictions in a single year and found that the use of a cellphone triples a driver’s chances of hitting another car, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian.
What to do After a Pedestrian Accident in California
These driver distractions endanger pedestrians every day in The Golden State, but they can be hard to prove in some cases.
To prepare to demonstrate your innocence after getting hit you are best served to start collecting evidence right away. These are a few of the factors that can prove a driver was negligent:
- Contact 911 emergency services. Have ambulance crews check and document injuries. Give the responding officer a full account of what happened. Also, inform them if you saw the at-fault driver using a cellphone or otherwise acting recklessly.
- Document the scene with your cellphone in pictures and video. Note license plates, any work signage if the driver was on-the-clock for a rideshare or delivery company. Take photos of street and traffic signs and lane markings. Note the time of day and the weather conditions.
- Get contact information from witnesses. Find out what they saw and see if they’ll write out a signed and dated statement or give testimony on a video you shoot with your phone. Ask them if they say the driver using a cellphone or otherwise acting carelessly.
- Make sure you get the driver’s information from that driver or the investigating officer. Don’t make any statements to the driver about how the accident occurred or how badly you are hurt. Insurance companies like to use these statements against you later to cast doubt on your claim.
- See a doctor. Injuries may pop up later after the shock of what happened wears off. Get every pain documented.
- Don’t throw evidence out. Keep any damaged clothing, shoes, and personal items.
Of course, if you’re too injured to move or in too much pain, ask someone with you or a helpful bystander to try to gather some of these details for you. Once you talk with legal counsel, your attorney will also be working to collect valuable evidence and testimony to strengthen your case.
Compensation Deadlines After Accidents
California maintains a two-year statute of limitations on injury claims. That means you have 24-months to file a claim over pedestrian accidents. If you try to file after the two-years have expired your case will be rejected unless there are extenuating circumstances.
It seems like a long time, but actually, it’s better if you use as little of your allowed time as possible. If you file sooner rather than later, you and your lawyer will have an easier time securing evidence, requesting documents, and keeping track of witnesses and their current addresses.
If your accident claim meets with success by earning a fair settlement from an insurance company or through an award from a trial verdict you can hope to soon get relief from your bills and other hardships such as:
- Medical expenses and any future care expected to be needed.
- A permanent physical disability resulting in the need for therapy, medical equipment, and training for a new career if needed.
- Travel costs for doctor’s visits, appointments with specialists, and trips out of the area for second opinions and surgeries.
- Lost earnings and factoring in the time you may be away from work in the future.
- Emotional trauma, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms from the collision. A claim can earn money for counseling and psychological services.
- A loss of enjoyment of life and damage to family relationships.
- Destruction of property.
Contact a California Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrian victims may be told they can’t expect compensation for their injuries because their accident happened outside of a crosswalk. This is untrue. Drivers owe people on foot a “duty of care” no matter where they encounter them. Your injuries are likely worth more than insurance companies will let on. Don’t leave compensation on the table that you may definitely need to help rebuild your life.
If you are the victim of a scary mistake by a careless driver, discuss your options with attorney Martin Gasparian. It’s a free and confidential consultation that might open your eyes to what it will actually take for you to recover from your injury and get back on your feet financially. Mr. Gasparian believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice, and the personalized attention to detail their case deserves.