Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Orange County

Not everyone on our roads is in a car or motor vehicle. Whether it is for recreation or transportation, many people regularly walk, jog, run, bike, or ride a skateboard. Unfortunately, this can be risky as thousands of people are injured every year in California as a pedestrian.

Some of the most serious injuries occur on our roadways to people who are not in a vehicle. At any moment, an inattentive driver can jump a curb or fail to stop at a light. If a person is hit by a car while walking by, riding a skateboard or scooter, Beckerman Anderson, APC can help him or her obtain compensation for those injuries. Even if the driver was uninsured or committed a hit-and-run, Beckerman Anderson, APC may be able to obtain compensation from the victim’s own insurance.

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, please review the information on this page and call Beckerman Anderson, APC with any questions.

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I was injured in a pedestrian accident, how do I get compensation?

The first step in any pedestrian accident case is to identify who was responsible and what potential sources of compensation are available. In most situations, the pedestrian will want to look to the vehicle driver and his or her insurance company. However, sometimes, particularly in cases with a severe injury where the pedestrian is taken by ambulance or, even worse, if the pedestrian suffers a wrongful death, then the identity of the driver might not be known. In such cases, it is important to conduct an investigation as soon as possible after the accident to try to find out who caused the accident. Sometimes canvassing the area quickly can uncover witnesses or video footage of the accident which makes the difference between identifying the driver and not. At Beckerman Anderson, APC we have the resources and know-how to track down the responsible parties.

 

And even if it is a hit-and-run where the driver cannot be located, it is possible that the pedestrian may still be able to obtain compensation from his or her own Uninsured Motorist policy or that of a family member.

 

It is also possible that environmental factors could have contributed to the occurrence of the accident. There could have been weather conditions, obstructions in the road, defective road designs, non-working equipment or other factors which make the city or other property owner partially responsible for the occurrence of the incident. That is why it is very important to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can analyze all the factors and identify all the potential avenues for recovery.

Prove Who Was at Fault for the Accident

Once all the potential sources of recovery are determined, the next step is to prove who was at fault for the accident. This is done by collecting evidence which proves who was responsible. Again, having a skilled accident attorney is very helpful in this area because evidence can come in many forms. It can be witness statements, vehicle photographs, diagrams, scene photographs, video, or many other things. Sometimes it is something small that the untrained eye does not even notice which makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful claim.

 

To prove someone was at fault, you need to be able to prove that his or her conduct fell below what a reasonably prudent person would have done in those circumstances. This could come in any myriad of ways. A driver could have been speeding, sending a text message, rolled a stop sign, run a red light, or just not have been paying attention. There are laws against many of these things, but even if the driver did not get a ticket, that does not mean the driver was not responsible for the accident.

What if I was at Fault for the Accident?

Insurance adjusters are notorious for trying to deny claims and/or settle for substantially less than an injured person is entitled to on the basis that the pedestrian was at fault for the accident. While it is true that pedestrians have an obligation to follow traffic laws and conduct themselves in a reasonable and prudent manner, that is not the end of the story.

 

As a pedestrian, you should always be on the lookout for your own personal safety. Look both ways before you cross the street. Use crosswalks and walk lights. Wear reflective material if out at night. However, even if you did something that an insurance adjuster could try to say was unreasonable, that does not mean the driver is excused. A driver of a vehicle still has the obligation to yield the right of way to pedestrians at all time and to operate their vehicle in such a manner to avoid injuring pedestrians.

 

So even if an insurance adjuster tells you that they are not going to pay because the accident was your, it is important to have the matter reviewed by an experienced accident attorney. The insurance company is only looking out for their own bottom line. An accident attorney is there to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.

What am I entitled to?

Once you are able to prove that someone else was responsible for the accident, the question turns to what you are entitled to receive as compensation. As far as that is concerned, you are entitled to compensation for any damages that were caused by the accident. Though this sounds straightforward, it often is very nuanced and can require a skillful pedestrian accident attorney to get the full value.

 

The first category of damages is called special or economic damages. These are essentially your out of pocket losses and include items like medical expenses, lost earnings, and lost earning capacity. They are items that can be determined by referenced to documentation like medical bills, paystubs and earnings records. It is important to gather the evidence and documentation that not only proves the amount of these damages, but also just importantly, proves that the damages were the result of the accident and not some other cause.

 

In pedestrian accidents, because the pedestrian does not have a vehicle to protect himself or herself, the injuries can often be far more severe than in auto vs. auto accident. Although soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains, contusions, cuts, and bruises occur regularly, pedestrians are also at increased risk for more severe injuries like:

  • Broken bones
  • Spinal injuries
  • Torn ligaments
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Wrongful death

When you have an injury that is severe, it is more important than ever to have an injury attorney representing you to make sure you get all the compensation to which you are entitled.

The second category of damages is called general or non-economic damages. There are not as easy to calculate because there is no documentation which states their amount. Rather, they compensate for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation and emotional distress. Again, having a talented accident attorney on your side can help make the case for the severity of your general damages.

What are the steps to get actually get the compensation?

There really are two main options for actually getting the compensation. You can either make a claim with the insurance company and go through their claims process or file a lawsuit. Of course, as with everything in the law, there can be some intricacies depending on the nature of the case which change the process, but generally speaking, those are the options.

Because of the time and expense involved with a lawsuit, it is often best to at least try the insurance claims process first and only if a fair settlement cannot be reached, then go to a lawsuit. However, every case is different and sometimes filing a lawsuit right away is the best strategy.

Typically, an injured person has two years from the date of the accident in order to file a lawsuit. This is called the “statute of limitations.” This may seem like a long time, but often times it can take a pedestrian months or even years to recover from his or her injuries. When a pedestrian is injured in an accident, it is often impossible to know at the start the exact extent of those injuries and how much the treatment is going to cost. It can take quite some time until the full scope of that injury is known. While the injured pedestrian is focused on recovering from the injuries, a good personal injury attorney will use that time to prepare the case, find the evidence and legal authority which bests supports the claim.

If a lawsuit is filed, that does not necessarily mean there will be a trial. Most cases settle without trial. When a lawsuit is filed, the court will set a trial date for you that is often a year or more away. During that time, you or your attorney can continue to negotiate with the defense attorney and insurance company to try to reach a fair resolution. If the insurance company is worried that the jury is going to award you a lot of money, they will be more inclined to offer you more. It will be up to you, using the advice of your attorney, to decide whether the amount offered is fair or whether you want to take it to trial.

With our experience protecting the rights of individuals harmed by the negligence and misconduct of others, Beckerman Anderson, APC, will zealously represent you if you have been injured. Our attorneys have collected millions of dollars for injured victims. If you’ve been injured and need the help of an accident attorney to get you the compensation you deserve, call (877) LAW-3434.

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