Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can a Pedestrian Ever Be at Fault for a Car Accident in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Many people think that accidents involving pedestrians mean that the driver is always at fault. However, that is not always the case. Understandably, prospective clients want to know, Can a pedestrian be at fault? Liability differs in every case, and yes, a pedestrian can be at fault in a car accident. You often hear the saying that “pedestrians have the right of way,” but that isn’t necessarily always the case. Drivers and pedestrians have a duty to act as a prudent person with reasonable care. Failure to do so could result in potential negligence against a pedestrian in an accident claim. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a negligent party, speak with an experienced California pedestrian injury lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm. Pedestrian Accidents in California Pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in California. When a pedestrian fails to comply with the crosswalk or pedestrian laws, the driver may have the right-of-way. The law doesn’t protect pedestrians when they violate the law, such as jaywalking between vehicles. That means pedestrians can be legally at fault for causing a crash.  An example would be a pedestrian who darts out between two parked cars in front of a vehicle, causing the driver to crash into the parked cars. In this case, the pedestrian might be liable for the damage to those parked vehicles. Other examples of situations where pedestrians might be liable in an accident include: Crossing at a crosswalk, but violating a traffic law such as crossing on a red light when it says don’t walk; Walking on a bridge or highway where pedestrian traffic is prohibited; or Acting recklessly, negligently, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While pedestrian traffic is prohibited in places such as a highway or freeway, it doesn’t mean a driver can hit someone and have no fault. A motorist may break down and walk to a call box or get off the highway to get assistance. Drivers still have a duty to be cautious and avoid striking them. Shared Fault for Pedestrian Accidents Pedestrian accident liability is sometimes split between the driver and pedestrian, where both parties are deemed to be partially responsible for the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages in an accident, even if you are primarily at fault for the collision. Even in cases where it might appear a pedestrian is clearly at fault, it’s possible the driver will still have some liability. For example, maybe a pedestrian jaywalked, but the driver was distracted and speeding or under the influence of alcohol. The defendant’s insurance company will do their best to put some if not all the liability on you, whether you’re the driver or pedestrian. Even if they can prove only 10% or 20% liability, it means they can reduce their exposure and potential payout. For example, if a jury finds you 15% at fault, you would collect 85% of your damages. It also means the other party would be able to pursue 15% of their damages from your insurance. How a California Pedestrian Injury Attorney Can Assist You If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, retaining a skilled California pedestrian injury lawyer is essential. You need a legal advocate on your side who can protect your rights and help you fight for the maximum compensation in your case. When you retain the Beliz Law Firm to represent you, we will immediately open an independent investigation. Our team will order your medical records and police report, speak with witnesses, and do a scene investigation. In some cases, we may need to hire an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist. This expert will review the facts of the accident. They will prepare a report deciding whom they believe to be at fault for the collision. They can also testify on your behalf should your case eventually go to trial. An accident reconstructionist’s report can be a crucial part of your case. We will also handle all communication and settlement talks with the other party’s insurance or legal practitioners. Insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t do this for a living. Adjusters will rarely ever offer you the total value of your claim. Instead, they will do their best to minimize your payout and put the majority of the blame on you when investigating pedestrian accident liability. Should the other party’s insurance fail to negotiate or refuse to accept any liability, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact a California Pedestrian Attorney Today If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a California auto accident with a pedestrian, contact The Beliz Law Firm. We have nearly two decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you. We understand the applicable laws and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying damages. Our firm has the skills and resources available should you choose to proceed with preparing a case for trial. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We will review your case, help you identify the liable party, and assess what your case is worth. Let us determine the best course of legal action and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What are the Laws in California Regarding a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

It’s dangerous out there being a pedestrian. Not only do you have to worry about California’s crumbling sidewalks, but distracted and aggressive motorists show very little respect for pedestrians. According to one source, pedestrian deaths account for 22% of all traffic fatalities, so it important that pedestrians protect themselves. At the Beliz Law Firm, we receive a common question: “I got hit by a car while crossing the street. What are my rights?” In this post, we will explain how the law protects pedestrians in California and what to do after a collision. Hitting a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk All motorists must operate their vehicles with sufficient care. This does not mean that they must be perfect, but they must use due care so as not to injure anyone—including pedestrians. When drivers fail to be sufficiently careful, they are negligent and legally responsible for the injuries they cause. Examples of negligence include: Failing to stop Running a red light Trying to scoot around a pedestrian Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving Backing up without checking in the rearview mirror California Vehicle Code § 21950 confirms that both pedestrians and motorists owe each other a duty of care. The code specifically states that motorists who are approaching a pedestrian in any marked or unmarked crosswalk must slow down their vehicle and take any other action necessary to avoid hitting a pedestrian. However, the Code also says that pedestrians must not rush in front of a vehicle so that they create a hazard. Pedestrians also cannot delay traffic while in the crosswalk. If a driver fails to operate their vehicle carefully, and they injure a pedestrian, then the pedestrian can sue the driver for compensation. However, if the pedestrian did not exercise care, they might not have a lawsuit. Use Common Sense Pedestrians and motorists can protect everyone’s safety by using common sense and not being in a rush to get somewhere. Simply wait for vehicles or pedestrians to get through the crosswalk before heading across. The California Driver Handbook implores pedestrians and motorists to exhibit courtesy to each other, which will reduce the chances of an accident. Of course, some accidents are unavoidable, and pedestrians should do everything possible to protect their right to compensation. For example, you should do the following after getting struck: Contact emergency services to have an ambulance come out. Take pictures of anything, such as damage to the car that hit you, or the area where you landed. If you are in extreme pain, ask someone else to take these pictures with their camera. Contact the police to come out to the accident and write up a police report. These reports will contain important information. Identify any witnesses to the collision. Get their names and contact information. Promptly seek medical attention. The more information you find, the greater your case for compensation. If you are too injured to collect anything, then ask for help or have your lawyer look for this information as soon as possible. Contact Us Today If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, laws in California protect you. These laws allow injured pedestrians to hold negligent drivers accountable when they negligently injure other people. At the Beliz Law Firm, we meet with many people who have suffered devastating injuries in pedestrian crashes, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and permanent nerve damage. We know how stressful it is to be in pain and possibly unable to work. To speak with an attorney, please reach out to us today. One of our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you to discuss your case. Avoid delay. California law gives injured pedestrians a short amount of time to request compensation after a crash.

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Attorney Portrait Pedestrian Accidents

Three Tips on How to Deal with Insurance Companies

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Most personal injuries claim are handled by insurance companies. In the majority of states, even for car accidents, this is an adversarial process. You and the insurance are on opposite sides of the negotiation, and it is just that – a negotiation. It’s important to recognize that the insurance company has every incentive to pay you as little as possible for your claim and no incentive to honor the full value of your claim. On the one hand, this makes sense because it keeps both parties honest. On the other hand, if one party is at a supreme disadvantage, they generally get steamrolled by the other party. For that reason, the majority of those who are in serious car accidents or other personal injury suits request the aid of an attorney to manage their claim. As attorneys, we are in a position to give some advice on the issue. These are three tips for dealing with insurance companies. #1. Say Nothing to the Other Person’s Insurance Company Insurance adjusters often try to contact those who have just been in serious car accidents. They’ll tell you that they’re trying to help you and any information that you can give them will help your claim get processed quicker. The truth is that they have no intention of helping you and any information that you give them may be used against you to devalue your claim. It could be as subtle as asking loaded questions like “how are you feeling today”. This may sound innocuous, but you’re naturally reflex might be to say “much better”, “not bad” or something like that. There is a natural human instinct to put those who express concern at ease. But either of those answers could be taken as a sign that you are not entitled to extensive damages regardless of whether or not you are. #2. Disable Your Social Media Accounts Again, your grandmother from across the country may ask you how you’re feeling. How are you most likely to respond? You will respond in a way that sets her mind at ease. Meanwhile, insurance companies are building evidence against you. When you attempt to make a claim for emotional trauma or extensive injuries they’ll point to your conversation with your grandma that you are doing much better than you claim you are. On the one hand, that’s their job. On the other, it may affect negatively on your case. #3. Let Your Attorney Manage All Communication Once you retain legal counsel your attorney will manage all communication regarding your injuries and claim. Insurance companies will be forced to negotiate with them instead of you. While many folks successfully negotiate settlements with insurance companies, they don’t typically have serious injuries they need to be compensated for. The greater your injuries, the more important it is that you retain the services of a qualified personal injury attorney. Remember, you’ll only get one chance to receive compensation for your injuries. If you jump at a low offer you’re signing away your rights to further pursue damages. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve suffered serious injuries due to another’s negligence, call the personal injury attorneys at Beliz Law Firm at (562) 452-3772 or contact us online and we can begin building your case right away. Common Injuries Faced by Pedestrians After a Car Accident When a pedestrian is hit by a car, they very seldom have the advantage. The car is larger and it’s moving faster. Even a car moving at the relatively slow speed of 10 mph can do serious irreversible damage to a defenseless pedestrian. While the pedestrian has a duty to obey traffic signals and traffic laws, so does the car. Furthermore, the car has a duty to attempt to avoid the pedestrian. That is the case even when the pedestrian is jaywalking or committing some other violation. In that event, the illegal actions of the pedestrian do not negate either the illegal actions of the driver nor their duty to avoid the pedestrian. Even pedestrians who are partially at fault for an accident can collect a major settlement or jury award. The reason for that is due to the fact that pedestrians suffer extensive injuries in collisions with cars. Some of those injuries can change a person’s life forever. Traumatic Brain Injury The term “traumatic brain injury” is generic enough to encompass a wide array of head injuries that vary in severity. But more often than not pedestrians will suffer from concussions at the very least. In very bad scenarios they can suffer permanent brain damage that compromises their ability to do their jobs, maintain employment, or experience a full range of emotions. Damage to certain parts of the brain can be fatal. In addition, the brain can suffer damage from swelling or bleed internally. Spine and Neck Injuries Depending on how a pedestrian is hit, the chances that they suffer serious damage to their spine or neck are not negligible. From these, permanent paralysis can result. This can force major changes to a person’s line of work. If they depended on their ability to stand in order to do their job, then they will need to find a new line of work. Not only would they be entitled to collect on their loss of income, but they could also collect on training necessary to enter a new field of employment. In the most severe cases, the paralysis is lifelong and leaves the injured party without the use of either their arms or legs. These individuals require 24-hour care. They are entitled to collect damages to pay for that care. Bone and Organ Damage Depending on the size of the vehicle that hits a pedestrian, extensive damage to various parts of the body can occur. Even smaller vehicles can cause serious damage to the arms, legs, and the “core”, like the ribs. This, in turn, can lead to potentially fatal internal bleeding or severe organ damage. In every case, the pedestrian may likely need multiple...

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Common Injuries Faced by Pedestrians After a Car Accident

| Read Time: 2 minutes

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, they very seldom have the advantage. The car is larger and it’s moving faster. Even a car moving at the relatively slow speed of 10 mph can do serious irreversible damage to a defenseless pedestrian. While the pedestrian has a duty to obey traffic signals and traffic laws, so does the car. Furthermore, the car has a duty to attempt to avoid the pedestrian. That is the case even when the pedestrian is jaywalking or committing some other violation. In that event, the illegal actions of the pedestrian do not negate either the illegal actions of the driver nor their duty to avoid the pedestrian. Even pedestrians who are partially at fault for an accident can collect a major settlement or jury award. The reason for that is due to the fact that pedestrians suffer extensive injuries in collisions with cars. Some of those injuries can change a person’s life forever. Traumatic Brain Injury The term “traumatic brain injury” is generic enough to encompass a wide array of head injuries that vary in severity. But more often than not pedestrians will suffer from concussions at the very least. In very bad scenarios they can suffer permanent brain damage that compromises their ability to do their jobs, maintain employment, or experience a full range of emotions. Damage to certain parts of the brain can be fatal. In addition, the brain can suffer damage from swelling or bleed internally. Spine and Neck Injuries Depending on how a pedestrian is hit, the chances that they suffer serious damage to their spine or neck are not negligible. From these, permanent paralysis can result. This can force major changes to a person’s line of work. If they depended on their ability to stand in order to do their job, then they will need to find a new line of work. Not only would they be entitled to collect on their loss of income, but they could also collect on training necessary to enter a new field of employment. In the most severe cases, the paralysis is lifelong and leaves the injured party without the use of either their arms or legs. These individuals require 24-hour care. They are entitled to collect damages to pay for that care. Bone and Organ Damage Depending on the size of the vehicle that hits a pedestrian, extensive damage to various parts of the body can occur. Even smaller vehicles can cause serious damage to the arms, legs, and the “core”, like the ribs. This, in turn, can lead to potentially fatal internal bleeding or severe organ damage. In every case, the pedestrian may likely need multiple surgeries and an extensive period of rehabilitation. This can keep them out of work for an extended period of time while medical expenses and other bills pile up. Contact a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today If you’ve suffered injuries in a pedestrian-car accident, you are entitled to collect damages. Call the personal injury attorneys at Beliz Law Firm at (562) 452-3772 or contact us online and we can begin building your case right away.

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Attorney Portrait Pedestrian Accidents

Common Reasons Why Pedestrian Accidents Happen in California

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Walking might be a healthy alternative to driving, but walking is also risky. Pedestrians, unlike motorists, are completely unprotected in a collision, which dramatically increases their chances of death or serious bodily injury. Furthermore, many hazards exist for the unwary pedestrian, who can slip or trip and injure themselves on public or private property. If you have suffered an injury, you should contact a Long Beach pedestrian accident lawyer to begin building your case for compensation. Car Accidents By far, the biggest danger to pedestrians is a motor vehicle. Drivers strike pedestrians all the time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,735 pedestrians were killed in 2013 and another 66,000 were injured in traffic crashes. According to the Los Angeles Times, California is a leader in pedestrian deaths, with about 700 in 2014. Although the number of deaths has not increased with population growth, it also has not fallen, either. Drivers do not intend to collide with pedestrians. Nevertheless, they tend to collide for the following reasons: Driving under the influence. Drugs and alcohol suppress reflexes and make it difficult for drivers to process information. Unfortunately, driving while impaired continues to be a serious problem in California. Statistics show that alcohol or drugs play a role in about 1 out of 7 pedestrian accidents. Poor visibility. Rain, fog, and smoke can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. Also, pedestrians are less visible in the dark than during the day. Unfortunately, many pedestrians do not wear reflective clothing, so drivers never see them. Distracted driving. There are endless distractions nowadays. Drivers can easily get distracted by reading or sending a text message or talking on the phone. Other distractions include conversations with people in the car, adjusting controls, and eating or drinking. All it takes is a split second for a driver to take their eyes off the road and they can quickly come upon a pedestrian. Driving too fast. The faster a vehicle travels, the less time it has to stop. Indeed, even hitting the brakes will not stop a vehicle in time to avoid a collision if it is traveling too fast. For this reason, driving too fast is a leading cause of crashes. Small children. Young children crossing a road might be invisible to drivers because of their size. Unfortunately, young children are also the most vulnerable to devastating injuries when struck by a moving vehicle. We also cannot avoid mentioning that pedestrian carelessness can contribute to accidents as well. Pedestrians are expected to follow traffic safety rules and cross at the crosswalk. Unfortunately, too many pedestrians make errors that end up putting them in harm’s way, such as jaywalking or trying to run in front of vehicles. Furthermore, distracted walking is a disturbing emerging trend. Just as drivers become distracted by phones and other electronic equipment, pedestrians with their nose pressed against their smartphone do not hear cars or see them approaching. Distracted walkers can, unfortunately, contribute to their own deaths or bodily injuries. Trips and Falls Pedestrians can also suffer serious injuries by tripping and falling. Few people watch carefully where they are stepping, instead of assuming that the parking lot or sidewalk will be level and free of holes or other hazards. However, as pedestrians soon find out, they can easily slip or trip and suffer a head or other injury after falling. In California, pedestrians can trip or slip over the following: Uneven steps in a staircase; Uneven and cracked sidewalks; Liquid gathered on a walking surface; Gathered rainwater in the parking lot or outside the entrance to a store The key to receiving compensation will be to show that the premises owner did not manage their property with reasonable care by fixing hazards or warning people about them.  If you tripped on a public space, such as a road or sidewalk, you can sue the state or one of its municipalities, but you will need a Long Beach pedestrian accident lawyer help you meet the strict requirements. Apportioning Fault California law recognizes that both pedestrians and drivers can be responsible for a collision. In some states, any negligence on the part of the pedestrian will keep him or her from bringing a lawsuit for financial compensation. Fortunately, California has changed its approach to the law and does not bar an injured victim from receiving damages. Instead, California has adopted a pure comparative negligence scheme which allows an injured victim to receive compensation so long as someone else is at least 1% responsible for the crash.  Therefore a party is responsible for compensation up to the level of his or her negligence. Comparative negligence applies in all cases, including trip and falls. If a person had tripped over a hole in a parking lot because she was reading a text message, then a jury might believe she is partly responsible for the accident because she was distracted. Speak with a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Long Beach Injured pedestrians face a future of mounting medical bills and potential lost wages, in addition to pain and suffering. At the Beliz Law Firm, we have met with many injured pedestrians looking for hope that they can begin to repair their lives. Fortunately, we have obtained favorable settlements or verdicts for many of our clients, and we are offering our services to help you. To schedule your free consultation, please reach out today. Do not delay.

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Attorney Portrait Pedestrian Accidents

I Was Hit By a Car While Walking, Now What?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

A pedestrian accident can leave you in critical condition. Since a pedestrian lacks protection from a vehicle, this type of accident can result in a severe injury like fractures to the extremities, a disability, and even death. As an injured pedestrian accident victim, you can seek monetary compensation for your damages if the driver was at fault for the accident. Just like you would do if you had been hit while driving your own car, remain calm and gather as much evidence as you can in the moments following the accident. No matter what, always put your health and safety first. But be aware that a pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to help significantly. If you Need Emergency Medical Care, Call 911 The sheer force of a one-ton vehicle versus a 150-pound person can cause a tremendous amount of serious injuries in the person. Therefore it is not unusual after a pedestrian accident for emergency medical providers to arrive at the scene. If the injuries are severe, you may be taken by ambulance to the local emergency room. However, even if an ambulance was not called to the scene, you still may want to seek medical attention afterward. It is not unusual for pains to your body to come along hours or even days after a collision. Prompt medical care can mean the difference between an easy recovery and a difficult one, or even life and death. File an Accident Report with the Police Call local law enforcement and have an officer sent to the scene. Once he or she arrives, fill out a police report that details your information, what happened, when it happened, and any other relevant details like speeds and distances. This report will be an important piece of evidence to support your claim. Get the Information of the Car Driver Take down the driver’s contact and insurance information. If you file a personal injury claim, you will file it with his or her insurance provider. At this point, also take photographs of the collision scene and your injuries. These, too, will support your claim. If there are witnesses to the accident, take down their contact information as well. If the Driver Did Not Stop, Try to Remember All the Details you Can About It When a car keeps driving after hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle, the victim may be able to file a hit and run claim. If you can locate the driver, you can file a claim with his or her insurance provider. In your police report, note the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number. The more details you can provide, the easier it will be for the officer handling the report to help you locate the driver. Due to the quickness of the collision and your injuries, you may not be able to make out the vehicle’s details. You may still seek compensation for your damages through a hit and run claim with your own uninsured motorist coverage. Work with an Experienced Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer If you were walking on a sidewalk, on a street, or in a crosswalk and hit by a vehicle, contact an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your options for pursuing monetary compensation for your damages. This compensation could come from a personal injury claim with the driver or a claim using your uninsured motorist coverage. Contact The Beliz Law Firm today to schedule your free case evaluation in our office. Call us at 562-452-3772 to speak with Michael today.

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