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.
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.
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.