As a pedestrian, you should feel safe crossing the street while walking in the crosswalk. Drivers must wait for a pedestrian to finish crossing before they continue driving.
However, some drivers do not pay attention and strike a pedestrian who is lawfully crossing the street. If you were hit by a car in the crosswalk, you have legal rights in California. Contact the Long Beach car accident lawyers at the Beliz Law Firm today to learn more.
What Should You Do Following a Pedestrian-Car Accident
Immediately following an accident, the steps you take are essential and can impact your injury claim for compensation. Try to remain calm, so you remember everything you need to do.
Contact the Police
Start by contacting the police if no one else already has. It’s important to let the 911 dispatcher know a driver struck you as a pedestrian in the crosswalk. You want medical personnel to respond and assess your injuries. Be very cautious about what you say at the scene of the accident. The driver might take something you say out of context, and the insurance adjuster might use these statements against you in a liability investigation.
Exchange Contact Information
Hopefully, the driver of the vehicle did not flee the scene. You will need to exchange contact information and get their insurance information. Did anyone else witness the accident? If so, you will need to obtain contact information for each witness. Don’t assume that the witnesses will still be there when the police arrive. Someone may not be able to wait, so get their information before they have a chance to drive away.
If you are physically able, you can also try to take photos of the accident scene. Include pictures of the driver’s vehicle and any debris on the ground. Are there skid marks before the crosswalk? Is it raining? Be sure to capture this information as well. If you can get photos of your injuries, that’s also helpful evidence.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you do not require transport to the emergency room following the accident, be sure to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Insurance adjusters will use any delay in treatment to their advantage. They could allege you were not seriously injured or that another event after the accident caused your pain.
Contact an Attorney
Pursuing a pedestrian accident claim is complicated, and you will need an advocate on your side who can help you navigate the legal challenges. Anything you say to the insurance company can be used against you, so it’s best to get an attorney right away. Let them talk to the insurance adjuster for you so you don’t accidentally say something you regret later.
Determining Liability in a Pedestrian Accident
The driver’s insurance company will be looking for any option possible to place some liability onto you—thereby lessening their exposure. California follows the legal theory of negligence known as pure comparative negligence.
With pure comparative negligence, you could be partially responsible for the accident and still collect compensation for your injuries. However, your percentage of liability would reduce your overall award or settlement. For instance, if a court found you to be 20% at fault and your total damages were $100,000, you would likely end up getting $80,000 in compensation.
Who Pays for Your Injuries?
Determining who pays for your injuries and damages depends on who is legally responsible. Potentially liable defendants include:
- The driver of the vehicle,
- The vehicle owner if different than the driver,
- A company if the driver was in a company-owned vehicle, or
- A government agency if the person was driving a city or county vehicle.
The driver might allege a vehicle defect contributed to the accident, such as brake failure. If there is a verifiable defect, an additional defendant could be an auto manufacturer or mechanic.
Hire Our Lawyer
Working with an attorney after a pedestrian accident is crucial. It is best to have a legal advocate on your side who will protect your rights after being hit by a car in the crosswalk. Your lawyer will help you determine all liable parties and handle communication and settlement negotiations with the defendants and their legal representatives.
Getting the maximum compensation for your injuries requires strong evidence and an understanding of insurance company tactics aimed at lowering your recovery. At the Beliz Law Firm, we know every trick the insurance companies will try to use to avoid paying you the money you deserve—and we know how to hold their feet to the fire until they make a reasonable offer.
Don’t risk getting less money than you should receive. Contact the Beliz Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you hold the liable parties responsible for the harm they caused you.