Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Serving Riverside & Orange County
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the number of pedestrian accidents and deaths has vastly increased across most of the nation, due to the increase in driver distractions, most especially texting and talking on cell phones. In fact, in 2015, there were 5,376 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the United States. This averages out to one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.6 hours. In addition to these pedestrian deaths, another 129,000 pedestrians are treated in emergency departments each year for crash-related injuries. Since pedestrians have absolutely no protection when hit by a 3,000-pound vehicle, the resulting pedestrian injuries are usually catastrophic. For each “trip” pedestrians make, they are 1.5 times as likely as a driver or passenger in a vehicle to be killed and, in most every case, the driver is to blame when a pedestrian accident occurs.
While a distracted driver might not be looking out for you, the attorneys at Greenberg & Greenberg are always on your side. If you have been injured by a motor vehicle, it’s important that you not only seek the medical attention you need, but also contact our firm. We are experienced, thoughtful and prepared to fight for you every step of the way.
Pedestrian Accidents in Children and the Elderly
While any type of pedestrian injury or death is tragic, it becomes even more so when the victim is a child. Children are more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident than the elderly, however elderly pedestrian accidents are more likely to be fatal. Children become victims of pedestrian accidents because they move quickly and are much shorter, making it difficult for drivers to see them. Often smaller children will pull away from their parent’s hand and dart into the street without warning, resulting in a tragic accident.
Questions of fault are different in these types of situations because children’ actions are often the result of kids simply being kids. There are instances in the state of California where a child would not be considered at fault for the accident, even if the child caused the accident. Adults are responsible for exercising even more caution when driving when children are present. In fact, California law dictates that a child under five years of age cannot be held liable for an accident, regardless of their actions.
In sharp contrast to children, older adults are more likely to be a victim of a pedestrian/auto accident due to their slower movements. On a busy city street, an elderly person who walks slowly may be unable to get across the street before the light changes, and impatient drivers may not be paying attention as they should. Overall, as we age, our hearing, vision, reflexes and flexibility diminish. An elderly person may not see or hear an oncoming car, especially if it is coming from the side.
Overall, the elderly are less flexible and agile, therefore less able to quickly get out of the way when they spot a vehicle headed toward them. Because a significant amount of pedestrian accidents involving the elderly involve non-intersection locations, this indicates that older pedestrians may also be hit in parking lots as they make their way to their vehicle, or in their own urban neighborhoods as they try to cross a street.
Impatient or flat-out reckless drivers are the cause of many serious pedestrian accidents among the elderly. Often, these drivers are so focused on getting where they are going that they fail to be alert and properly yield to pedestrians. They may run red lights or disregard other traffic signs, never even seeing the elderly person trying to cross until they collide, and may also be driving much too fast for the road. Cell phones, GPS devices and radios or CD players are a huge distraction for drivers and can be the cause of many pedestrian accidents. If such risky driver behavior is found to be present in elderly pedestrian injuries, the driver may be held criminally accountable and could be the subject of a lawsuit for damages. Drivers must be conscientious when operating their automobiles, and must be hyper-alert in city situations where the elderly, children, and all pedestrians are crossing busy streets.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right-of-Way?
Generally, pedestrians are considered to have the right-of-way, although this is not absolute. There are certainly times when pedestrians ignore not only traffic signals, but their own safety as well, crossing the road in a manner that makes avoiding hitting them next-to-impossible. This type of behavior on the part of pedestrians is definitely the exception rather than the rule. Drivers are expected to approach pedestrian crossings with extra caution and to adhere to specific safety measures, most especially when the pedestrian is clearly visible and is within ten feet of where the vehicle will be turning. Drivers should always slow down—stopping if appropriate—yielding the right of way to pedestrians, and taking special care to be extra alert in areas where pedestrians are common. As an additional caution, a vehicle is not permitted to pass another vehicle which has stopped to allow pedestrians to cross.
Proving Negligence on the Part of the Automobile Driver
In order to establish negligence on the part of the driver who struck a pedestrian, it must be shown that not only did the driver owe a legal duty to the pedestrian under the specific circumstances, but that the driver breached that duty through negligent or reckless conduct or action—or through a failure to act. The injured pedestrian must also show the actions of the auto driver caused the pedestrian accident and that the pedestrian suffered injury or harm as a result. The facts will be closely analyzed in each accident involving a pedestrian, and it may turn out that more than one person was legally responsible for the accident and resulting injuries. This could be true in a case where a sidewalk, roadway or parking lot where the accident occurred was not properly maintained or marked or if the pedestrian was also at least partially fault.
A Driver’s Duty of Care
Those who operate automobiles are charged with exercising reasonable care under specific circumstances. Some of the factors which commonly contribute to driver negligence include inattention, failure to observe posted speed limits or yield the right-of-way at marked crosswalks, reckless disregard for traffic signs or signals, disregard for weather or unusual traffic conditions, or driving while impaired. In particular, drivers owe a particular duty of care to small children—those between the ages of 5 and 10 are the most likely to be hit by a car as they are smaller, less visible and often exhibit unpredictable behaviors. The mere presence of children is a warning to drivers to exhibit particular care and hyper-vigilance. If a driver is in the vicinity of a school or in a residential area where children are known to play, extra care must be taken to avoid hitting a child.
How a Greenberg & Greenberg Attorney Can Help Following a Pedestrian Accident
If you have been the victim of a pedestrian-car accident, it is likely that you are struggling to pay your medical bills. You may even be unable to return to work, rendering you unable to provide for yourself and your family. It is imperative that you retain a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney from Greenberg & Greenberg who can protect your rights and help you get the treatment you need following your accident. After suffering injuries, dealing with insurance company adjustors, trying to pay medical bills and talking to law enforcement can all seem overwhelming. This is why it is so important to seek an attorney that will be a strong advocate for your pedestrian accident claim. At Greenberg & Greenberg we will provide you with the most aggressive, trial- experienced lawyers in the state.