Approximately 76,000 pedestrians are injured in traffic accidents each year, and nearly 5,000 of those cases result in fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, California is one of the most dangerous states in the nation for pedestrians.
Pedestrian Safety in California
According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), almost 20 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrian-related. This is 58 percent higher than the national average.
The CDPH explains that it’s on a mission to make the streets safer for all road users, and it’s “working diligently to reduce the number of individuals injured or killed in pedestrian collisions.” Some of its initiatives include a PedSafe program, public education campaigns, distribution of accident prevention materials and leading the Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
Even with all the efforts, pedestrian accidents are still on the rise – particularly hit-and-run accidents. Los Angeles is one of the major hot spots for hit-and-run pedestrian crashes. L. A. Weekly reports that a driver flees the scene of the accident in nearly half of all crashes in L.A. (The nation’s average is 11 percent.) More than 90 pedestrians are killed, and 1,004 pedestrians are injured in hit-and-runs in L.A. alone each year.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are lots of contributing factors of pedestrian accidents: busy urban areas, heavy, impatient traffic, and insufficient crosswalks are a few issues. But in many cases, it’s driver and pedestrian inattention that causes an accident. “Looking-but-failing-to-see” is a large problem, as is distraction from texting and driving.
Other common causes for pedestrian accidents include:
- Crossing the street without warning
- Drivers failing to stop at crosswalks
- Listening to music with earbuds
- Pedestrians attempting to cross the street mid-block
- Not following traffic signs and signals
What is distressing is that all the factors listed above are completely preventable. Thousands of lives would be spared each year if road users simply acted responsibly and adhered to the rules already in place.
When a pedestrian is injured or killed in an accident, they (or their families) might qualify to file a claim against the responsible party to seek restitution for damages. If you or your family member was recently injured in California, you are welcome to call one of our attorneys at Hiden Rott & Oertle, LLP for a free initial consultation.
Legal Options after an Accident
Before you file a claim and agree to a settlement from your insurance company, it’s highly advisable to discuss your case with a pedestrian accident attorney to go over your legal options. There are several important things you’ll need to know, including time limits (statutes of limitation), the elements necessary to prove your case and the fair value of your claim. This is equally true whether you are pursuing an injury claim or a wrongful death claim.
An attorney who works with pedestrian accident claims will best be able to assist you. He or she can review your case and determine how to approach your case and maximize your settlement.
If you’re in need of counsel in California, consider Hiden Rott & Oertle, LLP. We are dedicated to bringing justice to injured victims and their families. We have handled numerous pedestrian cases and are highly adept both at negotiating with the opposing parties, as well as preparing cases for trial, if need be.
We work on a contingency basis, which means you will not pay a dime unless and until we win a settlement for you. You are welcome to contact us at 619-296-5884 any time to schedule a consult.