Representing Victims of Pedestrian Accidents in Redondo Beach
When any car accident occurs, those involved face a significant risk of severe injuries and even death. In a pedestrian accident, the chance of severe injury or fatality is much higher. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are more common than many drivers realize, and all drivers must understand how pedestrian accidents occur and how to avoid them. In virtually every case in which a car strikes a pedestrian, the driver of the car is at fault, even when the pedestrian did something to contribute to the incident.
If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident in Redondo Beach, you need a legal advocate who can help you secure compensation for your losses. Pedestrian accidents can leave victims permanently disabled, unable to work, and in severe pain for weeks, months, or even years. The right Redondo Beach pedestrian accident attorney is a tremendous asset when you have experienced this type of accident, and McLachlan Law, APC is here to help.
Do I Really Need an Attorney?
Even if you believe fault is readily apparent in your recent pedestrian accident, you must still acknowledge the value that legal representation can bring to your case. Too many accident victims believe they can save money by handling their claims on their own without legal representation. The reality is that if you choose this route, you are likely to lose much more than you would have saved on legal fees.
Not only could you make procedural errors that jeopardize your claim in the earliest stages, but you may also overlook available channels of compensation and settle your claim for much less than an attorney could have secured on your behalf. If you want the best chance of a successful pedestrian accident claim and to maximize your recovery, you need legal representation on your side.
What to Expect From Your Redondo Beach Pedestrian Accident Attorney
When you hire a Redondo Beach pedestrian accident attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim, your attorney will likely begin your case by carefully reviewing the details of your accident. This typically involves analysis of the police report of the accident, reviewing your medical report from your doctor that outlines your injuries and prognosis for future medical complications, and securing available physical evidence like dashcam footage, traffic camera footage, and vehicle computer data.
Your attorney will then help you determine liability for your damages. If a driver struck you while you were walking, the driver is at fault and liable for the damages you include in your claim. An experienced accident lawyer will carefully assess every available avenue of compensation to ensure you receive the maximum recovery allowable under applicable laws.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
Pedestrian accidents happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Poor visibility. Drivers must use extra caution when driving at night, especially in areas with lots of pedestrian traffic.
- Jaywalking. Pedestrians should always use crosswalks and wait for the appropriate traffic signals before crossing any road. When a pedestrian jaywalks, they put themselves at significant risk of injury.
- Distracted driving. All drivers have a legal responsibility to pay close attention to their surroundings while operating their vehicles. Even a momentary distraction has the potential to cause a devastating pedestrian accident.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). Operating a vehicle after taking drugs or drinking alcohol is illegal and extremely dangerous. An impaired driver may be unable to react in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian, or they may commit moving violations due to diminished judgment and cause a pedestrian accident.
- Speeding. When a driver exceeds the posted speed limit, they may be unable to slow down or stop in time to avoid striking a pedestrian.
These are just a few examples of how pedestrian accidents happen. If you experienced any situation like any of these examples, you likely have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the driver who hit you.
Potential Injuries from a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accidents are especially devastating because a pedestrian has no physical protection from the impact force of the vehicle striking them. Some of the most commonly cited injuries in pedestrian accident claims include:
- Bone fractures. Some broken bones will heal within a few months, while others may require multiple surgeries and result in permanently impaired range of motion.
- Spinal injuries. The human spine is one of the most critical components of the human body, and any injury to the spine has a high chance of resulting in permanent disability, including full or partial paralysis.
- Brain injuries. Pedestrians may sustain not only traumatic brain injuries from the initial impact of a car hitting them but also the secondary impact of hitting the ground or another surface. Some brain injuries heal completely, while others cause permanent damage, and it can take quite a long time before the victim can fully ascertain the entire scope of the effects of a brain injury.
- Internal organ injuries. Blunt force trauma can cause severe injuries to the internal organs, and some of these injuries have the potential to cause long-term or permanent medical problems for the victim.
- Soft tissue injuries. Crash impact forces can cause tremendous damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the victim’s body, some of which may require surgical treatment.
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations. A pedestrian accident can easily cause multiple minor injuries that, while they may heal completely with time, are often extremely painful.
It is not uncommon for the victims of pedestrian accidents to sustain multiple injuries, some of which may be life-threatening. It is also likely for the victim to suffer injuries that cause permanent damage or disabilities. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury that has completely altered your life and your ability to live independently, it is crucial to secure legal counsel from an experienced Redondo Beach pedestrian accident attorney who can ensure the maximum possible recovery for your claim.
Damages and Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident Claim
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, your Redondo Beach pedestrian accident attorney can help you assess the full range of your claimable damages to help you maximize your recovery. The personal injury statutes of California allow plaintiffs in pedestrian accident lawsuits to claim several types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses. As a personal injury plaintiff, you have the right to claim compensation for any and all medical expenses resulting from a driver’s negligence. This includes immediate medical expenses such as the cost of hospital treatment and emergency room care, as well as long-term medical expenses for required rehabilitation and ongoing treatments.
- Lost income. Your injuries may prevent you from working for the foreseeable future. Whenever a driver’s negligence interferes with your ability to work, you can not only claim wages lost during recovery but also lost future earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to your job.
- Property damage. If your pedestrian accident resulted in any damage to your personal property, you have the right to claim repair or replacement costs in your lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering. California law allows a personal injury plaintiff to recover compensation for the physical pain and psychological trauma they experienced from a defendant’s actions. The amount received typically hinges on the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and the expected length of their recovery time. When a plaintiff develops a permanent disability or experiences severe long-term pain from a pedestrian accident, they can generally expect substantial pain and suffering compensation.
In some cases, a California judge may also award punitive damages. A plaintiff may not directly claim punitive damages. Instead, judges award these damages at their discretion to punish the defendant’s bad behavior. Punitive damages are similar to restitution in criminal cases. The amount the defendant is required to pay depends on their financial status and the severity of their behavior.
What Happens If a Pedestrian Accident Is Fatal?
When a car strikes a pedestrian, there is a high chance the incident could be fatal for the victim, especially if the accident occurred at a high speed. In the event a pedestrian dies due to the negligence of a driver, their surviving loved ones would have the right to pursue a wrongful death action in lieu of the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they had survived the accident. McLachlan Law, APC can provide the comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel your family needs if you must pursue a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in a pedestrian accident.
Proving Liability in Your Pedestrian Accident Case
Now that you understand the types of damages you could potentially recover from your pedestrian accident claim, it will be essential to work closely with your Redondo Beach pedestrian accident attorney to identify the party responsible for causing your damages. Proving negligence in any personal injury claim requires establishing the defendant’s duty of care, identifying the manner in which they breached this duty of care, and proving that the plaintiff’s claimed damages were the direct results of this breach of care.
It is vital for a pedestrian accident claim plaintiff to understand how California’s negligence law works. In some cases, a plaintiff may be partially liable for their damages, and this will be reflected in their total recovery amount.
Understanding Pure Comparative Negligence in California
California upholds a pure comparative negligence law. This means that a plaintiff can still recover compensation for damages if they are partially at fault for causing those damages. They will lose a percentage of their case award equal to the percentage of fault they hold for causing their damages. For example, if a pedestrian was injured by a driver while jaywalking, the pedestrian is partially responsible for the incident since they did not cross the street legally. If the claim is worth $200,000 and the judge determines that the plaintiff is 25% at fault for causing the incident, the plaintiff would lose 25% of their case award, or $50,000, resulting in a recovery of $150,000 instead.
California operates under a “pure” comparative negligence law with no threshold that would bar plaintiff recovery. Many states uphold modified comparative negligence statutes that prevent plaintiff recovery at 50% or greater fault. However, California state law allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they are 99% at fault. A plaintiff with a high fault percentage should bear in mind that they may be liable for counterclaims from the defendants named in their suits.
Expert Witnesses in Pedestrian Accident Claims
It’s common for pedestrian accident lawsuits to require input from various experts across multiple disciplines. These experts can provide the court with professional interpretations of material aspects of a case. For example, an accident reconstructionist may help the court understand how the accident occurred and why the defendant is liable for causing it. A medical expert can explain the plaintiff’s prognosis and establish credibility for the plaintiff’s claim of pain and suffering.
As your Redondo Beach pedestrian accident attorney, Mike McLachlan will ensure that you have access to the expert witness testimony you need to ensure the most complete recovery possible.
Our firm has years of experience handling pedestrian accident claims and have cultivated a broad range of professional contacts who can potentially assist in your pedestrian accident claim.
Find Your Attorney Today
Time is a critical factor in any personal injury claim. It’s important to be swift in taking legal action, but it is equally important that you do not rush the process before you know the full scope of your claimable damages. It may not be possible to accurately assess the full range of your damages for many months after your pedestrian accident, but California places a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. The sooner you speak with an experienced Redondo Beach pedestrian accident attorney, the better your chances will be of meeting the state’s statutory requirements for taking legal action and preserving the freshness of available evidence.
If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries due to a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, it is crucial to speak with an attorney about your legal options as soon as possible. McLachlan Law, APC has the experience, legal skill, and professional resources to guide you to the best possible result in your pedestrian accident claim. If you are ready to discuss your options for legal recourse with a capable and compassionate Redondo Beach pedestrian accident lawyer, contact McLachlan Law, APC today and schedule a consultation with our team.