PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF INJURED PEDESTRIANS
Pedestrians literally take their lives in their hands every time they cross the streets. We depend on the integrity of drivers to be vigilant and to follow the law. California law is very clear about pedestrians’ right of way. Unfortunately, drivers can be shockingly uneducated about or flagrantly disobey the laws that govern right of way at crosswalks, stoplights or stop signs.
Bottom line: Drivers should be held accountable when carelessness leads to the injury of someone on foot. A pedestrian, especially a child, is no match for the sheer force, weight and size of a moving vehicle. Injuries are usually severe, with the head, arms and legs especially vulnerable to trauma. We know from the headlines that frequently they are catastrophic or cause the death of a victim.
When Pedestrians Become Targets
People on the street commonly become targets when a driver:
- Texts, eats, sleeps or otherwise becomes distracted while driving
- Fails to yield because he or she does not know the California Vehicle Code
- Loses control of the car due to excessive speeding and improper lane changing
- Disobeys traffic signals because of lack of due care
- Fails to use headlights when conditions require that they be used
The statute of limitations makes a special exception for children who have been injured.
What To Do As An Injured Pedestrian
You cannot rely on the good citizenship of drivers and their insurance companies to do the right thing. It is imperative that you take action to advocate for and to protect yourself.
If you’ve been injured by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian, do the following:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Document the accident scene, the vehicles and the injuries if possible. I cannot underestimate the value of documentation to supporting your case for compensation. A picture is worth a thousand words. Your cellphone is invaluable. Take pictures, use video, make calls on the scene.
- Get the names and contact information of witnesses.
- Don’t speak with representatives of the liable party’s contingent.
- Call an attorney.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, including falling injuries caused by obstacles on the streets, don’t jeopardize your legal rights or postpone your medical treatment and contact an attorney immediately. I know how to conduct thorough investigations to bring hard facts to insurers — and into court if necessary.