San Jose Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Parents and caregivers teach children not to cross the street without looking both ways, and street safety is vitally important for all people who share the roads. Unfortunately, regardless of the care exercised by a pedestrian, they may still be at risk of becoming the victim of a motor vehicle accident when a driver acts negligently or recklessly.
Most people never imagine they will be hit by a car, but pedestrian accident statistics reveal them to be a persistent problem in California. The California Office of Traffic Safety reported 867 pedestrian fatalities in 2016. That same year, there were 360 pedestrians injured or killed just in San Jose.
Accidents involving a motor vehicle and pedestrian are often catastrophic. When a vehicle hits a pedestrian the results may include life-changing injuries, permanent disability, or even wrongful death of the victim. Pedestrians who survive their accident may endure significant physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as burdensome financial consequences.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian, or a loved one has been injured or killed because of the negligence or recklessness of a driver, speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to discuss possible personal injury or wrongful death claims. The attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose fearlessly represent Californians suffering from injuries and wrongful death caused by pedestrian accidents. Contact us at (408) 279-4222 or online today and schedule a free consultation to learn if we may be able to help you.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
The size and weight difference of even the smallest passenger vehicle and a pedestrian can result in horrific pedestrian injuries in the event of an accident. Many pedestrians are tragically killed by cars each year, while those who survive may suffer severe injuries, including but not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injury. The impact of a pedestrian’s head with a vehicle or the ground, or even the jolt of being thrown off of one’s feet by a car, can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI may cause a coma, and/or have lasting cognitive and physical consequences for a victim. Though some symptoms of a TBI become apparent immediately, others can take hours or days to develop.
- Spinal cord injury. A pedestrian’s vertebral column can suffer massive damage in a collision with a vehicle. Spinal cord injuries can disrupt the brain’s ability to communicate with the body, and may include partial or total paralysis that will change the victim’s life forever.
- Traumatic amputation and crush injury. Sometimes when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the victim becomes trapped or pinned underneath the car. In these cases, a victim’s limbs may be crushed or traumatically severed from their body, leaving a victim permanently disfigured and disabled.
- Severe lacerations and abrasions. Frequently a pedestrian involved in an accident will be thrown across the ground by the impact with a car, causing severe lacerations and abrasions that may require extensive stitches or skin grafts to repair. Such injuries may also include permanent damage to muscles and other soft tissues, and leave a victim with disfiguring scars.
- Orthopedic trauma and fracture. Pedestrian car accident victims often suffer broken bones and other orthopedic trauma caused by the violent, twisting forces of a collision. These injuries may require multiple surgeries to repair, lengthy courses of rehabilitation, and may leave victims permanently disabled.
While the injuries listed here are most common, pedestrians may suffer a myriad of additional injuries depending on the circumstances of their accident. Regardless of the injuries you or a loved one may have sustained as a pedestrian involved in a vehicle accident, the attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you recover damages.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Car Accidents
Pedestrian accidents often occur due to the negligence or recklessness of a driver. While the driver may not always be at fault, the most common accident scenarios include:
- Failing to give the pedestrian the right-of-way. These types of accidents most often happen when a pedestrian is in the middle of a crosswalk. Many drivers erroneously believe it is a pedestrian’s responsibility to yield, even though that is rarely the case. Under California law, it is the driver’s responsibility to yield to any persons in a crosswalk. Failure to do so may mean the driver is liable for the injuries of and damages to a pedestrian caused by the accident.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is increasingly common, and may be attributed to the proliferation of smartphones and other devices being used inappropriately by drivers. Unfortunately, distracted driving exponentially increases the risk for accidents. Drivers consistently overestimate their abilities to safely drive while distracted. In fact, the evidence shows drivers who text, use a device, or otherwise lose focus on the road and area surrounding their vehicle are most likely to have accidents that cause injuries to themselves and others.
- Drunk/drugged/fatigued driving. Any driver who takes the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or without proper rest, puts all other users of the road, including pedestrians, at heightened risk for accidents, injuries, and fatalities. It is no coincidence that many pedestrian accidents happen at night when the incidence of fatigued driving and driving under the influence is highest and visibility is lowest.
- Failing to use a turn signal. A driver who fails to communicate an intention to turn may cause a pedestrian to believe it is safe to cross the street at an intersection when it is not. Drivers should never assume pedestrians know what they are about to do. For this reason, pedestrians have the right-of-way.
- Speeding and reckless driving. Drivers who exceed the speed limit or recklessly overtake other cars, especially in urban areas, give themselves inadequate time to slow down for a pedestrian in a crosswalk or walking along the shoulder.
- Vehicle malfunction. Sometimes a driver does everything right and tragedy still occurs because of someone else’s negligence. One way this may happen is if the driver’s car malfunctions because of a defect in one of its components, such as a tire or brake system. When a defectively designed or manufactured car part causes a driver to lose control, the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of that product put everyone at risk for catastrophe, including vulnerable pedestrians.
- Poor road design or maintenance. All users of the road rely on local government and their contractors to design and maintain roads that are safe for everyone, including pedestrians. When road engineers put a crosswalk in an unexpected location, allow visual obstructions to intrude on a roadway, or fail to maintain adequate sidewalks and shoulders, pedestrian accidents can easily occur.
The inherent dangers on the roads, coupled with the high probability of devastating injuries and fatalities when a pedestrian accident occurs, means pedestrians should always exercise extreme caution whenever they cross or walk beside a road. Sticking to sidewalks and crossing only at designated crosswalks can significantly reduce a pedestrian’s risk of tragedy. If you must walk along a road without a shoulder, always walk on the left side or against traffic so that you will be facing the vehicles that pass closest to you, and always wear reflective clothing and a headlamp if you will be near or on a road between dusk and dawn.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, even if you believe your own actions may have contributed to or caused the accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. Under California law, accident victims often have the right to recover compensation even if their own actions played a role.
Damages You Might Recover After a Pedestrian Car Accident
Victims of pedestrian accidents often experience a daunting road to recovery. Your own injuries, or the injury or wrongful death of a loved one, may cause physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as severe financial distress.
Victims often want to know what kind of damages they may be able to recover when a pedestrian accident has impacted their lives. Some of the most common damages include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses: Costs for emergency transportation, hospitalization, radiology, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, assistive devices, and ongoing care may all be compensable.
- Loss of wages and lost earning capacity: Anyone who is a victim of a pedestrian accident may lose time at work because of their injuries, resulting in lost wages. In the worst cases, a victim may suffer long-term or permanent injuries that mean they no longer have the ability to work, or cannot work in the same capacity as they did prior to the accident. Those victims may be entitled to damages for lost earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: Recovery from a devastating injury, or the grief caused by wrongful death, may include enormous physical and emotional trauma. The value of a client’s pain and suffering is recoverable and an important component of any injury case.
- Loss of consortium: When a pedestrian accident leaves a victim unable to participate in their own life with the ability they previously enjoyed, the victim’s spouse or partner may seek damages to compensate them for the impact the accident made on their relationship.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: A pedestrian who has been injured in an accident may never fully recover their physical and mental capacities afterward, resulting in a permanent loss of life enjoyment. Injured clients can recover these kinds of damages.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are designed to both punish a responsible party for their negligence or recklessness and to deter others. Punitive damages may be sought in the most egregious of circumstances, when the evidence shows a defendant acted with malice, oppression, or fraud.
Costs and Results
After suffering a pedestrian accident, many people are concerned about the additional burden of the financial cost of legal representation. The law firm of Bohn & Fletcher understands this anxiety, and addresses it by offering a free consultation for potential clients. Additionally, all personal injury cases are accepted on a contingent fee basis. This means that attorney’s fees and costs of necessary litigation will be paid by any eventual settlement or judgment, rather than an up-front retainer paid for by a victim or their family.
Some clients want to know what their case is “worth.” The answer invariably depends on various factors, including a victim’s age, health, job, income, and lifestyle at the time of the accident, and the specific applicable facts of each unique case, including the circumstances of the accident and who may be liable for damages.
While past results are not a guarantee for future cases, Bohn & Fletcher is proud of our record of success. Our lawyers have helped victims recover tens of millions of dollars in damages. One of our most notable victories was an $8.1 million judgment on behalf of a pedestrian accident victim who suffered a traumatic brain injury. The lawyers of Bohn & Fletcher are committed to working tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for every case.
Your San Jose Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Under California law, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, with some exceptions and additional limitations. Do not wait to learn if you may be eligible for compensable damages. The sooner you consult an attorney about your pedestrian car accident, the greater your opportunity may be to pursue your claims and recover damages.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian, or a loved one has been injured or killed because of the negligence or recklessness of a driver, speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to discuss possible personal injury or wrongful death claims. Contact the pedestrian accident lawyers at Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose at (408) 279-4222 or online today and schedule a free consultation to learn if we may be able to help you.