Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers at Ellis Law know that crossing our streets can be dangerous. Every year, more than 100 pedestrians are struck and killed by vehicles in Los Angeles. In other words, a walker is killed by a car every three days in our city. In 2019, 139 pedestrians were killed after being struck by motor vehicles – a 55% increase over five years. Pedestrians were involved in more than half of the nearly 250 traffic deaths in Los Angeles in 2019. Additionally, over 2,300 pedestrians are treated by LA County trauma centers after being hit by vehicles each year.
Get a free consultation with pedestrian accident lawyers in Los Angeles.
If you have been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, or have lost a loved one in this way, a veteran LA car accident lawyer at Ellis Law is ready to discuss your case and provide a free and comprehensive evaluation of your legal rights. Our legal fee comes out of a successful settlement or verdict.
Our personal injury attorneys have fought for the rights of California residents for more than 20 years, and we will do everything in our power to make sure you secure the maximum compensation you are entitled to for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. At Ellis Law, we believe that while pedestrians are often the most vulnerable people on the streets of LA, they shouldn’t have to feel that way in the courtroom.
Are your pedestrian injuries bad enough for a lawsuit?
You may not have much of a personal injury case if you end up with a couple of bruises and scrapes that heal within one or two weeks. However, you may have grounds for a lawsuit if your injuries are serious, such as:
- Broken bones – which are especially common where the thigh and pelvis meet.
- Amputated limbs – which may occur when broken bones damage blood vessels and tissues.
- Facial injuries – deep lacerations can be permanently disfiguring and scarring.
- Head injuries – including traumatic brain injury, concussion, and brain swelling.
- Upper extremities – nearly a third of pedestrians experience hurts to the arms, wrists, or hands.
- Lower extremities – half of the victims experience damage to their leg, foot, and ankle bones and tissues.
- Internal injuries – such as crushed ribs and punctured organs.
Recovery may take months or years, and a victim may end up with permanent disabilities. In addition to physical injury, psychological trauma such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression can inhibit the ability to function and enjoy life for the victim of an accident. The more permanent your injuries are, the more likely you are to gain significant compensation.
How do pedestrian injuries occur?
Every pedestrian accident case has its own unique factors, but there are certain commonalities observed.
- Crowded urban settings – Bustling cities like LA account for three out of four pedestrian fatalities.
- Non-intersections – Over two out of three traffic fatalities occur outside of traffic intersections.
- Speed – Half of the pedestrian accidents occur at speeds greater than 20 miles per hour.
- Nice weather – Most accidents occur during normal weather conditions.
- Nighttime – Most pedestrian fatalities occur at night.
- High-risk groups – 20% of pedestrian accident victims are children and 14% are over age 65.
- Male victims – 60% of pedestrians struck in traffic are male.
- Alcohol – When consumed by either driver or pedestrian, alcohol makes an accident more likely.
- Smartphone use – Distracted walking and driving lead to accidents and injuries.
Why are pedestrians so vulnerable in LA?
With its wide streets and “edgy” driving culture, Los Angeles has never had a reputation as a pedestrian-friendly city. One could argue our unofficial motto is: “NO ONE walks in LA!” However, Los Angeles has recently seen a resurgence in pedestrian traffic due to economic initiatives and increased investment in public transportation, despite the city’s “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate pedestrian deaths.
According to LAist, pedestrian accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate because:
- Safety improvements are slow – Officials notoriously wait until someone is killed before taking action.
- Resources are even slower – City Hall repeatedly denies funding for traffic safety initiatives.
- Drivers aren’t held accountable – 158 vehicular manslaughter charges were filed for 2,109 deaths.
- Car culture – Juries often shrug and say, “The driver simply didn’t see the pedestrian.”
- Flouting of the law – Fatal DUI pedestrian crashes were up 25% during the 2020 Pandemic.
What is vision zero?
Vision Zero is the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s commitment to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025. City officials are looking into ways to add critical safety features to city streets, redesign crosswalks, reduce vehicle speed, and listen to community advocates. Despite this vision and the improvements made, pedestrian injuries and deaths have gone up since Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the executive order in 2015.
Civil compensation for pedestrian accident victims and their families
Fortunately, victims and their families can pursue justice through the civil court system, which compensates for losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and disability. Spouses and dependent children can collect for funeral and burial costs, loss of household services and income, and loss of guidance and companionship.
Three areas of liability in pedestrian accidents
Who is liable if a pedestrian is injured or killed? Insurers or jurors may find the following parties liable:
- The pedestrian. Pedestrians have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and behave in a responsible manner. They should use crosswalks, sidewalks, and walk lights. They must avoid walking in areas where foot traffic is prohibited, such as along highways. A motorist is responsible for yielding the right of way to a pedestrian at all times. Yet, consider the case in which a driver has followed all the rules and behaved prudently, but could not avoid hitting a pedestrian who suddenly jumped in front of his or her car. If the pedestrian is intoxicated or behaving recklessly, it is unlikely that the driver will face consequences in a criminal or civil court.
- The driver. But what if a driver speeds, blatantly ignore the rules of the road, drives while intoxicated, or uses a phone behind the wheel? Even if the pedestrian is somewhat at fault — by, for instance, “jaywalking” — the driver may still be held partially liable. Drivers can be prosecuted for negligence or wrongful death in the case of a fatality. In more extreme cases of reckless driving, a driver may face criminal charges in addition to a civil suit. A driver who knocks a pedestrian down and then flees the scene will face hit-and-run charges.
- Other third parties. Factors like adverse weather may be no one’s fault, yet contributed to the cause of the accident. In other cases, the auto manufacturer or maintenance personnel may be held liable for a faulty vehicle that could not stop in time. Property owners or the city may be liable for failing to clear an obstruction, maintain the land, or design a safe roadway.
Determining liability may be a complicated matter in the case of pedestrian injuries or deaths, particularly when more than one party has a share of the responsibility. If you have been injured as a pedestrian in Los Angeles, we encourage you to talk to the personal injury lawyers at Ellis Law to explore the possibility of pursuing compensation. Even if you are partially at fault in the accident, you may still have a valid claim.
What can a pedestrian accident lawyer do for you?
Consider all that an LA pedestrian accident attorney enables you to do:
Tap a wellspring of knowledge and emotional support. While possible, it is not recommended that you represent yourself “pro se” in a pedestrian accident case. As we mentioned earlier, the Los Angeles car culture bias means there will be an uphill battle for pedestrians to prove their innocence and substantiate alleged driver liability. Insurers will make it seem like their first settlement offer is their last, causing you to agree to their terms out of fear or desperation. Some defendants can be downright nasty to deal with, even if they knew they were at fault. At this time, it’s good to have a friend you can rely upon for support.
Understand what happened. The days and weeks following a collision with a motor vehicle can be disorienting as you try to make sense of what happened. Ellis Law’s legal team will investigate the factors leading up to the accident. We use crash reconstruction experts, surveillance footage, deposition interviews, eyewitness tips, and driver background checks as parts of our investigation.
Investigate a hit-and-run. All too often, the offending driver panics and flees the scene. It may seem impossible to find a hit-and-run driver, but legal teams have their ways. Whether it’s surveillance footage, auto body shop testimony, or a witness tip, we see that justice is served.
Gain resources. Should you need help obtaining local resources, our compassionate team can assist you in finding the best medical care for your particular injuries, mental health counseling, estate planning services, or a ride to your legal appointments. Perhaps you need financial assistance or a break from bill collectors’ calls as your case settles. We are here to assist in any way possible.
Protect your interests. We act as a liaison between you and the auto insurance company – who is, no doubt, looking for a fast and cheap settlement. They may look to discredit you or minimize the seriousness of your injuries to reduce their share of the financial burden. A personal injury attorney will ensure you do not inadvertently sign your legal rights away or accept a settlement offer that is far below what you deserve.
Organize your documents. A successful pedestrian accident claim involves a number of documents, which must all be collected, organized, and presented in a logical manner. This may include a police report, medical reports, bills, pay stubs, receipts, insurance letters, treatment calendars, pain journals, photographs, and more.
Build your case with expert representation. Sometimes a fair agreement cannot be reached and a trial must be prepared. Your attorney will likely consult outside experts to build a strong case on your behalf, including widely-respected medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, forensic economists, vocational training experts, and traffic safety advocates.
Understand your legal rights. In addition to pursuing your civil claim, you may also be able to press criminal charges. When necessary, we work with the District Attorney’s office to exchange information that can aid a vehicular manslaughter case. You will have little to no sway over what happens in criminal court, as it’ll be a matter of The State of California vs. The Defendant, with you as a witness to the crime against state law. However, the end result could be jail time or license revocation to punish a reckless motorist.
How much are pedestrian accidents worth?
Pedestrian accident settlements and jury awards in California can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. The amount you receive depends upon the cost of your medical bills and lost wages, the loss of function and enjoyment in life, the permanence of your injuries, the clarity of the liability argument, and how much blame is placed upon you for causing the accident.
How long do I have to sue for injuries after a car hit me while walking?
California’s personal injury statute-of-limitations filing deadline is within two years of the injury. The clock starts ticking on the day of your accident. The sooner you contact an experienced legal team, the better, as they’ll start investigating and collecting evidence at its freshest.
Seeking maximum compensation for your injuries and losses
Ellis Law understands that you will need many kinds of support as you recover from the injury or loss that you have suffered. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are committed to putting our expertise and resources to work for innocent victims who find their lives in sudden upheaval. For a free consultation, contact us at (310) 641-3335. We never charge you a fee unless we win your case.