Los Angeles-area pedestrian accident lawyers at Ellis Law know that crossing the street here is dangerous. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, drivers in Los Angeles kill pedestrians and bicyclists at a rate far higher than the rest of the country: one third of all those who die on the road in LA (almost three times the national average) are pedestrians.
Accounts of pedestrian injuries and deaths in LA are not hard to find: only recently (Feb. 4, 2014) a 19-year old boy was struck and killed by a driver who fled the scene of the accident after hitting several more parked cars.
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 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 Injury 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.
Some facts about pedestrian accidents:
- Crowded urban settings like LA account for almost three out of four pedestrian fatalities
- More than two out of three traffic fatalities occur in locations other than traffic intersections
- Most accidents occur during normal weather conditions
- Most pedestrian fatalities occur at night
- Children and older adults are at higher risk
- A pedestrian struck in traffic is more likely to be male
- Alcohol (consumed by either the driver or the pedestrian) often plays a significant role in crashes
Common pedestrian injuries
Pedestrian fatalities are unfortunately all too common; for victims who survive, some of the more serious injuries include:
- Broken bones (especially in the area of the thighs and pelvis, where first impact is likely to occur)
- Amputated limbs (especially if the broken bones are accompanied by severely damaged blood vessels and tissues)
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries of various kinds
Recovery may take months or years, and a victim may end up with permanent disabilities. In addition to physical injury, psychological trauma can inhibit the ability to function and enjoy life for the victim of an accident.
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 (“No one walks in LA!”). However, Los Angeles has recently seen a resurgence in pedestrian traffic due to economic initiatives and an increase in public transportation. Somewhat ironically, the desired increase in tourists and other consumers in the downtown area has led to an increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
Three areas of liability in pedestrian accidents
Who is liable if a pedestrian is injured or killed? There are three areas of liability where pedestrian accidents are concerned:
- The pedestrian. Pedestrians have responsibilities to follow the laws and behave in a responsible manner. They should use crosswalks and walk lights, avoid walking in areas (such as along highways) where pedestrian traffic is forbidden, and follow any other laws related to pedestrian traffic. 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, moreover, intoxicated, it is unlikely that the driver will face consequences in a criminal or civil court.
- The driver. But what if a driver speeds or blatantly ignores the rule of the roles, or drives while intoxicated or distracted? Even if the pedestrian too is at fault (by, for instance, “jaywalking”), the driver may still be liable. Such drivers can be prosecuted for various kinds of negligence or, in the unfortunate case of a fatality, wrongful death. 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.
- The environment. It is possible that other factors which are the fault of neither the pedestrian nor the driver have contributed to an accident. Weather conditions may make visibility difficult, making it less likely that a driver can see a pedestrian to stop in time. While some conditions are no one’s fault, in other cases, defective equipment, roads, or other environmental hazards that contributed to an accident may be the fault of the city or of the owner of a property. These parties, too, may be liable.
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 case.
Compensation for your injury or loss
If you have been injured as a pedestrian or lost a loved one in California, compensation may be available to you through a personal injury lawsuit. Such cases can help you recover funds for medical expenses, lost income or earning potential, pain and suffering, and wrongful death.
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 and car accident 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 1-800-INJURED. We never charge you a fee unless we win your case.
- LA Times, L.A. drivers have high rate of fatal pedestrian, cyclist crashes, http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/02/business/la-fi-mo-auto-traffic-deaths-20121001
- NY Times, In a Car Crash Culture, It’s Police vs. Pedestrians, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/us/in-a-car-culture-clash-its-los-angeles-police-vs-pedestrians.html
- Medical Daily, Distracted Drivers Cause Pedestrian Deaths to Rise 50% from Texting, Talking on the Phone, or Eating Behind the Wheel, http://www.medicaldaily.com/distracted-drivers-cause-pedestrian-deaths-rise-50-texting-talking-phone-or-eating-wheel-264077
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pedestrian Safety: Fact Sheet, http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pedestrian_safety/factsheet.html
- Sun Sentinel, Drunken pedestrians: Walking under the influence is a top cause of accidents, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-11-25/news/fl-drunk-pedestrians-20111125_1_pedestrian-crashes-military-trail-mark-horowitz
- Orlando Sentinel, Pedestrian danger: what it means when you get hit by a car, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-09-18/news/os-beth-kassab-pedestrian-danger-what-it-means-when-you-get-hit-by-a-car-20120918_1_pedestrian-danger-head-injuries-accidents
- LAPD Blog, http://www.lapdblog.org/