Representing Injured Pedestrians in Orange County, CA
Orange County is one of the busiest metropolitan areas of California, and unfortunately, this means that pedestrians often experience injuries due to the negligence of nearby drivers. Pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere pedestrians move about in proximity to motor vehicles. While many assume that pedestrian accidents are most likely in busy downtown areas, these incidents can occur in quieter backroads and residential areas.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident in Irvine or anywhere else in Orange County, it’s crucial to know your rights and the value an experienced Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer can offer to your situation. Motor vehicle drivers have a duty of care and legal responsibility to avoid striking pedestrians at all times. Even when pedestrians fail to abide by crosswalk indicators and cross roads illegally, drivers can still absorb liability if they hit pedestrians in these situations.
Chris and Frank are a team of seasoned Orange County pedestrian accident attorneys with years of experience assisting clients with their most challenging personal injury claims. Our firm has the resources and experience you need on your side if you intend to hold the driver responsible for your recent pedestrian accident accountable for your losses. There is no reason you should be left to manage the financial aftermath of a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, and we can help you secure the compensation you deserve under California state law.
Why Should I Hire an Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Drivers have a greater responsibility than pedestrians when it comes to preventing accidents, so if you recently suffered injuries as a pedestrian, it may seem obvious that the driver is responsible for your losses. However, no matter how clear liability may be for a pedestrian accident, the injured pedestrian faces a difficult path through the legal proceedings necessary for holding the at-fault driver accountable for their actions.
Even the most straightforward pedestrian accident claim requires the plaintiff to navigate complex civil court proceedings, meet stringent court filing deadlines, and perform extensive research to determine the full scope of their claimable damages. Attempting to handle these tasks while managing the aftermath of a pedestrian accident is an extremely challenging endeavor under the best possible circumstances. Hiring an experienced Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer allows you to leave your legal affairs in capable hands so you and your family can focus on recovery and your day-to-day needs following the accident.
Your legal team is not only more likely to succeed with a personal injury claim than you would be on your own, but they are also more likely to maximize your compensation to the fullest extent possible under California law. In addition, your attorney can find avenues of compensation that you may have overlooked on your own, preventing the possibility of you settling for less than you truly deserve.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen in Orange County?
Pedestrian accidents can occur for several possible reasons, including:
- Driver moving violations. When drivers speed, change lanes without signaling, make illegal turns, or fail to stop at stop signs and red lights, they can easily cause pedestrian accidents.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). Impaired drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving and experience diminished spatial awareness and reaction time. As a result, they are more likely to fail to notice a pedestrian in time to avoid colliding with them. A DUI driver will face civil liability for the victim’s damages and severe criminal penalties for violating California DUI law.
- Jaywalking. Unfortunately, some pedestrians put themselves in dangerous situations and suffer injuries when vehicles hit them. Jaywalking is crossing a street outside of a designated crosswalk or before the crossing signal indicates that it is safe to cross.
- Poor visibility. Jogging or walking along the road at night is dangerous for pedestrians. Drivers should use extra caution when driving in poor visibility conditions, but pedestrians must also take reasonable steps to make themselves more visible to passing motorists.
- Distracted driving. The leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the US is distracted driving, which applies to any situation where a driver is operating their vehicle without paying full attention to their surroundings. For example, a distracted driver may not notice a pedestrian on the road in time to avoid a collision.
Whenever a driver hits a pedestrian, the driver is almost always at fault. However, if the pedestrian contributed to causing the accident in any way, their behavior is likely to influence the resulting legal proceedings following the incident.
Understanding California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Statute
California upholds a pure comparative negligence statute that applies to all personal injury claims. This law states that a plaintiff may still recover damages even if they are partially responsible for causing those damages. While most states enforce modified comparative negligence laws that bar plaintiffs from recovering damages if their fault exceeds 50%, California does not enforce a fault percentage threshold. This means that technically, a plaintiff could be 99% at fault for causing their damages and still recover 1% of their claimed losses.
When a judge must determine comparative negligence, they will evaluate how the plaintiff may have contributed to causing the incident in question and assign the plaintiff an appropriate fault percentage. Next, the plaintiff loses a percentage of their case award equal to their fault percentage. For example, if a judge determines a plaintiff is 25% at fault due to jaywalking in a $100,000 pedestrian accident claim, the plaintiff loses 25% of the case award and receives $75,000 instead.
Damages and Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Personal Injury Claims
Whenever a motor vehicle driver hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is likely to experience a wide range of injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries, some of which may heal entirely with time, while others cause permanent medical complications for the victim. Some brain injuries cause permanent disability, interrupt memory and sensory functions, and even interfere with language processing.
- Spinal injuries can result in diminished sensation, loss of mobility, or even complete paralysis. The exact location of the spinal injury typically determines the breadth and severity of the effects.
- Internal organ damage. Crash impact forces can easily damage many internal organs and prevent them from functioning correctly. Internal bleeding and organ injury can be life-threatening without immediate medical treatment.
- Severe lacerations and cuts. Pedestrians struck by vehicles can suffer severe cuts and experience traumatic bleeding.
- Facial injuries. A pedestrian accident can easily damage the victim’s face, potentially resulting in permanent disfigurement and dental injury that requires extensive corrective procedures.
- Broken bones. Bone fractures are extremely painful, and some can easily cause nerve damage and additional medical complications for the victim. For example, a severely broken bone may require a steel pin or plate placement that causes chronic pain.
When you or a loved one has sustained multiple severe injuries from a pedestrian accident, it’s natural to wonder how much a pedestrian accident claim could be worth, especially in the face of mounting medical bills and financial strain from lost income. Your Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer can help you determine the full range of damages you can include in your lawsuit, which typically includes economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are measurable financial losses caused by a defendant’s negligence. Commonly cited examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses. California state law allows a plaintiff to claim compensation for all medical expenses resulting from a personal injury. This can include hospital bills and other immediate medical costs, the costs of required ongoing treatments, and projected long-term medical costs.
- Lost income, both immediate and future. A pedestrian accident is likely to leave the victim unable to work for a long time while they recover. Therefore, the plaintiff can claim lost income for the time they were unable to work in recovery. Additionally, if the plaintiff developed a permanent disability that prevents them from working in the future due to the pedestrian accident, they may also claim their lost future earning capacity in their civil action.
- Property damage. When a personal injury also involves damage to the plaintiff’s personal property, they have the right to include repair and replacement costs in their lawsuit.
When you calculate your total amount of economic damages with the help of an experienced Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer, the total could be much more than you originally anticipated. In addition to these economic damages, California law allows a plaintiff to claim compensation for non-economic damages, namely pain and suffering.
If you are unsure how to calculate a reasonable amount of pain and suffering damages to include in your lawsuit, your attorney can help. Attorneys can typically use one of several possible methods to calculate their clients’ acceptable pain and suffering compensation. For example, if your injuries are expected to heal completely with time, rest, and consistent treatment, your attorney may seek “per diem” pain and suffering compensation that provides a set amount of financial compensation for each day until you reach maximum medical improvement. On the other hand, if your injuries are more severe and likely to lead to permanent disability, your attorney is more likely to seek a large lump sum by multiplying your claimed medical expenses by a factor of two to five or even more, depending on the severity of the medical complications you face.
Proving Fault for a Pedestrian Accident in Orange County, CA
The crux of a pedestrian accident claim is “negligence,” a legal term used to describe a failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. For example, suppose a driver causes a pedestrian accident, and the injured pedestrian intends to hold the driver responsible for their losses. In that case, the injured pedestrian must prove that the driver was negligent in some way that directly caused the accident.
Your Orange County pedestrian accident attorney will help you gather the evidence you need to confirm the defendant or defendants responsible for your injuries and prove they acted without reasonable care in the situation. In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must also provide clear and complete evidence proving the full extent of their damages and prove those damages directly resulted from the defendant’s negligence.
Evidence that could potentially come into play in a pedestrian accident claim and help the plaintiff establish negligence includes eyewitness testimony from individuals who saw the accident occur, vehicle computer data, the driver’s cell phone records, and traffic camera footage. Your attorney will also help you establish causation, meaning there is a clear link between the defendant’s negligence and the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
Pedestrian Accidents and Wrongful Death
Unfortunately, pedestrians have virtually no physical protection when struck by vehicles and often suffer life-threatening injuries. Many pedestrians die from these incidents, leaving their surviving loved ones to wonder what they can do to hold the driver accountable for the untimely death. California law allows surviving family members in this situation to pursue wrongful death actions. These civil claims are very similar to personal injury claims with several significant differences. If you need to pursue a wrongful death action in Orange County following a pedestrian accident involving a loved one, Chris and Frank are ready to assist you.
What Your Orange County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
Chris and Frank have years of experience with pedestrian accident claims and a wide range of other personal injury claims. We have successfully helped many Orange County, CA, clients navigate the most complex civil claims and assisted in securing substantial recoveries for their damages. If you need legal counsel following a pedestrian accident claim, our firm can provide the comprehensive and compassionate representation you need to approach the situation with confidence and understanding.
Our team will thoroughly investigate the details of your claim, help you calculate your claimable damages, and help you prepare for every phase of your legal proceedings. Whether you can reach an acceptable settlement with the defendant in private negotiations or you must litigate your case in Orange County civil court, we will be there to assist you. If you are ready to discuss your options for legal recourse after a pedestrian accident, Chris and Frank can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation about your Orange County pedestrian accident claim.
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