San Francisco Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The results after a pedestrian accident can be devastating. Those who are struck by a car may experience long-term injuries and disabilities that result in costly medical bills. If a negligent motorist hit you while you were walking, you should contact our local personal injury attorneys for help in pursuing compensation. Our San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyers can guide you through the claims process while you focus on recovery.
Unintentional Torts in Pedestrian Accident Cases
A majority of cases that involve pedestrian accidents result from unintentional reckless or careless behavior. When a negligent motorist accidentally strikes a pedestrian, the driver could be held liable for damages under a civil claim.
To successfully bring a claim for negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant violated a duty of care and that this breach caused his/her injuries. In pedestrian accident cases based on negligence per se, a San Francisco attorney would not need to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care because it is automatically established. These typically apply to situations in which a driver broke a traffic law and as a result hit a pedestrian.
Case of Intentional Harm to a Pedestrian
Though it is less common, a pedestrian accident may occur as a result of an intentional tort. In this situation, a driver may have purposefully hit an individual with his/her vehicle.
To bring a claim based on an intentional tort, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant intended to harm him/her. For example, if a driver intentionally struck an innocent pedestrian crossing the street, the driver could be held liable for assault and battery, both intentional torts.
Can I Sue for a Hit-and-Run?
Hit-and-runs are unfortunately quite common when dealing with pedestrian accidents. Whether it is due to sheer panic or total lack of responsibility, many motorists make the decision to flee the scene after striking innocent pedestrians. This is completely against the law, and those who are guilty of these crimes may face felony charges and years in prison. What does that mean for the victims?
Suing for a hit-and-run crash may seem like a daunting prospect for a number of reasons. First of all, it can be difficult to track down the negligent party. The criminal may have driven off before anyone could see their license plate number. Maybe the individual in question was driving a stolen car, and they ditched the vehicle before fleeing into the night on foot. Tracking down the person responsible is important in a “tort state” like California. In order to file a personal injury lawsuit and receive compensation, you must hold a negligent party accountable. If you cannot locate the person responsible for your injuries, it becomes difficult to proceed.
With that said, those guilty of hit-and-runs rarely escape. They may flee the scene or perhaps even evade the police for a few days, but eventually most criminals are brought to justice. Surveillance footage and top-notch investigative work means that most hit-and-run offenders are tracked down eventually. But even then, compensation can be hard to come by because many of these people flee due to their lack of insurance. Fortunately, you can often turn instead to your own auto insurance provider to receive some level of compensation.
California is considered a “tort state.” This means that in order to file a personal injury lawsuit and receive compensation, you must hold someone else accountable for your accident. This is notably different compared to a “no-fault” state, which allows you to file a lawsuit without ever holding anyone accountable.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Pedestrian Accident
Unfortunately, many pedestrian accidents are fatal. When a person is impacted by a rapidly-moving vehicle, serious injuries are common, and these injuries can end people’s lives. This is especially true if victims go underneath vehicles or are struck by larger commercial trucks. While losing a loved one in this manner is never easy, family members can file wrongful death claims against negligent parties on behalf of deceased victims.
This is known as a “wrongful death” claim. In many ways, it is very similar to a normal personal injury claim. The only real difference is the fact that the family receives the settlement instead of the actual victim. In addition, wrongful death claims provide families with slightly different damages. For example, a family might receive compensation for funeral expenses and the wages that a loved one would have earned had they continued with their life. This type of compensation can be vital for single parents who are left alone to raise surviving children on a limited income.
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
There are a number of injuries that may occur due to a pedestrian accident:
- Fractures: Victims often suffer broken bones due to the initial impact of a vehicle. These fractures might include broken legs, broken arms, broken hips, and so on.
- Head Injuries: The force of the impact can also throw victims backwards for several meters. Upon landing, victims may smack their heads on the pavement or other vehicles. This can lead to severe head injuries.
- Disfigurement: In some cases, victims can go through the windshield after being thrown over the hood of a car. While this is certainly better than going underneath the vehicle, glass fragments from the windshield can slice through the victim’s face, causing considerable disfigurement.
Non-Economic Damages in a Pedestrian Accident
Aside from the financial cost of medical expenses and missed wages, pedestrian accidents can also lead to significant non-economic damages. These damages represent the psychological effects of the accident, and they can include things like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal behavior. Victims can be so traumatized by the accident that they become terrified of crossing the street. This may affect their ability to lead a happy, normal life.
Fortunately, victims can receive considerable compensation for these non-economic damages. A qualified, experienced personal injury attorney can help prove that these issues are legitimate, and your settlement amount will be much more substantial as a result. It is best to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney if you are serious about receiving adequate compensation for non-economic damages.
Filing a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
If settlement negotiations fail, plaintiffs may file a personal injury case to seek economic, noneconomic, and property damages. A claimant must file their pedestrian accident lawsuit before the statute of limitation expires. California Civil Code §335.1 generally gives personal injury plaintiffs two years to file their lawsuit from the date of their accident. If a plaintiff fails to file their case within the statute of limitations, they may lose the right to sue, unless an exception applies. Our San Francisco lawyers with experience litigating pedestrian accident cases can work to ensure that an injured party meets all statutory deadlines.
Consult a San Francisco Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
If a reckless driver hit you with their motor vehicle, you have legal options at your disposal. A San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyer can help you hold this negligent motorist accountable. By retaining an attorney, you could avoid the frustration and confusion that comes with pursuing compensation alone.
Skilled legal counsel can explain your rights, build your case, and be your advocate throughout the claims process. To learn how the attorneys at Mary Alexander & Associates can help you, schedule an initial case consultation today.