Pedestrian accidents are some of the most dangerous forms of car accidents that can happen on our roads. The exposure of pedestrians to the force of vehicles in motion can cause significant harm and pain to those who survive it. Those are paired with significant costs that are the responsibility of the vehicle’s driver or whoever else is at fault for the accident. However, getting that compensation may require the help of a Rancho Cucamonga pedestrian accident lawyer.
At Belgum, Fry & Van Allen, we have substantial experience helping our clients get the compensation that they need. This could be accomplished through negotiation, or it could require going to trial. Whatever is necessary, we can take every option available to fight for our clients.
If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident in Rancho Cucamonga, there are a number of different ways that your lawyer can help with the situation. First, though, they need to understand who may be liable for the accident. While this is often the driver of the vehicle involved, there may be situations where a different driver, a government that is responsible for the roads, or even a parts manufacturer may be to blame.
Your lawyer must gather information, evidence, and possibly witness accounts that can help prove the liability of whatever party is at fault. Similarly, they need to collect evidence that defends against any claim that you’re at fault. These kinds of claims could be used to reduce the damages that you’re awarded.
Once they fully understand the situation, and if there is time before a statute of limitations on the claim, your lawyer could negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that’s likely involved. Having a lawyer negotiate on your behalf can be critical to the process, as it often leads to more serious negotiations from the other side. This is largely because, when they understand that they are negotiating with a lawyer, they realize that the threat of a claim going to court is very real, which they may wish to avoid.
A settlement isn’t going to be possible in every case. If that happens, then your lawyer can represent you in court. They can present evidence and argue for negligence on the part of the defendant. However, they may also need to do the opposite and argue against claims that your actions were negligent and contributed to your own injuries. Lastly, they also need to justify the compensation that you are seeking and demonstrate how much is needed to cover the costs directly related to the injuries.
Liability in a pedestrian accident claim will follow the same process as most personal injury claims, which these accidents are an example of. This means that your personal injury lawyer needs to demonstrate the three components of negligence on the part of the defendant, using the evidence that they have gathered.
The first thing that needs to be proven is the “duty of care.” This means showing that the defendant had a responsibility to you to ensure that their actions wouldn’t create an unnecessary risk for you. This usually means that they had a duty to take certain precautions. In incidents involving a motor vehicle like truck, motorcycle accidents this is reasonably well-understood as having a duty to drive safely, with appropriate caution and following the rules of the road.
Your lawyer must next prove that there was a “breach of duty.” This means showing that the defendant failed to meet the duty of care that was established earlier. This first means demonstrating exactly what actions were taken. If the driver of the vehicle was distracted, your lawyer must show that. The same is true if they were breaking any other traffic laws. Then your lawyer must argue why that is a breach. However, in an accident involving the violation of a traffic law or other unsafe driving, that will usually be recognizable as a breach.
Finally, the last element needed to establish liability is that the breach must have been the cause of whatever injuries you suffered. This usually means demonstrating that the breach is what caused the accident, followed by showing how your injuries were caused by the accident. Because people have attempted to fraudulently claim compensation for injuries that weren’t related to an accident, your lawyer needs to demonstrate exactly how the accident caused the injuries and the extent of those injuries.
In a successful pedestrian injury claim, you will likely be compensated through two forms of damages:
These damages cover the obvious financial costs that you have as a result of the accident. While property damage could be included, the bulk of these damages in a pedestrian accident involve medical bills and lost wages from having missed work.
Future versions of these costs, if there are severe injuries, are also covered. For example, if you expect to have future medical bills, those will be covered, along with lost earning capacity if you are unable to return to work at the same level.
These damages cover the more intangible costs of your injuries. Losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other psychological or emotional costs are addressed through these damages. Of course, the money isn’t going to purchase a solution to this issue, but it might make them more manageable.
The deadline to file a claim for a pedestrian accident is set by the statute of limitations on personal injury claims. In California, this is two years, so you must file the claim with the court before the second anniversary of the accident.
In most cases, the two years will apply, but it should be noted that some exceptions exist that could change the date. For instance, if you are going to attempt to hold the government liable, that could shorten the time to file. However, if the injuries were discovered later or if a minor was involved, that could extend the time to file. It’s important to talk with a lawyer to understand what deadlines apply to your situation.
The damages in a pedestrian accident claim must be shown to be directly linked back to the breach of duty. This means showing that these costs are a direct result of the injuries that you suffered. This is usually proven with doctor’s notes, medical bills, and other documentation. The damages typically awarded in a pedestrian accident claim come in two forms: economic damages and non-economic damages.
It is possible that comparative negligence could negatively impact the damage award that you receive in your case. This is because the process allows the defendant’s lawyers to argue that you were partially responsible for your injuries, for instance, if you weren’t walking at a crosswalk. They will argue the components of negligence regarding your actions.
If they are successfully able to do that, then you will be assigned a percentage that reflects your share of the fault. Your damages could then be reduced proportionately to that percentage. As an example, if you were found to be 40% at fault on a $200,000 award, this could mean that you would receive $120,000.
Whether a settlement is going to make sense in your situation involves a variety of factors unique to your case, along with the type of settlement offer that you are able to get. However, there are some general benefits of a settlement that are worth considering.
One big advantage of a settlement is the element of time. Choosing to settle your claim and avoid court could mean receiving the funds much sooner than otherwise. Most settlements are paid within 30 days of the settlement being finalized. A court case, though, could drag on for months or even years. If getting money sooner is important, a settlement may be the right option for you.
Getting hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian is a dangerous experience. In most cases, there are significant medical bills and time spent missing work, thus losing out on pay. The psychological impacts, like pain and suffering, are also substantial. If you’ve been in accident like this, you deserve to have those costs covered by whoever was at fault for the accident.
Getting the restitution that you need, though, can often be difficult. However, working with a Rancho Cucamonga pedestrian accident lawyer can significantly help victims of a pedestrian accident. At Belgum, Fry & Van Allen, we use our knowledge and experience to pursue what our clients deserve. If you are ready to set up a consultation regarding your pedestrian accident, contact us today.