Santa Clara Pedestrian Accident Attorney Explains Your Legal Option
Pedestrian accidents account for 22 percent of all traffic accidents resulting in fatalities in California. This number is significantly greater than the national average of 13 to 14 percent. These types of accidents are often fatal, as pedestrians lack the protective shell of a car to help withstand the force of an oncoming vehicle. Often, the motorist and vehicle may incur very minor damage while the pedestrian suffers severe, disabling injuries. In most cases, negligent motorists cause these accidents by failing to check for walkers and joggers. If you sustain injuries or lose a loved one in a pedestrian accident, then you may be able to file an insurance claim with the at-fault motorist’s provider to recover compensation for your losses.
California has specific state laws that apply to pedestrians and, in many cases, protect them in the event of an accident. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help you understand these laws and can represent your interests in a claim. At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, our lawyers have more than 20 years of experience representing motor vehicle accident victims. While you and your family recover, we can investigate your accident, consult with experts and fight for full compensation for your injuries and other damages.
What California Laws Apply to Pedestrian Accident Claims?
California has comprehensive right of way laws that apply to pedestrians and vehicles, especially when pedestrian vs vehicle accidents occur. In general, these laws define who has the right of way in specific areas and situations, including:
- Marked crosswalks. In marked crosswalks, pedestrians always have the right of way. This means that drivers must slow down or stop to yield the road to pedestrians in crosswalks. Therefore, in crosswalk accidents, the law automatically presumes that the driver is at-fault.
- Unmarked crosswalks. An unmarked crosswalk exists anywhere that two streets cross. Just as with marked crosswalks, pedestrians always have the right of way at unmarked crosswalks. If a pedestrian accident occurs at an intersection, then the motorist is almost always at-fault.
- Other areas of the road. Generally, pedestrians must yield the right of way to motorists when crossing the road where no crosswalk exists. This is especially true if a pedestrian tunnel or overcrossing exists. However, according to state law, drivers must stay alert and take steps to avoid hazards and people in the road. This is the rule even when pedestrians cross in undesignated areas.
In most cases, an injured pedestrian can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver to recover compensation. Even if your accident did not occur in a crosswalk, you still may have a successful lawsuit. This is especially true if you were alert and paying attention when you crossed.
What Can I Do If the At-Fault Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
In most cases, you can recover compensation for pedestrian injuries through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, if the driver who caused your accident has no insurance, then you may have other options. First, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver to recover compensation directly. Still, if the driver has few assets or money, then you may be unable to collect any money, even if you receive a successful verdict or settlement.
In the event that a personal injury lawsuit is not an option after a pedestrian accident caused by an uninsured driver, then you may be able to recover through your own auto insurance policy. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage should apply to any accident caused by a driver that has no insurance; this is true even if you were not in a vehicle yourself. California law requires insurers to provide UM/UIM coverage with all auto policies, unless you decline this coverage in writing.
After an injury or wrongful death, an experienced pedestrian accident attorney can investigate the at-fault driver’s insurance. If none exists or it is insufficient to cover your full damages, then a lawyer can explain your other options.
Hurt While Walking or Jogging? Call a CA Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
A pedestrian accident can cause extensive, catastrophic injuries which may cost victims millions of dollars over a lifetime. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia can explore your legal options and represent your best interests in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
If you were involved in an accident as a pedestrian and suffered serious injury in California, then it is pertinent that you contact a pedestrian accident attorney immediately. Call (408) 752-5834 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.