Pedestrian Accidents Are on the Rise in California: Here’s What You Can Do if You’re Hurt in One

Statistics from the state’s Office of Traffic Safety show that pedestrian injuries – and deaths – are a serious problem that is getting worse. Almost 7,500 pedestrians died on California streets and highways in period 2009-2018, with nearly 900 of those happening in 2018 alone. That 2018 figure represented a 26% surge from just four years earlier. Pedestrian accidents occur for many reasons, and several of those involve negligent action or inaction by the driver(s) or others. If you’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation, so contact a knowledgeable San Mateo pedestrian accident attorney right away.

In addition to the 893 dead, pedestrian accidents also injured 14,000 more in California in 2018. Many pedestrian accidents happen due to errors made by drivers. One of the more common errors is the driver’s decision to drink and drive. Federal statistics show that, in pedestrian accidents nationwide, roughly 15% involved a driver who had a blood-alcohol content at or above .08.

That was suspected to be the case in Anaheim recently. A suspected drunk driver jumped the curb an hit a 35-weeks-pregnant woman as she walked along the sidewalk, according to the Los Angeles Times. The accident killed the woman at the scene and left her baby, whom medical caregivers delivered, in critical condition.

One noteworthy thing about pedestrian accidents involving drunk or drugged drivers is that you may be able to give yourself a simplified path to holding the driver liable. If the driver was cited or arrested for his/her impaired driving, then you may be able to use that citation or charge as the basis for asserting that the driver was negligent per se, which is a basis for liability that eliminates some of the proof requirements that exist in regular negligence cases.

Another noteworthy thing about these cases caused by drunk or drugged drivers is that your case may present an opportunity for you to recover punitive damages on top of your other damages. The California Supreme Court has ruled in the past that a driver may owe punitive damages, even though possessing “no intent to harm,” if the driver “performs an act so unreasonable and dangerous that he knows, or should know, it is highly probable that harm will result.” Drunk driving potentially fits into that category.

Sometimes it’s not just the driver, but the road design that is to blame

Another reason for pedestrian accidents can be road layout. According to Patch.com, a San Juan Capistrano man died while trying to cross the street in Mission Viejo after a SUV hit him. The pedestrian was crossing the street at the intersection, but there was no crosswalk there, according to the report.

When road design or layout creates a hazard and an unreasonable risk of harm, and that hazard is not corrected or otherwise addressed in a timely fashion, then you may be able to hold the governmental entity responsible for that area liable. That was an argument advanced recently by a family suing the City of San Mateo. The family of a 78-year-old pedestrian killed at a San Mateo intersection sued the city on the basis that an “unreasonably dangerous condition existed at the intersection,” according to the San Mateo Daily Journal.

These cases against governmental entities may be especially tricky to win, so they create an even greater need for highly skilled and experienced legal representation. However, whether you’re suing a city, suing a drunk driver for compensatory and punitive damages or simply suing an inattentive driver for compensatory damages, your case deserves knowledgeable legal counsel working for you. The diligent San Mateo pedestrian accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos are here to provide you the sort of skilled legal representation that gets results. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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