Pedestrian accidents are all too common in California. This is an unfortunate truth since we tend to see heavy foot traffic and traffic congestion due to the high population and too many cars on the roads. Fortunately, pedestrians have rights that protect them just as drivers do when involved in an accident. However, though pedestrians have rights, recovering compensation can be challenging, depending on the situation.
If you or a loved one were injured as a pedestrian in a car accident in California, our San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyers can help. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to fighting hard for our clients and ensuring they are fully and fairly compensated for their injuries and other potential damages. Get in touch with us today for a free case evaluation.
Who is a Fault When a Pedestrian is Hit by a Car?
When understanding your rights as a pedestrian and how insurance will work, the first thing to consider is liability — or fault. Who was at fault for the accident can play a role in how your case will play out and who will be responsible for paying for your injuries and other damages.
Under California Law, drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care. So as long as the pedestrian followed right-of-way laws and was legally allowed to be walking where they were struck, then the driver who hit them can be held liable.
It is also possible for a local municipality to be responsible for pedestrian accidents. For example, if the accident occurred because of a malfunctioning cross signal or missing signage, it may be possible to file a claim against the local municipality responsible for maintaining the roadways.
Of course, it is also possible for the pedestrian to carry some of the blame for the accident. For example, if the pedestrian was crossing the street where there wasn’t a crosswalk and they stepped into the path of a moving vehicle, then the pedestrian could be found liable for their own injuries. Still, in most cases, the driver will also share some of the blame.
California follows comparative negligence laws, meaning a pedestrian can still file a claim if they are partially responsible for their injuries. The money recovered will simply be reduced based on their percentage of fault. So if the pedestrian was 30% at fault for the accident, for example, then the settlement award will be reduced by 30%.
Is There Such a Thing as Pedestrian Insurance?
Technically, there is no official pedestrian insurance. However, this does not mean pedestrians do not have access to insurance coverage when hit by a car.
First, if you are injured in an accident as a pedestrian, you can seek medical coverage through your own health insurance. The other option is no-fault insurance through an auto policy.
Even though you were injured as a pedestrian, you can seek insurance coverage through your own no-fault auto policy if you have one. Or you could be covered by the no-fault insurance on the auto policy of a relative in your household.
In California, this no-fault insurance is called MedPay or Medical Payments coverage. This type of insurance can cover out-of-pocket medical expenses if you are hit by a car while you are out walking or even riding a bike.
Do I Tell My Insurance if Someone Hit Me?
If you are wondering — do I tell my insurance if someone hit me? The answer is yes.
You will want to inform your insurance of what happened in case you need to tap into your own insurance for coverage. However, it is possible that the other party could be the one responsible for covering your injuries and damages.
If the driver was at fault and they have insurance, you can file a claim against them, and their insurance will cover your damages. If a local municipality is to blame, you can also file a claim against the agency responsible. However, keep in mind that filing a claim against local government agencies is not easy. It’s not impossible, but you will need to work with a lawyer if you expect to win your case.
If the injury was your own fault or if the accident was a hit and run and the driver can’t be found, then you will tap into your own auto policy for coverage. You can use your MedPay insurance in these situations. If you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then you can also use this to get coverage for your injuries and damages if you were a pedestrian hit by an uninsured driver.
Filing a Claim as a Pedestrian After a Car Accident
As an injured pedestrian, you have the right to file a claim to recover compensation for damages you suffered; this can include:
- Medical bills
- Cost of rehab or physical therapy
- Lost wages or loss of future earnings
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disability or permanent impairment
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
However, it’s important to understand that proving negligence in California is not always easy. Drivers do owe pedestrians a duty of care, but they may try to blame you and say that you were walking somewhere you weren’t legally allowed to be. In this case, you will have to work with an attorney to build a case proving that the driver was responsible for what happened.
Generally, these cases work based on something called “negligence per se,” which means that it is assumed that the driver is at fault if they did something like failing to yield the right of way to you as the pedestrian. But the driver could use this same negligence argument against you.
This is why working with a lawyer is often necessary. An attorney can help you gather evidence that shows that the driver is, in fact, the one that acted negligently. This will ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for your damages.
If you need to file a claim against a local municipality for your pedestrian accident, you will also need to work with a lawyer. Proving negligence in cases involving local government agencies is even more challenging than proving negligence when a driver is at fault.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience handling pedestrian cases, including those that are more complex. We thoroughly understand all pedestrian right-of-way laws and know what it takes to protect the rights of injured pedestrians.
Whether you are filing a claim against another driver, a claim for a hit and run or an uninsured driver, or a claim against a local municipality, we can help. We can even help you if you need to file a claim with your own insurance to ensure they fairly compensate you as well.
Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.