Pedestrian accidents are a common occurrence, and they often become more frequent during the night. Pedestrian accidents occurring at night often result in a range of severe injuries, such as:
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries, which can lead to long-term cognitive impairment.
- Broken or fractured bones, particularly in the limbs and ribs, often requiring extensive rehabilitation.
- Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains.
- Internal injuries, including organ damage.
The severity of these injuries often ranges from moderate to critical, with the potential for long-term physical disability. In Palm Springs, Pedestrian accident victims can pursue compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. In this blog, we will discuss common causes of such accidents as well as establishing liability.
Common Causes of Nighttime Pedestrian Accidents
Nighttime brings with it a unique set of challenges for both drivers and pedestrians. The darkness reduces visibility, making it more difficult for drivers to spot pedestrians. Additionally, many drivers may be fatigued or less attentive after a long day, which can lead to slower reaction times.
There's also the issue of impaired driving, which is more prevalent at night. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have decreased reaction times and impaired judgment, making them more likely to cause accidents. Fatigue is also more of a factor at night.
Pedestrian Accidents at Night: Who Is Responsible?
When it comes to pedestrian accidents, determining liability can be complex. Of course, negligent drivers are often held responsible if they were speeding, distracted, or impaired. However, other parties could also be held liable.
Local municipalities might be liable too if inadequate street lighting or poorly maintained crosswalks contribute to an accident. Therefore, establishing liability requires a thorough investigation and often involves multiple parties.
How Jaywalking Can Complicate a Case
Jaywalking refers to crossing the street outside of designated crosswalks or against traffic signals. It's considered illegal in many jurisdictions due to the inherent risks it poses to both pedestrians and motorists.
In the event of an accident involving a jaywalker, liability is not always straightforward. While motorists are generally expected to exercise caution to avoid hitting pedestrians, a jaywalker could also be held partially or even fully responsible for an accident due to their unlawful behavior.
It is also important to note that California is a pure comparative negligence state. Pure comparative negligence is a legal doctrine followed by California and several other states. Under this rule, a plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) can recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, their recovery will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
For instance, if a plaintiff is found to be 30% at fault for an accident and the total damages amount to $100,000, they would be able to recover $70,000 (i.e., $100,000 less 30% for their share of fault). This holds true even if the plaintiff is found to be 99% at fault – they can still recover 1% of their damages.
In the context of pedestrian accidents, pure comparative negligence comes into play when determining liability and damages. If a pedestrian was jaywalking at the time of the accident, they could be found partially at fault. However, this does not automatically absolve the driver of responsibility.
The jury will be asked to consider various factors, such as whether the driver was speeding, texting, distracted, or failed to exercise reasonable care as well as whether the pedestrian crossed multiple lanes before being struck by the automobile. Both parties' actions leading up to the accident will be closely examined, and fault will be assigned accordingly.
Protecting Your Rights After a Jaywalking Accident
If you've been hit by a car while jaywalking, it's crucial to take certain steps to protect your legal rights. Firstly, seek immediate medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, and having a medical record will be essential when pursuing a claim.
Next, report the accident to the police and ensure a formal report is filed. Gather as much evidence as possible, including photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and details of the other party involved.
You should also consult a personal injury attorney. Navigating the legal landscape following a pedestrian/automobile accident can be complex, and an experienced personal injury attorney can provide invaluable guidance and representation.
Schedule an Initial Consultation Today
In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, a Palm Springs personal injury attorney can provide invaluable assistance. They can help the injured accident victim understand their legal rights, file a claim, and navigate through the complex legal process.
Attorneys are skilled in negotiating with insurance companies, ensuring that their clients receive fair compensation for their injuries. Furthermore, if the case goes to court, an attorney can represent their client and present a persuasive argument on their behalf.
At Barry Regar APLC, we have been helping protect our client’s legal rights and assisting them in obtaining fair and reasonable compensation in Palm Springs and the surrounding areas for over 40 years. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, we are here and equipped to help you.
Contact us online or via phone at (760) 440-5643. We offer free consultations and work on a contigency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case.