This is a sobering statistic: Throughout the U.S., pedestrian deaths make up 11% of all traffic fatalities. Here in San Francisco, pedestrian deaths account for an astounding 50% of all traffic fatalities. It is largely due to the fact that San Francisco does not have a freeway system to route traffic around the city. It relies on an internal network of highways. In addition, the amount of foot traffic in the Bay Area is quite high.
In addition, the number of distracted driving accidents has skyrocketed in the past 15 years. This is thanks to cell phones, infotainment systems, and the rise of text messaging. Each year, an unlucky 800 pedestrians are injured or killed on San Francisco’s streets.
But those who have been injured are not without remedy under the law. You are entitled to sue to recover damages if you’ve been injured by a San Francisco driver. In this article, we’ll discuss how this process works.
Negligent Driving and Pedestrian Accidents
While pedestrians are sometimes to blame for their own injuries, chances are it was the driver’s fault for not seeing the pedestrian—at least in part. In the vast majority of cases, drivers are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians. When they don’t, they can be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries.
Other reasons a driver might be held liable for a pedestrian’s injuries include:
● Failure to stop before the crosswalk
● Turning through the crosswalk
● Running a stop sign
● Failure to obey traffic signals
● Distracted or drunk driving
● Backing into a pedestrian while parking.
In cases where the driver’s negligence causes the pedestrian’s injuries, they will be forced to pay damages to the pedestrian.
Negligent Walking and Pedestrian Accidents
Sometimes, a pedestrian is partially to blame for walking into traffic improperly. They are seldom held fully liable for the accident, however. In these cases, both the driver and the pedestrian share some of the blame. The pedestrian, however, is still allowed to collect damages for their injuries. The only circumstance under which a pedestrian could not collect damages is if the pedestrian were 100% to blame for their injuries. That’s rare.
In some cases, however, the pedestrian could do something that would limit the driver’s liability. This includes jaywalking or not paying attention to where they are going. In those situations, the court would assign some of the blame to the pedestrian and some to the driver.
In California, even if the pedestrian is 99% responsible for the accident, they can still collect damages under California’s pure comparative fault rule. Of course, their damages are limited to the percent of the driver’s responsibility. So if a driver is 75% responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries, the pedestrian can recover 75% of their damages.
Understanding the Role of Insurance Companies in Pedestrian Accidents
In a tort state like California, the insurance company is on the opposite side of a high stakes negotiation. You are on the other side. They are not there to help you. They’re not going to help you get paid. Their job is to represent their client, the at-fault driver. To do this, they begin chipping away at your case.
Under no circumstances should you speak to the insurance adjuster or any representative of the insurance company. Nothing you can say to them will do you the least bit of good. They will present themselves as if they’re trying to help you. They’ll ask you for information regarding your injuries. They’ll ask you loaded questions. They will search through your social media profiles. They’ve been known to have private investigators conduct surveillance people.
It’s important to remember this every time you post on Facebook and every time you Tweet. They are searching for information that can damage your claim.
They are, for all intents and purposes, your adversary during this process.
Protecting Your Claim in a Pedestrian Accident
When you hire a lawyer, all conversations regarding the insurance company go through us. We talk to them on your behalf. We get the information from your doctors. We argue you the merits of your case. We explain the impact of your injuries on your life. We ensure that they don’t turn around and try to put the blame on you.
The office of The Wakeford Law Firm has helped hundreds of San Francisco and Marin County residents recover damages for their injuries. We protect your claim and ensure that you are compensated for the full value of your damages. Give us a call at (415) 578-3510 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.