How to Prove Fault for a Pedestrian Accident
Most of the pedestrian accident claims filed in Corona are the result of negligence or failure to use reasonable care and caution in specific situations. When another party fails to exercise reasonable care and caution in a manner resulting in tangible harm, it forms the basis of a personal injury case under California law. Therefore, the first step in recovering from your recent pedestrian accident is determining exactly how the accident happened and identifying the party or parties responsible for causing it. A few of the most commonly cited causes of pedestrian accidents resulting in personal injury claims in Corona include:
- Speeding, which reduces the time and distance a driver has to avoid hitting a pedestrian in their path. Accidents at higher speeds are more likely to cause catastrophic or fatal injuries.
- Moving violations like illegal turns and running red lights. These actions disrupt traffic flow and can catch nearby pedestrians off-guard, resulting in devastating injuries. In addition, failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians can potentially result in reckless driving charges along with liability for any civil damages caused.
- Driving under the influence (DUI), which is a serious criminal offense in California, the penalties for which increase significantly when the at-fault driver causes injury or death.
- Poor visibility. Pedestrians must use extra caution when walking in dimly lit areas at night, but drivers always have the higher duty of care to prevent pedestrian accidents.
- Distracted driving, which is especially dangerous to pedestrians. Even momentary inattention around foot traffic can easily result in a pedestrian accident.
Proving negligence requires establishing a few basic facts. First, the plaintiff must identify the defendant and explain the duty of care they held in the situation in question. For example, a driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle with their full attention at all times. Next, the plaintiff must show how the defendant breached this duty of care. Following the previous example, any inattentive driving, such as cell phone use behind the wheel, would constitute a breach of duty of care.
After proving these two initial elements of negligence, the plaintiff must then prove that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused actual harm. In pedestrian accident claims, this most often takes the form of economic losses like medical expenses for the treatment of injuries, lost income during the victim’s recovery period, and any costs associated with replacing damaged personal property.
Comparative Fault in California Pedestrian Accident Claims
One issue that often arises in pedestrian accident cases filed in the Corona area is a comparative fault. It’s relatively common for defendants accused of causing pedestrian accidents to accuse the pedestrians they injured of contributing to causing these accidents. So, for example, if the defendant in your claim asserts that you were jaywalking and gave them little to no time to avoid hitting you, they will leverage this to diminish their liability for your damages.
Should comparative fault come into play in your case, your Corona pedestrian accident attorney will be invaluable for helping you minimize your fault percentage. If the judge overseeing your case determines you to be partially liable for causing your accident, you will lose a percentage of your total compensation to reflect this shared fault.
Damages and Compensation for the Plaintiff
Most personal injury claims filed in Corona involve both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the direct financial losses caused by a defendant’s bad behavior and typically include property damage, medical expenses, and lost income. In addition, when a defendant has caused physical injuries with their actions, they become liable for the cost of any and all medical care the victim requires to fully heal from their injuries. This includes ongoing and future medical treatment costs, too.
If your pedestrian accident left you unable to work until you recover from your injuries, the defendant is liable for the income you are unable to earn during this time. If you are left with disabilities that prevent you from resuming your previous job duties, the defendant is liable for the income you can no longer earn. Finally, if you are permanently disabled from the accident and cannot return to any work at all, the defendant faces liability for the future income you would have reasonably expected to have been able to earn until retirement.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and more difficult to substantiate. Non-economic damages in your personal injury claim include the physical pain, psychological trauma, and emotional distress you experienced because of the defendant’s actions. There is no limit on pain and suffering compensation for a pedestrian accident claim under California law, and this aspect of your recovery may be substantial depending on the severity of the damages you suffered.
It’s also possible for a plaintiff to receive additional compensation depending on the exact cause of their pedestrian accident. For example, if the defendant caused the accident because they were driving under the influence, the state will likely file criminal charges against them. Restitution to the victim could be an element of their criminal sentence. On the other hand, if the defendant’s behavior did not reach the level of justifying criminal charges but exceeded the scope of simple negligence, the judge handling the civil claim against the defendant could award the plaintiff punitive damages to punish the defendant’s misbehavior.
Resolving Your Pedestrian Accident Case in Corona
Most of the personal injury claims filed in California end with settlement negotiations. After a complaint for civil damages is filed with the court, the defendant named in the complaint will have the opportunity to respond. At this point, the case can go one of two possible ways. Either the defendant will agree to settlement negotiations, and the parties will privately negotiate a resolution, or the defendant will contest the claim, and the case will go to trial.
It is generally beneficial to both parties to avoid litigation. The trial process is very time-consuming and tedious, and the results are out of the hands of both parties. The judge overseeing the case has the final say regarding the defendant’s liability and the amount of compensation the plaintiff can claim. When the defendant’s liability is clear, they will generally seek to settle the case as soon as possible.
Your Corona pedestrian accident attorney can assist you in settling your case quickly by gathering compelling evidence to make a strong case. During settlement negotiations, the plaintiff may need to give some ground and accept a slightly lower settlement than they initially expected in exchange for swifter results. Conversely, the defendant could need to agree to more compensation than they hoped to pay in exchange for release from liability as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, settlement is not always possible for every personal injury case. If a pedestrian accident claim must unfold at trial, the parties involved will engage in a lengthy discovery process, sharing all pertinent evidence before proceeding to preliminary motions and trial sessions. At the end of the case, the judge will consider all the evidence and testimony in play to deliver their ruling.
Corona Pedestrian Injury Lawyer FAQs
Q: Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident in Corona, California?
A: Yes, it is possible for a pedestrian to cause a pedestrian accident, and California’s pure comparative negligence law would apply to their case. The judge overseeing the case would assign fault percentages to the liable parties, and if the plaintiff holds a percentage of fault, it will negatively influence their final case award. For example, if a plaintiff is found 10% at fault for causing a personal injury, they will lose 10% of the compensation won from the defendant.
Q: How Soon Should I Contact a Corona Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
A: Time is a critical concern if you intend to file any type of legal action against the party who caused your recent pedestrian accident. If you plan to file a claim against their auto insurance, you have a very limited time in which to do so, typically only a few days after the accident. If you intend to file a personal injury claim, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions in California, but it is always a good idea to file your claim as soon as possible.
Q: What Happens if a Pedestrian Dies From Their Accident?
A: Unfortunately, many pedestrian accidents in California are fatal. In the event a pedestrian dies from an accident, the at-fault driver faces liability for wrongful death. The victim’s surviving family would have the right to file a wrongful death claim, seeking compensation for the damages resulting from the unexpected death. Wrongful death suits typically yield similar compensation to what a plaintiff would receive for a successful personal injury claim, but these cases require experienced and compassionate legal counsel for clients to reach the most agreeable results.
Q: How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated in California?
A: Pain and suffering can be calculated using the per diem method or the multiplier method. The per diem method awards a set amount of compensation each day until the victim reaches maximum medical improvement from their injuries. The multiplier method is more suitable for clients who have suffered tremendous physical harm and face long-term complications. This method entails multiplying the client’s total economic losses by a factor to represent the severity of their condition, usually one to five.
Q: What Does a Corona Pedestrian Accident Attorney Cost to Hire?
A: Easton & Easton’s attorneys take personal injury cases, and because we take a contingency fee in such cases, our clients are not required to pay anything up front for our legal representation. We also do not charge ongoing fees during a client’s case and only accept a fee once we win. The fee we take from a client is a portion of the total compensation we secure on their behalf, so our success hinges on our client’s success. If for any reason we cannot secure a case award for your pedestrian accident claim, you pay nothing, so there is no risk to you by hiring our firm to represent you.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton are ready to extend the full scope of our professional resources and experience to handle your pedestrian accident claim. Our team has successfully guided many past clients in Corona through all types of civil claims for damages, including those arising from pedestrian accidents. Rest assured that our team will address your unique individual concerns as we guide you through the proceedings necessary to recover as much compensation as possible for your losses. If you’re ready to learn how our firm can empower your recovery efforts, contact Easton & Easton today and schedule a meeting with a Corona pedestrian accident attorney.