If you are opening a personal injury claim in the state of California, it will fall under one of two potential legal theories: Either the accident was a result of negligence, or it was caused by battery. Nonetheless, more often than not, pedestrian accidents will be due to a negligent act rather than a deliberate attempt to harm another party.
However, what is negligence in the eyes of the law? Simply put, negligence is what occurs whenever a party fails to uphold the duty of care. This means that the party failed to execute the appropriate amount of care in a given situation to minimize the risk of another party being harmed. If their actions don’t match what another reasonable person would have done in the same or similar circumstances, then the person had been acting negligently.
For your pedestrian accident claim to succeed, you’ll need to consider all five components of negligence in the eyes of California law. It will be necessary for you and your personal injury attorney to prove the existence of each of the following variables:
In order for duty to exist, the responsible party must have been required by law to act in a certain way in their interactions with the other party. In car accident situations, duty will almost always exist, as it’s legally required that the driver use reasonable care toward any pedestrians that they encounter.
Breach of Duty
Then, once duty has been proven, you and your attorney will need to prove that there was a breach of that duty. If the opposing party failed to act with the appropriate level of care, then they had breached their duty. For instance, if a pedestrian is injured after a driver breaks a traffic law, then a clear breach of duty exists in the scenario. This assumption can be made, thanks to a legal theory known as negligence per se.
The next step is to prove that the vehicle’s driver was responsible for the pedestrian’s injury itself. Essentially, if it wasn’t for the negligent actions of the driver, it must be proven that the injury would never have occurred.
In the context of personal injury claims, an injury must have been a foreseeable outcome, given the actions of the other party. In instances of pedestrian accidents, serious injuries will generally be considered a foreseeable outcome of negligence behind the wheel.
Finally, once each of the previous variables has been proven, the injured pedestrian must be able to prove that the accident resulted in some form of legally recognized injury or harm. Damages come in a number of categories, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and damage to property. Generally, the process of proving pain and suffering damages will be more difficult than proving more concrete damages, such as medical costs due to an injury.
Thus, in order for the claim to succeed, each of these elements will need to be proven based upon a preponderance of the evidence. This means that more than 50% of the available evidence supports the injured party’s claim.
At the onset of filing a pedestrian accident claim, it can be difficult determining how long the process will take. That being said, due to the statute of limitations in California, you will be required to file the claim within two years of the accident. If the claim is not opened within this time frame, the injured party has lost the ability to seek compensation for their experience.
Even if the claim is filed in a timely fashion, it’s difficult to predict exactly how long the legal process will take. This is dependent upon a number of factors, including the overall legal complexity of the accident, as well as the extent or severity of the pedestrian’s injuries. In more complex cases, or in cases where the injuries are more severe, there’s a strong chance that the claim will take longer than a more straightforward, less dire claim.
Before taking your claim to trial, you’ll likely be faced with a settlement offer from the opposing party’s insurance provider. To determine whether this offer is fair, it’s crucial that you have a personal injury attorney on your side at this early stage in the process. Your attorney will be able to account for all the injuries and losses you have sustained, to accurately decide whether the settlement offer is reasonable.
If you are unable to receive a fair settlement offer from the insurance company, then this is when you should consider taking the claim to trial. Again, your lawyer will be able to guide you through this process and help you to determine whether this is the best course of action. At the minimum, you can typically expect a pedestrian injury claim to last for several months.
However, more complex claims can go on for several years. If you’d like to receive an estimate of how long your claim will take, make sure to discuss this with your personal injury attorney.
After being injured in an Irvine, CA pedestrian accident, don’t wait to get in contact with a personal injury lawyer. You can always rely upon the premier legal team at Easton & Easton if you’re looking to receive the settlement you truly deserve. We will fight to see that you’re fairly compensated for the damages you’ve incurred because of an accident. To get in touch with us, you can contact our legal experts through the Easton & Easton website.