Why Do I Need a Santa Ana Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Fault is usually perfectly apparent in any incident involving a motor vehicle driver hitting a pedestrian. Drivers have a duty of care to prevent collisions with pedestrians at all times, even when pedestrians cross the street inappropriately or do not wait for crosswalk indicators before crossing streets. If another driver hit you or a loved one while walking, you have the right to file a civil claim against them to recover your resulting damages. Any time a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is likely to suffer severe injuries, some of which may be life-threatening without immediate medical treatment.
If you were to attempt to handle your case alone, you would need to do so while managing the aftermath of your accident, including painful injuries and a difficult recovery process. Additionally, severe injuries generate medical bills and prevent the victim from working. These factors lead to substantial economic pressure. Facing these issues simultaneously while trying to handle a civil claim unassisted is an incredible challenge. Working with a skilled Santa Ana pedestrian accident lawyer would allow you to effectively address your legal matters while having the peace of mind that comes with knowing your case is in capable hands.
Ultimately, you are not only more likely to succeed with a pedestrian accident claim when you have legal counsel but are also more likely to maximize your recovery to the fullest extent possible under California law. For example, a plaintiff who attempts self-representation may succeed with their claim, but they would be likely to overlook critical details of their claim that influence their overall recovery. A Santa Ana pedestrian accident attorney can identify these variables and address them effectively on their client’s behalf.
Determining Fault for Pedestrian Accidents in Santa Ana, CA
The first step in recovery from a pedestrian accident is determining who is responsible for your damages. If the at-fault driver remained at the scene of the accident after striking you with their vehicle, this would be relatively simple. However, many pedestrian accidents in California involve hit-and-run drivers, and locating the at-fault driver can be challenging. Your Santa Ana pedestrian accident attorney will know how to obtain the evidence you need to positively identify the party responsible for your accident.
Proving fault in any personal injury claim revolves around the legal concept of “negligence,” or a failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. Since all drivers have a duty of care to avoid hitting pedestrians, a driver striking a pedestrian is a clear violation of this duty of care. Your attorney can help you gather traffic camera footage, cell phone data, vehicle computer records, and eyewitness testimony to assist you in identifying the driver responsible for your recent pedestrian accident and holding them accountable for your damages.
It’s important to note that a plaintiff can lose a percentage of their case award under California law if they are partially responsible for causing their damages. For example, suppose a pedestrian jaywalked outside a designated crosswalk and was hit by a car. In that case, the driver is still primarily responsible for the incident due to their duty of care to avoid hitting pedestrians. However, a judge would likely deem the pedestrian partially at fault because they crossed the road illegally.
When comparative negligence comes into play in a Santa Ana pedestrian accident case, the plaintiff loses a percentage of the case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing the incident in question. California’s pure comparative negligence statute does not enforce any threshold of fault that prohibits plaintiff recovery. Therefore, it’s theoretically possible for a plaintiff to be 99% at fault and still recover 1% of their damages. However, the higher the plaintiff’s fault percentage, the more they lose from their case award and the more vulnerable they are to counterclaims from the defendant.
Compensation for Damages in Pedestrian Accidents Claims
Pedestrian accidents typically cause painful injuries, which lead to expensive medical bills and the inability to work. Suppose you are hurt in a pedestrian accident. In that case, you have the right to file a civil claim against the driver responsible for the accident and seek compensation for all damages their actions have caused. Some of the economic damages you are likely able to claim in your pedestrian accident case include:
- Medical expenses. You can seek compensation for immediate and future medical costs resulting from our accident. For example, you have the right to claim compensation for immediate medical costs like hospital bills as well as any costs for long-term care you require for the treatment of your injuries.
- Lost income. Your pedestrian accident is likely to leave you unable to work for an extended time. You can claim income lost during this time and lost future earning potential if you develop a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work. Your Santa Ana pedestrian accident attorney can help you calculate the future income you would have reasonably expected to earn had your accident not occurred.
- Property damage. If your pedestrian accident also caused damage to your personal belongings, you may seek compensation for repair or replacement costs.
In addition to these economic damages, California state law allows a personal injury plaintiff to recover compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Your pedestrian accident lawyer will help you determine a fair amount of pain and suffering compensation to include with your claim based on the overall severity of your injuries and whether you are likely to experience long-term medical complications from them.
Some plaintiffs in pedestrian accident claims may also qualify to receive punitive damages. As the name suggests, these damages punish a defendant for egregious negligence or intentionally harmful conduct. While a plaintiff cannot directly seek punitive damages, the judge may award them at their discretion based on the severity of the defendant’s actions and their overall financial status.
What to Expect From Santa Ana Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Navigating any civil claim is much easier when you have reliable legal counsel on your side. If you are preparing to file your pedestrian accident claim in Santa Ana, the right attorney can significantly impact the case’s outcome. Easton & Easton can provide the comprehensive and compassionate legal representation you and your family need during this difficult time. Our firm will help you gather the evidence you need to establish liability for your damages and prove the full scope of those damages. In addition, we’ll assist you in navigating every phase of your case with confidence.
Orange County Pedestrian Accidents FAQs
The following are some of the most commonly asked questions from pedestrian accident victims in Santa Ana. Review these questions and our answers to gain a firmer understanding of your legal options following a pedestrian accident.
Q: Can I Claim Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident?
A: If another party has injured you and caused tangible losses, you have the right to file a civil claim against them. A Santa Ana pedestrian accident attorney can help you prove liability for your damages and recover as fully as California state law allows.
Q: Can a Driver File a Claim Against a Pedestrian?
A: It is technically possible for a driver to file a lawsuit against a pedestrian, but even if the pedestrian were negligent in the situation in question, the driver’s claim would be unlikely to succeed. Drivers always have a higher duty of care to prevent pedestrian accidents than pedestrians. While a driver can easily injure a pedestrian, it is very unlikely for the opposite to occur.
Q: What Happens If a Pedestrian Accident Is Fatal?
A: Unfortunately, many pedestrian accidents have fatal consequences. If your loved one died because of a negligent driver, you and your family would need to file a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim. These cases are functionally similar to personal injury claims in many ways, with a few key differences.
You probably have many other vital questions specific to your recent pedestrian accident, and Easton & Easton can provide the answers and guidance you need in this difficult time. In addition, if you are ready to take legal action following a pedestrian accident in Santa Ana, we can help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with an experienced and compassionate Santa Ana pedestrian accident attorney.