Pedestrian accidents are some of the worst accidents that a person can suffer, often leaving them in chronic pain and financial distress. At the Law Office of Brian P. Azemika, we have one goal: obtain fair and full compensation for our personal injury clients. Unfortunately, many motorists deny they are to blame for a crash, and some criminal drivers flee the scene rather than help injured victims.
We want all injured victims to know that legal help is available. We can meet to discuss the best path for receiving compensation following a Sacramento pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian Accidents Cause Devastating Injuries
Some of the more serious injuries a pedestrian can suffer when struck by a car are:
- Friction burns. A pedestrian could be tossed down the road, where exposed skin scrapes along the asphalt. Friction burns are also called “road rash,” which might require skin grafts and often leaves permanent scars.
- Fractures. Any bone can break in a car accident, including the ribs, pelvis, thigh bone, and neck. If the pedestrian slams their head on the ground, they could fracture their skull.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Trauma to the head can cause various impairments involving memory, personality, sleep, and coordination.
- Back injuries. A pedestrian can fracture vertebrae, pull muscles, or rupture a disc.
- Spinal cord injuries. Any nick or stretching of the cord can result in partial or full paralysis. Even bruising of the cord can cause impaired sensation and make a return to life difficult.
After a crash, try to get medical attention immediately. Some injuries only worsen with time.
Pedestrian Accidents & Driver Negligence
Most pedestrians are struck because a driver failed to drive their vehicle safely. These drivers make mistakes behind the wheel, break the law, or else are simply too careless or reckless.
In our experience, many drivers crash into pedestrians because of:
- Drug or alcohol use
- Cell phone use
- Failure to brake in time
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Illegal turns
Evidence for Pedestrian Accident Cases
To receive compensation, your Sacramento pedestrian accident attorney must show that the driver failed to be careful and therefore caused the collision. This can be a tall order in many cases. Sometimes, there are two conflicting versions of events about what happened. To bring a successful claim, we will need to show how the accident happened.
We can rely on the following evidence:
- Witness testimony. Witnesses are often crucial to a pedestrian accident case. They can provide objective testimony about what actions the driver took, and whether you were crossing the street when you weren’t supposed to.
- Accident reports. The officer who comes to the scene might include useful information, such as statements from the driver.
- Dash cam footage. More and more drivers have dash cams. These cameras help establish what happened. Even another driver on the road might have captured the collision, which is another reason to talk with witnesses, if possible, after a collision.
- Photographs from the accident scene. Pictures of skid marks or dents on the car can help us reconstruct a collision.
- Cell phone records. If you think the driver was texting or talking on the phone, we can request cell phone records which show the date and time.
Reach out to our firm as soon as possible. We might need to take affirmative steps to preserve some of this evidence for use later.
Compensation for Your Injuries
Most claims involve negotiating with the driver’s insurance company to allocate fault and come up with a fair settlement amount. As your legal representatives, we will drive a hard bargain to secure damages for:
- All past, present, and future medical expenses. The at-fault driver should pay for surgery, doctor visits, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and a wheelchair or crutches. Serious injuries often require ongoing medical care.
- Lost income, including future income. When an accident impairs your ability to work, victims lose out on necessary income. A permanent injury might also require that you take a new job or quit working completely.
- Pain and suffering. Pedestrian accident victims suffer a dramatic reduction in their quality of life and can struggle with depression, disfiguring scars, sleep disorders, irritability, and pain.
Meet with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Sacramento to review possible compensation. If a loved one was killed in a pedestrian crash, surviving family members might also have a wrongful death claim which we can discuss.
California law lets us seek punitive damages in certain situations. Unlike the damages listed above which compensate victims, the goal of punitive damages is to punish bad behavior.
Punitive damages are not available for all pedestrian accidents. But you could seek them if the motorist intentionally hurt you or exhibited a despicable lack of regard for your safety. For example, we might seek punitive damages against people who were drag racing, intoxicated, or intentionally pulled into a crowd of people. This is the type of horrible conduct punitive damages were created to deter.
Hit and Run Accidents
Unfortunately, some motorists do not stop after striking a pedestrian even though the law requires it. There are many reasons why drivers flee. Some might lack the required insurance and fear losing personal assets in a lawsuit. Others were drinking alcohol and probably feared a possible drunk driving arrest. Still, others might have been so intoxicated they didn’t even know they hit someone.
Whatever their reasons, reckless drivers leave injured victims in a lurch. Pedestrian accidents cause serious injuries requiring considerable medical care. Many pedestrians lack the funds or insurance to cover the cost of surgery, outpatient services, and rehabilitation.
Fortunately, California requires that motorists carry uninsured motorist coverage insurance. This policy kicks in if you are hit by a driver who is uninsured or who flees the scene of a crash. For this reason, you should receive something to cover medical bills and other losses, even if the driver is never found. But you might need to haggle with the insurer to get a claim paid.
Comparative Negligence & Pedestrian Accidents
California was one of the first states to adopt comparative negligence, also called comparative fault. Over 50 years ago, a pedestrian accident victim who was a little negligent couldn’t sue for compensation. The California Supreme Court changed that in 1975. Today, we must compare the fault of each side. In a pedestrian accident, this means comparing the driver’s fault to the pedestrian’s.
For example, the driver might claim that you are really responsible because you:
- Crossed an intersection when the light told you not to
- Threw yourself in front of a vehicle
- Walked wearing headphones
- Were distracted by a cell phone
If any of these allegations are true, then you bear some fault. For example, you might be 50% to blame and the driver 50% to blame.
Under a comparative fault scheme, your compensation is reduced proportionally. So if your accident was worth $80,000 but you were 50% to blame, you will receive a maximum of $40,000. If you were 75% to blame, you would receive $20,000.
Unsurprisingly, many drivers amplify any negligence on the part of a pedestrian. We can push back by minimizing your own responsibility.
How to Reduce the Risks of a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accidents are not 100% avoidable. Still, there are steps we can all take to reduce the risk. At our firm, we promote public safety and encourage all pedestrians to do the following:
- Only cross at the intersection. Motorists are not expecting you to jump out in the middle of the road.
- Put away distractions like cell phones and focus on your surroundings. Remember that earbuds block out noise, which means you won’t hear a car coming. It’s easier to take defensive action when you are not distracted.
- Walk on the sidewalk. Only walk on the side of the road if there is no sidewalk.
- Check both ways before crossing at an intersection. A drunk or distracted driver won’t stop.
- Wear bright clothing and stand out in the dark. Some people walk with a flashlight or put reflective tape on their jacket or ball cap.
The Azemika Advantage
We have been serving clients for years in Sacramento and surrounding areas. If you hire us, we can strengthen your claim for compensation and make recovery easier.
For example, filing an accident claim takes time and endless paperwork. We can gather all the evidence you need and communicate with relevant insurance companies. We will answer their questions and provide them with the requested information.
Each pedestrian accident case begins by fully analyzing all information, including your memories of the event. We can also help you document your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and lost income. This documentation makes it much harder for an insurer to offer a lowball settlement.
If negotiations falter, we are more than ready to file a lawsuit in court. We can sue negligent drivers or their employers if the driver was working at the time of the crash. We review all potential insurance policies that come into play, including your own uninsured motorist coverage.
Contact Us After A Pedestrian Accident in Sacramento
The Law Office of Brian P. Azemika stands ready to help any pedestrian injured in a collision in Sacramento. We have negotiated with many insurers and understand how to hold out for the maximum compensation available. Please call our firm today to schedule a day and time to meet. Our initial consultations are free.
Brian Azemika fought for me when others thought my case was a lost cause. Brian Azemika took over my case with only a few weeks to prepare prior to trial. His knowledge and expertise showed in how he prepared me for my testimony at trial. He also had a great presence in the courtroom and really connected with the jury during the entire trial. He did such a great job in the eyes of the jury that many of them approached him after the trial and asked him for his business card. Thanks to Mr. Azemika, the jury returned a verdict for $400,000.00, which was amazing since the settlement offer from the insurance company was for only $45,000.00 on the first day of trial. I am so glad that Brian Azemika was my trial attorney.