Updated August 4, 2021
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The Injury Advocates Group legal team has handled pedestrian accidents that occurred in a parking lot, parking garage, outdoor shopping plaza, and at marked and unmarked crosswalks.
If you are searching for the best pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles, we invite you to continue reading this free strategy article to get a flavor of our experience and knowledge. It will hopefully answer many of your questions. For a 30 minute free consultation, call or write us 24/7. We are on standby to help you.
Example Pedestrian Accident Insurance Claim
For example, a lawyer on our team represented a client who was hit by a car in a parking lot. The client suffered no broken bones, no spine injury, no permanent injury, and had no surgery. The client had approximately $10,000 in medical expenses.
The insurance company refused to take the case seriously, so the case was filed in court and pursued aggressively. This resulted in a $48,000 recovery for the client’s soft tissue injuries.
Many attorneys scoff at investing that much time, effort, expenses, and litigation practice on soft tissue injuries. At Injury Advocates Group, we appreciate that the smallest case in any law firm is that individual client’s biggest case, and advocate for you with that mentality.
If you give us the opportunity, we will do the same for you as your personal injury consultant. We fight hard to ensure your pedestrian injury compensation is fair, and fully compensates you for everything you are going through.
Several common pedestrian accident case issues are outlined below. To learn more, for a free consultation, or to allow us to represent you for your pedestrian accident insurance claim, call or e-mail (email@example.com) us 24/7.
Table of Contents
Who Qualifies as a Pedestrian Claimant?
Most people think of someone getting hit in a crosswalk when they think of a pedestrian accident. It is broader than that. Here is a more comprehensive list of scenarios where you should consider speaking with a pedestrian injury lawyer if you were hit by a car:
♦ Crossing a crosswalk
♦ Waiting on a sidewalk to cross a crosswalk
♦ Mowing your lawn
♦ Riding a wheelchair
♦ Putting gas in your car
♦ Sitting on front patio or deck
♦ Sitting at a bus stop bench
Depending on where you were a pedestrian, different types and amounts of insurance could be available. Keep reading to learn more about liability and insurance coverage in pedestrian accident claims.
Who is At Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?
What Factors Determine Fault in Pedestrian Accidents?
Proving who is responsible or at fault for a pedestrian accident claim is not as simple as asking whether you were in a crosswalk. Liability, a fancy word for who is at fault, can be complex in pedestrian accident claims. A good way to illustrate this complexity is to outline a few of the factors that will determine how much at fault you are, if at all, for your pedestrian accident:
♦ Crossed road outside of crosswalk / jaywalking
♦ Entered road or crosswalk when car was close
♦ Entered road or crosswalk quickly or unexpectedly
♦ Entered crosswalk riding a bicycle
♦ How many times, when, and in which direction pedestrian looked before crossing
♦ Car was already ¼ way out of parking spot when pedestrian walked behind it
The main factors that decide if you were at fault for a pedestrian accident are whether you were lawfully standing or sitting at the place you were hit by a car at the time you were hit by that car. Beyond that, it is not possible to set hard and fast rules in determining fault for pedestrian accidents.
Can I be at Fault if I was in Crosswalk?
You are not automatically free of fault if you are a pedestrian in a crosswalk when hit by a car. Here are some scenarios that highlight that:
♦ If there is a traffic control device that directs pedestrian traffic, you can be at fault if you utilized the crosswalk when you had a do not walk sign.
♦ If there is no sign and you enter a crosswalk when a car is close to passing, you could be partly to blame for the accident.
♦ If the car has no indication to believe you will utilize the crosswalk but you suddenly enter it and an accident happens, you could be partly, or completely, to blame.
The short answer is, yes, you can be at fault if hit in a crosswalk by a car if:
♦ You had a do not walk sign;
♦ Entered the crosswalk when a car was very close to passing through it;
♦ You unexpectedly entered the crosswalk.
There is a lot of gray area here. An attorney can analyze your facts, including road layout, speed limit, how the accident happened, and other factors, to determine if you have a case. Call or write us for a free case evaluation.
Sample Crosswalk Scenario
Consider this scenario, and take note of the position of the car and the children in the crosswalk:
If these children were hit by the car and called a pedestrian injury lawyer, would the lawyer take their case?
Maybe. Here is what the lawyer would want to know:
♦ What is the speed limit?
♦ How far was the car before the children stepped into the crosswalk?
♦ What direction did the children look before stepping into the crosswalk?
♦ What as the vehicle driver doing in the immediate 10 seconds before this moment?
♦ How fast were the children moving?
♦ From what direction did the children arrive at the crosswalk, did they just finish crossing the perpendicular crosswalk that connects to that corner?
This is not a picture of an actual accident, but a client called with a very similar fact pattern concerning one child. We thought it was a case, but based on answers to the above questions, we concluded that we could not recover compensation for the child’s pedestrian injuries.
It boiled down to time, speed, distance, reactions, and unexpected reactions. These cases are very fact specific, and require a deep dive to determine whether the claim is viable.
Can a Pedestrian Changing a Flat Tire be Liable?
A pedestrian changing a flat tire can be liable for a pedestrian accident.
To illustrate the complexity of liability in pedestrian accident cases, consider the scenario where a pedestrian is changing a flat tire in the highway shoulder. Here are just a few questions that are relevant:
♦ Was it being done near an on-ramp?
♦ Was any part of the pedestrian’s body protruding onto the solid line separating the highway from the shoulder?
♦ Was any part of the pedestrian’s body protruding past the solid line separating the highway from the shoulder?
♦ Were there any flares set out?
♦ Was the road on a bend?
♦ Could the pedestrian have driven his parked car a few more feet forward/backward to reposition its angle?
♦ Was the pedestrian concealed due to the parked car being on a windy road?
Depending on these and other factors, what may seem like very similar scenarios will be different in a major way – some of the scenarios will get much more compensation, and some will get no compensation at all. This means that, depending on the facts, a pedestrian changing the flat tire can be liable depending on body and car positioning, amongst other factors.
To find out how your pedestrian accident facts impact your financial compensation for your pedestrian accident injuries, speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer for free.
Whose Insurance Pays for Pedestrian Accidents?
Will Other Driver’s Insurance Pay for My Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
The first place to check for insurance money is with the driver that hit you while you were a pedestrian. That’s not as easy as it may sound. Depending on your State, the insurance company may not have to tell you how much insurance coverage its insured driver had.
In other states, you have to do and say very specific things before the insurance company has to let you know how much insurance money is available to settle your pedestrian accident claim. If you don’t utilize the statutory language and request, the insurance company will often ignore your request for disclosure of the policy limits.
Can Pedestrian Sue a Parking Garage, City, State, or Construction Company for an Accident?
The other driver’s insurance may have coverage issues, so it’s important to not stop there.
The less talked about and pursued area of insurance is for the area where the pedestrian was hit by a car. The main three are:
♦ Parking lots
♦ Construction sites
The first two, parking lots and government property, boil down to bad parking lot design, poor crosswalk design, and dangerous street and sidewalk design and layout. A pedestrian can sue a parking garage or government property if he or she was hit by a car on those properties.
For construction sites, it boils down to dangerous traffic re-routing, sidewalk closures, and not securing things that fall on pedestrians. A pedestrian can sue a construction company if that company created a pedestrian hazard that resulted in a pedestrian injury.
Who Can Pedestrians Sue for Dangerous Road, Sidewalk, or Parking Lot Designs?
There are three categories of who can be sued for these cases.
Pedestrians can sue the owner of a parking lot, parking garage, road or sidewalk where they are hit by a car. Often times the land on which parking lots and garages are built are owned by different entities. Those companies are possible defendants.
For parking lot and parking garage cases, pedestrians can also sue the companies that are managing and operating the parking lots and parking garages.
For all of these cases, pedestrians can sue the engineering firms, consulting groups, and others who helped decide how to layout the road, sidewalk, and parking areas where the pedestrian was hurt.
Can I win a Dangerous Road or Garage Design Pedestrian Accident Case?
Parking lot, parking garage, construction site, and government road and sidewalk design pedestrian cases have unique challenges. These claims are more complicated, less likely to settle, and cost more. Companies and governments that design roads, parking lots, and public areas where pedestrians may walk have a duty to take into consideration pedestrian safety and make those areas safe for people who could walk there.
Although this is common sense, expert witnesses will be necessary to decide if the company or government broke that rule for the specific area where your pedestrian accident happened.
Because of this complexity, a pedestrian can win a dangerous road design, parking lot or parking garage design, or construction site case, but it will take longer to get a settlement or verdict and it will cost more than a case that is only against the vehicle that hit you.
Can I Settle a Dangerous Parking Garage, Sidewalk or Road Design Case Myself?
There are some cases where you don’t need an attorney. Negligent or dangerous road design, parking garage design, parking lot design, and construction cases are not those cases. If you think the area where your pedestrian accident happened was designed poorly and that’s why a car hit you, call or write us for a fee evaluation of whether you may be right.
Specific investigation is necessary for parking lot design and road design pedestrian injury cases. This includes details about that intersection or road and prior issues with that area. We have done this investigation, and are happy to help you. Generally, you cannot settle these cases yourself because of complex liability which the defendants will not concede without advanced evidence presentation.
What if Police Report Says Pedestrian Accident is My Fault?
Will Police Write a Report for My Pedestrian Accident Case?
Part of a police officer’s job is writing a repot for incidents they respond to. They are often writing reports for things they didn’t see happen, which may include your pedestrian accident. How that police report will impact who is at fault and what your pedestrian accident case is worth is tricky.
We have an entire page devoted to discussion of police reports which you should read if the police report says you were a pedestrian and did something wrong that contributed to a pedestrian accident. The majority of the time, the responding police officer will write a report for a pedestrian accident injury to which the officer responds.
Do I Have a Pedestrian Accident Case if Police Report Says I am at Fault?
The above is particularly problematic for pedestrian accident cases. It is not uncommon to have a problem with a police officer report in a pedestrian accident case.
We have heard one police officer say pedestrians should not walk in the street, and another police officer say pedestrians can walk in the street.
We have heard one police officer say if a pedestrian walks in the street the pedestrian should walk in the direction of traffic, and another officer say pedestrians should walk in the opposite direction of traffic if walking in the street.
In each scenario, one of the officers was right and one was wrong. It comes down to understanding the specific pedestrian laws for your state, county, township, and particular jurisdiction.
Depending on the laws in your state and how the impact happened, you could still have a case even if a police report says you were at fault for a pedestrian accident.
Should I Hire a Lawyer if Police Report Says Pedestrian is at Fault?
If you were hurt as a pedestrian because a car hit you, you will not hire the responding police officer to make a claim. You will hire a pedestrian injury lawyer. For that obvious reason, if you have an unfavorable police report in a pedestrian accident, speak with a lawyer immediately to help you determine your liability, and do not rely on the police report.
On the other hand, if you need to file criminal charges because, for example, an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend intentionally hit you with their car, call a police officer. That intentional act could still give you a right to recover compensation from the car driver’s insurance.
The point is, if a police report says you were at fault for the pedestrian accident, the insurance company will likely deny your claim so you should hire a lawyer to help you come up with ways to overcome that claim denial and show why the police report is unreliable.
Where and How Do Pedestrian Accidents
Happen Most Often?
National Highway Safety Administration has a page devoted to pedestrian safety. Before getting into statistics, if you are looking for safety information, the NHTSA website provides helpful information about how to avoid being the victim of a pedestrian accident and how to avoid hitting pedestrians with your car. It is worth a visit.
The NHTSA’s data shows:
- 6,283 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents every year
- 20% of all automobile accident fatalities are from pedestrian accidents
- 84% of all pedestrian accident deaths are head-on impacts
- 69% increase in pedestrian fatalities in urban areas
- 79%of all pedestrian accident deaths occurred in urban settings
- 25% of all pedestrian accident deaths occur in intersections
- 76 % of all pedestrian accidents deaths occur at nighttime
The cases where pedestrians are killed are wrongful death cases. They require special legal work for a lawyer familiar with your State’s wrongful death statute. Special time restrictions, specific recovery limits, and procedural filing requirements almost always apply regardless of the state you live in.
Depending on how the pedestrian was killed, the deceased-pedestrian’s estate may also have a legal claim for compensation. This is called a survival action. This is even more complicated because it requires estate work before the claim for compensation can be made by a relative, family member, or other person bringing the claim on behalf of the deceased pedestrian.
How Much Is a Pedestrian Accident Worth?
People involved in a pedestrian accident will at some point wonder what the average pedestrian versus car settlements are, or for those in California, what average pedestrian accident settlements are in California. This is a classic “how much is my case worth” question. There are several unique things you need to know about figuring out the settlement or trial value of a pedestrian accident claim which mix into the normal equation. These variables, addressed below, drive the value of every case where a pedestrian is hit and injured by a car or truck.
Can the Pedestrian’s Insurance Increase the Settlement Amount?
If a car hits and injures you in a pedestrian accident, you can make a claim against your own car insurance company for your pedestrian accident injuries. This is also known as an uninsured motorist claim or underinsured motorist claim.
We know it sounds confusing that you can use your own car insurance to get money despite not being in your car, but that’s how it works depending on what state you live in and the insurance policy. A lawyer needs to take a close look at the policy and your state’s law to tell you whether you qualify for this insurance.
Are Pedestrian Injuries Worth More?
Yes, pedestrian accident injuries are often worth more than accidents involving vehicles only. This is because pedestrian accidents often result in serious injury or death. What your injuries are and how your pedestrian accident injuries recover, or whether they become permanent injuries, will have a major impact on how much your pedestrian accident case is worth. Common injuries for pedestrians hit by a vehicle are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Mild traumatic brain injuries
- Facial fractures
- Pelvic Fractures
- Tibial plateau Fracture
- Knee – Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
- Knee – Meniscus
See our page on accident injuries by body part for more about the above and other vehicle accident injuries.
These more serious injuries usually result in larger settlements and verdicts. Especially if there is a combination of injuries. For each type of injury, the severity of the specific injury also plays a role. For example, a hairline fracture is not worth as much as a compound fracture.
You can read more about the different types of fractures and how they make your case worth more or less. Because pedestrians usually suffer worse injuries than people in cars, pedestrian injuries are worth more for purposes of settlement and trial.
Are Pedestrian Cases Worth More Because Pedestrians Are Vulnerable?
There is an additional component, unique to pedestrian accidents, which could drive up the value of a pedestrian accident settlement or verdict. It can be viewed as a car versus person case. Depending on the facts of your case, that dynamic could get you brownie points with a judge, jury, or adjuster.
However, this is not an automatic brownie point just because you were a pedestrian hit by a car or truck. It is an advanced argument that you need an attorney to develop with particular facts and specific presentation. Trying to spin this fact yourself will likely get eye-rolls from the insurance adjuster.
If you think you have a sympathetic fact pattern after being hit by a vehicle, call us for help. If the facts are presented correctly, your pedestrian accident claim could be worth more because pedestrians are a vulnerable population as compared to vehicle operators.
Is There a Limit on Financial Recovery for Pedestrian Accident Cases?
Depending on which category your pedestrian accident case falls into, there may be limits on how much insurance there is and how much money you can get. This is because claims against a government entity or agency may have limits depending on your jurisdiction. This is separate from general limits on damages regardless of who is at fault, which exist in some states.
What is a Typical Settlement for a Pedestrian Accident?
There are too many variables that alter the outcome of a pedestrian accident to provide a meaningful average for these cases. Even when all those variables are considered, the sample size of cases used to reach that average is unreliable because not all settlements and verdicts are known.
With that caveat, we know from personal experience and many cases that we reviewed that non-fatal, non-catastrophic pedestrian accident cases range in settlement value, on average, from $13,000 to $100,000 plus. If the injuries are catastrophic or permanent, we know from reported cases available to us on legal databases that the settlement values are often above $1,000,000.
Pedestrian Accidents in Alabama, Washington, D.C., Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia
The State in which you were hit as a pedestrian makes a difference because those five jurisdictions have a law called contributory negligence. Under that law, if you were hit as a pedestrian outside of a crosswalk while crossing a road, you may be entitled to no compensation.
But it’s not an open and shut case. For example, we have handled pedestrian accident cases where we compelled the insurance company to make six-figure settlement offers where the victim was outside a crosswalk. It boils down to how your State’s appellate courts interpret the issue of contributory negligence as applied to pedestrian accidents.
This is where getting a good pedestrian injury lawyer comes in handy. A lot of lawyers won’t consider a pedestrian accident case where the pedestrian was doing something wrong like jay-walking. In these cases, we recommend you get a second opinion, and if that lawyer turns down your case, get a third opinion.
Pedestrian accident insurance claims are complex, and you deserve to know whether you can make a claim to recover compensation. Call us for a free consultation 24/7.
Pedestrian Accident Q&A
Is accountability always on the pedestrian if they get hit on the road?
No, the pedestrian is not automatically at fault in all cases. Even if the pedestrian was in the road, the totality of the circumstances will need to be known to determine fault, accountability and what reasonable care was expected of the pedestrian.
I was changing my tire and got hit by a car, is it my fault?
Yes and no, This depends on where you were changing the tire, the conditions of the road where you stopped and many other factors.
Can I get a settlement if the police say I was at fault for the pedestrian accident?
Yes, it is still possible to get a settlement even if you are partially at fault.
Does taking reasonable care matter in who was at fault if I was hit by a car?
Yes, the police and the insurance companies will take into consideration reasonable care. This means that some common sense care is taken when you are a pedestrian as well.
Is it possible that the road I was hit on was designed badly adding to my accident taking place?
Yes, it is possible that the road design was partly to blame, but this can be hard to prove and generally takes longer in court to get to a settlement.
What should I do if I have been in a pedestrian accident?
You should contact the police and you should also seek out immediate medical care because not all injuries will be visible to the naked eye.
Who will pay for my accident as a pedestrian if a car hit me?
This can come from your own insurance company or the company of the individual(s) who are found to be at fault for the accident.
What is the average pedestrian accident settlement?
This will depend on whether you were partially or not at all at fault in the accident, but the averages range from $60,000-$100,000 per accident
I was hit in the crosswalk, is it ever my fault?
Yes, sometimes it can be your fault as well, even in a crosswalk, this will depend on the exact situation of your accident.
I got hit in a crosswalk when the sign said I could go, is it my fault?
No, it is unlikely that you will be at fault if you were in the crosswalk when it was your right to walk and a car hit you.
Should I Speak with a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
Pedestrian accidents require complex fact analysis. The information above scratches the surface of information about pedestrian accidents. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will not only know this information, but will know applicable city and county pedestrian laws, strategies for avoiding the pedestrian from being liable, and how to creatively find insurance coverage for a pedestrian accident insurance claim to ensure you get fair compensation. These are generally NOT cases that you should be winging it
What Are the Fees for a Pedestrian Accident Consultation?
Talking to a pedestrian accident lawyer to find out if your case is worth pursuing should always be free. At our office, our lawyers never charge for the initial consultation.
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Even if you are outside of Los Angeles, California, we can help you. Call us day or night for help.
You can also see our page about attorney fees for a detailed discussion of what happens if we accept your case.
Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources:
NHTSA (2019). 2018 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview
National Safety Counsel (2021). Pedestrian Injury Facts.
Johnson, C. D. (1997). Pedestrian fatalities on interstate highways: characteristics and countermeasures. Transportation research record, 1578(1), 23-29.
Wood, J. M., Tyrrell, R. A., & Carberry, T. P. (2005). Limitations in drivers’ ability to recognize pedestrians at night. Human factors, 47(3), 644-653.
Herms, B. F. (1972). Pedestrian crosswalk study: accidents in painted and unpainted crosswalks. Highway Research Record, 406, 1-13.
Kim, K., Brunner, I. M., & Yamashita, E. (2008). Modeling fault among accident—Involved pedestrians and motorists in Hawaii. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 40(6), 2043-2049.
Congiu, T., Sotgiu, G., Castiglia, P., Azara, A., Piana, A., Saderi, L., & Dettori, M. (2019). Built environment features and pedestrian accidents: an Italian retrospective study. Sustainability, 11(4), 1064.
Guo, H., Wang, W., Guo, W., Jiang, X., & Bubb, H. (2012). Reliability analysis of pedestrian safety crossing in urban traffic environment. Safety Science, 50(4), 968-973.
About the Author
Article Author: This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire. Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California. His law license number is 277263. He has been practicing law for 10 years. Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 dollars in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.
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