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Temecula Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

San Diego car accident lawyers

Temecula’s famous wine-growing region attracts tourists from around the world, which leads to a large number of pedestrians strolling through the city’s historic Old Town, as well as other areas throughout the city. Given the high number of pedestrians in Temecula on any given day, it’s not surprising that pedestrian accidents are, unfortunately, common in the city. If you or a loved one has been struck by a car, truck, or another vehicle while walking in Temecula, contact the experienced legal team at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to discuss your eligibility to seek compensation for your injuries.

Too Many Temecula Pedestrians Get Hit by Cars

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, pedestrian accidents, while unfortunate, are not uncommon. California’s rate of deaths in pedestrian accidents increased by 26 percent over a matter of just four years. Nearly 900 people a year die in pedestrian accidents in the state—as many as 27 in Temecula—and another 14,000 are injured.

In one decade in California, around 7,500 people died after being hit by a motor vehicle while walking or jogging on state roadways. Vehicles have struck as many as five children younger than age 15 and as many as four elders in recent single years in Temecula.

Our area of the country is not the only place with a sharp increase in this type of accident in recent years, however. National experts have also seen increases.

A Surge and Its Surprising Cause

According to an investigation by Detroit Free Press and the USA Today Network, national pedestrian accident data suggests a surprising reason for the 46 percent increase in pedestrian accident deaths in the past decade: the growing popularity of SUVs. This study uncovered information that revealed that federal regulators have known for at least the past five years that SUVs pose a significant danger to pedestrians due to the high profile front end that is found on these vehicles.

The higher profile means that the point of impact between the vehicle and the human body occurs in the head, neck, chest, and torso area—all of which are more likely to cause a catastrophic injury. With smaller sedans, the impact point would be lower on the body, in the area of the legs and hips. While this area can also result in serious injury, injuries to the legs and hips are less likely to result in death.

Other information revealed through the investigation includes:

  • The federal government proposed regulations that would require pedestrian accident rates to factor into vehicle safety ratings. However, that proposal stalled due to strong opposition from automakers. A federal report issued recently noted that pedestrians are two to three times more likely to die when being struck by an SUV or pickup truck than if they were struck by a passenger car. SUVs and trucks account for 30 percent of all pedestrian accidents, but they account for 40 percent of all pedestrian accident deaths.
  • Other dangers posed by SUVs include the fact that they are more powerful vehicles than passenger cars, and are capable of traveling at high speeds. Speed increases the severity of any accident, but particularly accidents that involve pedestrians.
  • Instead of formal regulations, these federal safety regulators released a list of suggested safety measures for the makers of SUVs. These measures, if implemented, would dramatically reduce the danger to pedestrians that this type of vehicle poses. However, the measures have largely been ignored by the auto industry.
  • The growing popularity of large, blunt-nosed vehicles has resulted in an 81 percent increase in pedestrian deaths involving the SUV class of vehicles in the past decade.
  • Pedestrians who are struck by SUVs are twice as likely to die from their injuries as those who are struck by lower profile passenger cars.
  • Pedestrian accidents are far more likely to occur in urban areas. This type of accident disproportionately affects minorities, particularly Native American and Black pedestrians. The highest rate of death among pedestrians across the country involves males who are jaywalking or are alcohol-impaired and walking on multilane urban roads during the nighttime hours when they are less visible to motorists.
  • Detroit, Newark, and St. Louis—all industrial centers—have the highest rate of pedestrian accident deaths. However, the list of large cities with the most deaths is also littered with warm-weather cities where tourists and residents alike frequently spend time exercising outdoors through walking or jogging.
  • For the past several years, the popularity of SUVs in the U.S. has grown as families and individuals are drawn to the roominess and the feeling of safety that a larger SUV can provide. SUVs now account for around 60 percent of all new auto sales.

Other Causes for the Increase In Pedestrian Deaths

While SUVs are now a major culprit in pedestrian accidents, other factors contribute to the growing number of pedestrian accident deaths, including:

  • Distractions. Both drivers and pedestrians are susceptible to distractions such as texting and other cell phone use. Distractions when driving or walking are dangerous as they draw a person’s eyes and attention away from the task of scanning the roadway for potential hazards. Drivers who fail to pay attention run the risk of hitting a pedestrian who is crossing the roadway either inside or outside of the crosswalk. Other common distractions for drivers include adjusting stereo or vehicle controls, visiting with other occupants of the vehicle, eating or drinking, or external distractions such as billboards, construction zones, and other people or cars. Pedestrians must safeguard their own lives by paying attention to the traffic around them and avoiding stepping into or crossing the street when there is oncoming traffic. A pedestrian who is looking at his or her phone or is otherwise distracted by music or activity is at risk of being struck by a car.
  • Alcohol impairment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of the crashes that resulted in a pedestrian’s death involved either an alcohol-impaired driver or walker. A third of all pedestrians who have been fatally struck by a car had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. 17 percent of the motorists involved in pedestrian accidents were legally drunk at the time of the crash.

The Injuries Caused in Pedestrian Accidents

As previously stated, SUVs pose a higher risk of injuries to a pedestrian’s head or neck, which are two parts of the body that, when injured, have a limited ability to heal.

Head injuries can result in permanent brain damage and cause deficits to functions such as:

  • Memory, concentration, emotions, and impulse control
  • Balance and coordinated movement
  • The ability to speak or to understand spoken language
  • Consciousness, arousal, heart rate, and alertness

Spinal cord injuries are of particular concern as they can result in the loss of sensation and function below the area that was injured. The spinal cord extends from the base of the skull to the lower back. If a person has a spinal cord injury in the cervical (neck) area, the injury often results in paralysis in all of the body below the neck. Because the spine and the brain make up the central nervous system and control all of the body’s voluntary and involuntary responses, injuries to these areas are often catastrophic.

In addition to spinal cord and brain injuries, pedestrians frequently suffer broken bones. Which bones are broken is determined by the point of impact on the body. Larger vehicles will often cause fractures to the ribs or hips. Smaller vehicles will impact the hips or legs. It is not uncommon to experience severely shattered bones in this type of accident, which can result in amputation in some cases. Another common body part to become injured in a pedestrian accident is the bones in the arms, wrists, and hands. This is due to the body’s natural instinct to “catch” itself when falling by extending the arms.

Severe and even disfiguring lacerations are also common in pedestrians who have been hit by a car. These lacerations are often caused by contact with the vehicle’s hood or windshield, or from being thrown forcefully onto the roadway or into other objects.

The Impacts Pedestrian Accident Victims Face

There are few things in life more impactful than a spinal cord or brain injury. Because of the high likelihood of permanent disability, those who suffer injuries to these areas of the body often can no longer perform the job-related tasks that they previously performed. In fact, many brain or spinal cord-injured individuals cannot work at all.

While unemployment is high among those who have suffered serious injuries, the costs of medical treatment for those injuries is also extraordinarily high. Brain and spinal cord injuries often produce expenses in the millions of dollars to treat the initial injury as well as complications that may arise as a result of the injury.

The home life of the injured person changes dramatically as well, with family members often losing the relationship they had with the injured person and assuming the role of caretaker. Spouses of the severely injured often suffer a loss of consortium, which is physical intimacy and companionship that the couple previously shared. Those with this type of injury, and their family members, find that their relationships with friends are also permanently altered by the injury, as friends suddenly find themselves having few common interests with the injured person.

Those with serious injuries often require professional assistance at work, school, or home, and may need modifications made to their home, including widened doors, ramps, lowered countertops, roll-in showers, lifts to transport the person into and out of bed, and automatic door openers.

Safety Tips for Drivers

With proper attention and care, drivers can prevent nearly all Temecula pedestrian accidents. They can:

  • Follow the speed limit. Speed not only increases the severity of the accident, but also provides the dangerous combination of less time to perceive and respond to hazards on the roadway and more distance required to come to a safe stop after the brakes have been depressed.
  • Avoid distractions. This means putting down the phone, saving the conversation with your friend or child until after you are done driving, and being alert to your surroundings.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs as they can impair your sense of judgment, ability to concentrate, steer, and brake effectively.
  • Always be on the lookout for pedestrians when driving, particularly at night or in bad weather.
  • Remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way at California intersections. Be prepared to stop.
  • Stop at the crosswalk line so that other drivers can see pedestrians crossing as well. Never attempt to overtake another vehicle while approaching or traveling through a crosswalk.
  • Be cautious when backing up. Use your mirrors and also look over your shoulder to check for pedestrians in your blind spot.

Temecula Pedestrian Accident FAQ:

The Answers You Want

Due to its famous wine-growing region, Temecula attracts visitors from all around the world. As a result, pedestrians are everywhere, contributing to a vibrant non-driving community and local economy. Sadly, with all these individuals wandering the area, it also comes as no surprise that pedestrian accidents happen quite frequently here.

These pedestrian accidents often result in devastating injuries, expensive medical costs, and significant stress and hardship for the whole family. After years of handling these types of cases for our Temecula neighbors, Gomez Trial Attorneys knows you likely have many concerns following a pedestrian accident. Below, we have prepared answers to frequently asked questions many clients have following a pedestrian accident. As a resource for injured pedestrians in Temecula, we want to provide you with the answers necessary to ensure that you get the legal help that you need in this challenging time.

Gomez Trial Attorneys: Who We Are

Founded in 2005 by John Gomez, Gomez Trial Attorneys has represented countless injury victims in the most complex of cases. Even though we consider ourselves a boutique law firm, we have the skill, resources, and ability to obtain millions of dollars for our clients like a large corporate firm would. We have worked on some of the most high-profile cases taking on massive corporations; and with over $550 million recovered in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients, we know what it takes to get the job done.

1. How serious are pedestrian accidents in Temecula?

Everyone at some point during the day is a pedestrian. Yet, pedestrian accidents around the nation remain high. In recent years, pedestrian deaths resulted in 6,590 annual fatalities, almost a 5 percent increase since previous years, and the highest number in over 30 years.

In California, these statistics do not fare any better. In fact, California has one of the highest pedestrian death rates in the nation, almost 25 percent higher than the national average.

For example:

  • From January to June 2019 alone, there were 519 pedestrians killed in California- amounting to 55 more deaths than the same period a year ago.
  • Fourteen thousand pedestrians in California were injured in 2018 alone.
  • Between 2009 and 2018, there have been nearly 7,500 pedestrian fatalities in California.

In recent years, Temecula has seen about 25 pedestrian collisions a year, about 10 percent of which involve children younger than 15 and another 10 percent involving senior citizens older than 65.

2. Do I have a duty to avoid accidents as a Temecula pedestrian?

In California, pedestrians are required by law to obey traffic signals. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of pedestrian accidents are caused by irresponsible driving; obviously, an unprotected pedestrian lacks the relatively insulated environment of a vehicle, meaning pedestrians are at risk of severe injury even when doing everything possible to protect themselves.

While a reckless or distracted driver is always a potential threat, there are some scenarios where you may be at higher risk of encountering one:

  • Use extra caution at late night crossings. Inattentive driving may be exacerbated by the lack of light, making it even harder to notice a pedestrian when a driver’s mind isn’t on the road.
  • Rush hour traffic, popular events, or certain holidays may mean more cars on the road. This, unfortunately, increases the odds that you might encounter a dangerous, negligent motorist.

3. Does a motor vehicle driver owe a Temecula pedestrian a special duty of care?

Yes. When a motorist fails to abide by specific standards, they may be liable for a pedestrian’s injuries.

Under the California Vehicle Code:

  • A driver needs to yield to any pedestrian within an unmarked or marked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • A driver needs to use reasonable diligence and care to prevent a pedestrian accident.
  • A driver needs to use reasonable care to safeguard anyone riding their bike or walking around them.

Additionally, other examples of a driver’s negligence that can result in a pedestrian accident include:

  • A motorist driving while tired
  • A motorist exceeding the speed limit
  • A motorist running a stoplight
  • A motorist driving recklessly
  • A motorist driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A motorist operating a vehicle while distracted (i.e., texting, eating)

If you were injured in a Temecula pedestrian accident, speak with a skilled pedestrian accident attorney as quickly as possible. They can verify whether you have a viable claim and pursue legal action against any wrongful parties.

4. How quickly must I bring a claim if I was injured in a Temecula pedestrian accident?

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Temecula, you have two years from the accident’s date to bring a claim. However, this time frame also depends on certain factors, including the victim’s age and whether you are pursuing compensation from a government entity. As a result, this time may be extended or shortened. You should speak with a skilled Temecula pedestrian accident attorney as soon as you can to ensure that you have time to file your claim.

Generally, in most pedestrian accident cases, it’s unwise to wait too long to file a claim. As time passes, there is a higher likelihood of evidence getting lost, memories of the accident fading, and witnesses no longer being able to testify.

5. What do I need to do following a Temecula pedestrian accident?

The first thing you need to always do following an accident is to call 911. This will ensure that officers will come to the scene and verify whether anyone needs immediate medical treatment while also investigating the accident. Their police report will provide you with crucial information if you decide to pursue a claim.

In addition, if it is safe for you to do so, consider taking the following actions after your accident:

  • Collect evidence: Take as many pictures or videos of the accident scene as you can. Include any vehicles involved in the accident, your visible injuries, hazards or skid marks on the road, the weather conditions, and any traffic signs near the crash.
  • Driver information: Get the name, contact info, driver’s license number, and insurance information of every individual involved in the accident. However, as you are getting these details, make sure you do not make statements related to the accident. Do not apologize, and do not take the blame for anything. These statements can come back and hurt your claim later.
  • Witness information: If witnesses were present, get their name and contact information. Their statements can provide you with crucial evidence when you are trying to show the other party was at-fault for your accident.
  • Contact our Temecula pedestrian accident attorneys: After an accident, it is essential to quickly contact a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer in Temecula. They can promptly start the investigation process, giving you the best chance of gathering vital evidence to help prove your claim and collect maximum compensation.

6. If I only have minor scrapes following a Temecula pedestrian accident, do I need to see a doctor?

It’s a good idea. After a pedestrian accident, it is important to get checked out by a medical professional, even if you only have minor scrapes and bruising. These doctors will verify that you do not have any hidden injuries while also treating any visible harm you endured.

More importantly, they will document all of these injuries in their medical report, which you will need if you decide to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault party. The other side or their insurance company may claim that you sustained your injuries in a different event. This medical report can help you prove these accusations are false.

7. What should I tell the insurance company when they call following my Temecula pedestrian accident?

Following an accident, an insurance company will probably be one of the first people you hear from. Unfortunately, this is not usually for your benefit. These insurance companies will try any tactic to make you take the blame for the accident. This is great for them because, with these statements, they can end up paying you less money than you are owed or deny your claim altogether.

In these instances, it is best to let them know that you have retained an attorney and that your lawyer will be taking over all the communications. This can help ensure that the insurance company does not try to do anything that can hurt your chances of collecting the compensation you deserve.

8. What if my Temecula pedestrian accident did not involve a motor vehicle?

Not all pedestrian accidents in Temecula result from a vehicle collision. In numerous pedestrian accidents, a pedestrian gets knocked to the ground and suffers a severe injury due to another individual’s fault and not a motor vehicle.

Consider the following common pedestrian knockdown accidents:

  • Joggers or bikers on the sidewalk
  • Unleashed dogs
  • Other walkers who are distracted by their phones
  • Sidewalk skateboarders
  • Passengers that are opening their car doors
  • Crowded streets
  • City trucks or even busses that have large side mirrors that reach to the sidewalk

In these situations, the injured pedestrian will still need to show that the other person was negligent for the accident.

This requires the victim to prove the following elements:

  • The at-fault party owed the pedestrian a duty of care.
  • The at-fault party breached this duty because of their negligence.
  • The at-fault party’s actions were a substantial factor in causing the pedestrian’s damages and injuries.

Your pedestrian accident attorney can help you accomplish this.

9. Who is at fault if I tripped and fell on a broken sidewalk in Temecula?

Under California law, individuals who occupy or own property must keep their property reasonably safe. This means that if you slip, trip, and fall on an icy surface, a broken sidewalk, or another dangerous surface, the property owner can be held responsible for your injuries.

To establish premises liability, the injured pedestrian needs to show the following:

  • The at-fault party occupied, owned, or controlled the property.
  • The at-fault party was negligent in the maintenance or use of their property.
  • The pedestrian was harmed as a result.
  • The at-fault party’s negligence was a fundamental factor in causing the pedestrian’s damages.

If a pedestrian was injured on a sidewalk that is considered city property, the city may be responsible for their injuries. In situations where the government agency (town, county, or city) knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and did not do anything about it, the injured pedestrian may file a lawsuit against them.

10. How can Gomez Trial Attorneys help me following a Temecula pedestrian accident?

Pedestrian accidents tend to be complicated and stressful, and they require extensive evidence to prove fault and damages. On top of that, pedestrian victims also deal with insurance adjusters who are trying to deny their case. It is a lot for any individual to handle, let alone one that is dealing with significant injuries. If you were injured in a Temecula pedestrian accident, Gomez Trial Attorneys can fight on your behalf.

When you work with our skilled legal staff and experienced attorneys, you can count on the following:

  • Determine whom to pursue for compensation: We can start gathering existing evidence and uncovering new information as quickly as we can. This can help us determine fault for your injuries and make a case on your behalf.
  • Settlement negotiations: We can make sure the settlement you receive is fair to you. If it is not, we can negotiate to obtain an amount that takes into account your medical bills, damage to your personal property, and your overall pain and suffering. If the other side or their insurance company does not want to play fair, we can pursue justice in the courtroom.
  • Handle all the heavy lifting: You have enough going on after an accident; let us take care of all the legal matters. We can quickly get to work talking to witnesses, building a case, filing legal motions, and assembling evidence to prove fault as you focus on what matters most: Your recovery.

Your health and well-being are too important. Get the legal help that you need following a pedestrian accident in Temecula by contacting Gomez Trial Attorneys today.

Let Us Help You With Your Temecula Pedestrian Accident Case

John Gomez, Temecula Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Temecula, the experienced accident attorneys at Gomez Trial Attorneys are ready to help you understand your legal options for pursuing compensation to pay for the injuries and expenses you face. Contact us online or by calling (619) 237-3490 for a free case evaluation.

 

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