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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.
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.
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:
While SUVs are now a major culprit in pedestrian accidents, other factors contribute to the growing number of pedestrian accident deaths, including:
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:
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.
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.
With proper attention and care, drivers can prevent nearly all Temecula pedestrian accidents. They can:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Yes. When a motorist fails to abide by specific standards, they may be liable for a pedestrian’s injuries.
Under the California Vehicle Code:
Additionally, other examples of a driver’s negligence that can result in a pedestrian accident include:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
Your pedestrian accident attorney can help you accomplish this.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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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