California leads the nation in pedestrian accident deaths, and Los Angeles sees a dozen or more pedestrian accidents involving a car or a truck every single day. Not all of these accidents are entirely the driver’s fault — sometimes accident victims are hit while jaywalking. Nevertheless, in many cases an injured pedestrian can recover compensation even if he was partly at fault for the accident.
Is the Accident Automatically Your Fault if You were Jaywalking?
Not automatically. Even though jaywalking is illegal in Los Angeles, California law will assign you a “rebuttable presumption” of negligence, which means that you will be found negligent unless you can show that your jaywalking did not violate your duty of care under the circumstances. Even if you are found negligent, you might still legal retain rights to compensation if the motorist who hit you was also negligent.
Comparative Negligence in California: How It Works
California applies a “pure comparative negligence” system, whereby the court will assign each party a percentage of fault for the accident and subtract the same percentage from the at-fault party’s damages.
If, for example, your damages are $100,000 and you are ruled 30 percent at fault, you will lose $30,000 and remain eligible for $70,000. You will also be liable for 30 percent of the other party’s damages, including any damage to their vehicle. Theoretically, you would be entitled to $1,000 in damages even if the accident was 99 percent your fault.
Sources of Compensation
There are four likely sources of compensation for pedestrian accidents:
- The motorist’s bodily injury liability insurance
- The motorist’s personal assets
- Your own medical insurance
- Your own uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage, if you did not waive it.
The latter two sources of compensation might be available even in the case of a hit and run accident.
Types of Compensation
California offers three main types of compensation to injured pedestrians:
- Economic damages: Easily quantifiable damages such as medical bills and lost earnings
- Non-economic damages: Damages that difficult to quantify such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.
- Punitive damages: Damages designed to punish the defendant for malicious, reckless or particularly egregious behavior (rarely awarded).
If a pedestrian is killed in an accident, California law allows certain surviving relatives to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death is a practice area that is distinct from personal injury, and damages can be substantial.
How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help
Insurance adjusters smile to themselves when facing an injured victim who decides to represent himself, because they can pray upon their experiences and force a settlement far below value. They even quietly snicker at pedestrian accident lawyers who do not normally practice in the area of personal injury or who lack a strong record of winning at trial — after all, why bother negotiating with someone who lacks the ability and results to command a big result.
Insurance companies are not snickering at The Dominguez Firm, however. It’s rather ironic — it is precisely our outstanding record of winning personal injury claims at trial that results in insurance adjusters settling most of our clients’ claims for substantial dollar figures. They won’t take advantage of you at the negotiating table either, because we know all their tricks. Let us put our expertise to work for you.
Contact Us Today So We Can Fight for You
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, call The Dominguez Firm. Even if you were jaywalking at the time, compensation is not necessarily out of the question. Our pedestrian accident lawyers work on a no compensation, no fee basis — you only pay us if you win. Contact our award-winning team of experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers 24/7 at 800-818-1818 for a free consultation.