San Diego has some of the best weather in the United States. That’s what makes it so popular with outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Among them are pedestrians who are a common sight in this Southern California city. But the picture isn’t completely rosy. These pedestrians must share the road with cars, delivery trucks, emergency vehicles, and in some cases, large commercial trucks. A routine street crossing can quickly turn disastrous and cause a serious pedestrian accident or death.
If you or a loved one were badly injured or killed in a pedestrian accident in San Diego, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm at 800-818-1818 for a free consultation right away. Below you’ll find more information on pedestrian accidents in San Diego and your rights if you’re badly injured or lose a loved one.
What Are the Most Dangerous Crosswalks for Pedestrians in San Diego?
According to the most recent data, several crosswalks claimed pedestrian lives over the last five years:
- Murray Canyon Rd and Metropolitan Dr – Two pedestrians were killed and another was critically injured at this intersection in 2019. The three victims were near a bus stop when an SUV plowed into them after losing control and driving onto the sidewalk.
- El Cajon Blvd and Kansas St – This intersection has been considered dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists for several years now. It took the tragic death of a leader of the local Ethiopian community, Abera Kebede Tura for something to be done. Mr. Tura was killed while trying to cross this intersection in 2016. His death led to pedestrian safety improvements at several of San Diego’s most dangerous intersections, including this one.
- North Harbor Dr and America’s Cup Way – This may not be a major intersection, but it claimed two lives in 2022. A speeding driver recently struck and killed a couple attempting to cross the street. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Fatal San Diego pedestrian accidents don’t appear to be concentrated in one neighborhood. Of course crosswalks near freeway entrances and exits are particularly dangerous, especially at night. Another area of concern is wide streets with several lanes of traffic. These can be particularly difficult to navigate, especially for the elderly, children and parents pushing strollers.
What Are Some Significant San Diego Pedestrian Accident Statistics?
San Diego County had 19,928 traffic accident injuries and fatalities in 2019 according to the OTS(California Office of Traffic Safety). Incredibly, this doesn’t put it near the top for this grim statistic among similarly-sized California cities. Instead, it ranks around the middle of the pack; 32nd out of 58 for cities with a comparative population. Regardless, this is a disturbingly high number of injuries and fatalities.
As for the number of pedestrians injured or killed in the same year, San Diego ranks a disturbing 20th out of 58 for similar cities with 1,196 victims. The statistics get worse when it comes to pedestrians over the age of 65. 170 of them were injured or killed. That made San Diego one of the 15 most dangerous cities for senior citizens in California out of 58 California cities.
In response to all of these pedestrian injuries and deaths San Diego has started a Vision Zero campaign. The goal is to eliminate all traffic deaths and injuries by 2025. For now, the program hasn’t had the intended effect, as traffic deaths rose to 61 in 2020 from 58 in 2015 when the campaign started. One of the main reasons for the uptick was lighter traffic being responsible for more cars speeding during the pandemic lockdowns. However, the city is working to improve infrastructure and tighten traffic enforcement laws to reduce the number of traffic accident victims overall.
How Much Time Do I Have to Sue for My San Diego Pedestrian Accident?
The time limit for filing a personal injury claim is called the statute of limitations. You generally have two years from the date of your accident to file your pedestrian accident injury claim. If a government entity was involved, you only have six months. Any municipal, state of federal vehicle would be considered a government entity.
The statute of limitations is different for children under the age of 18. For them, the deadline for filing a pedestrian accident claim is two years after their 18th birthday. Also, because they’re minors, children can’t file lawsuits themselves. Their parents or legal guardians must file one for them.
These are pretty long time limits, especially if the victim is a child. Nonetheless, it’s important you call an experienced San Diego pedestrian accident attorney right away. Waiting can really hurt your case. There are several reasons for this:
- Vital evidence will inevitably be lost. At The Dominguez Firm, we have our own team of in-house investigators ready to help. If you wait weeks or worse, months to call us, any evidence from the accident scene will surely be lost.
- Defense attorneys will question the seriousness of your injuries. They’ll argue that if you were seriously injured, you wouldn’t have waited to file a lawsuit. If you wait a particularly long period of time to take legal action, they’ll likely try to prove your injuries weren’t due to your pedestrian accident at all.
- You could lose contact with any witnesses to your pedestrian accident. Witnesses are an important factor in presenting your case in the best light possible. If you wait too long, you could lose touch with them. People change their contact information all the time. If you’re not a friend or family member, they likely won’t update you.
- If you wait, your witnesses won’t have as clear a recollection of your accident. Your own memory of it won’t be as fresh either. Defense attorneys will also try to use this against you and your witnesses.
Pedestrian accidents usually cause major and even catastrophic injuries. You’ll want every cent of the compensation you’re legally entitled to in order to help you with your recuperation. By waiting, you could potentially forfeit thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars when you need it most.
What Are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in San Diego?
Both pedestrians and drivers must use reasonable care when navigating San Diego’s streets. Of course, given the obvious size advantage vehicles have over pedestrian, drivers are held to a higher standard of care. They must always watch out for pedestrians. A classic example is if a pedestrian is still crossing the street when the light turns red. The drivers must wait for that person to make it safely across, even though they have the right of way.
In most cases, the pedestrian is not at fault, the driver is. Most pedestrian accidents happen for the following reasons:
Distracted driving – The popularity of smart phones has a lot to do with the increase in pedestrian accidents over the last few years. It’s common to see both pedestrians and drivers looking at their cellphones, not the road. Distracted driving has become a very large problem in San Diego and across the U.S. To try and fight it, the city has assigned extra officers to be on the lookout and fine drivers who are on their phones without the use of hands-free technology.
Not following traffic regulations – Whether due to a lack of knowledge, impatience or whatever else, drivers are increasingly ignoring the rules of the road, sometimes with devastating consequences. Zooming through crosswalks, not looking to make sure there are no pedestrians before turning right, and running stop signs are all illegal and incredibly dangerous.
DUI – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol greatly impairs a driver’s ability to react quickly. They may drive erratically, fall asleep, or fail to see properly, especially at night. They not only put pedestrians at risk, they also put other drivers in danger.
Speeding – Going over the speed limit, especially on city streets is extremely dangerous. Drivers can cause devastating accidents when they speed up to make a light or pass another car. There’s no time to stop and many victims are killed or left with catastrophic injuries.
What Are the Most Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
Clearly, if a car or other vehicle hits a pedestrian, the pedestrians always loses. In most cases, the pedestrian will suffer serious and catastrophic injuries, especially if the driver was speeding. Among the most common injuries are:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Crush injuries
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Nerve damage
- Muscle sprains
- Road rash
- Psychological trauma
One particularly recent phenomenon in San Diego and throughout the U.S. has been the sharp increase in the number of head injuries suffered by pedestrians in accidents with SUVs. Sports utility vehicles are now the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. With more of them on the road, the number of pedestrians injured or killed in accidents by SUVs continues to rise at an alarming rate. Their larger blind spots and higher profiles are two of the reasons why.
Most of the injuries listed here are major and in some cases, permanent. Even a so-called minor injury, such as road rash can cause serious infections and months of painful treatments. The mental impact of being hit by a vehicle can also be overwhelming. By taking action against the person responsible, you can ensure you receive all of the medical and psychological care you need to recover.
What Compensation Could I Be Entitled to For My San Diego Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
When you file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who hit you, it’s filed in San Diego civil court, not criminal court. The objective is to receive financial compensation, legally known as damages for your injuries. Depending on the facts of your accident, the defendant may also face criminal charges. That’s a separate case which the state of California, would file against them, not you. Also, the result of any criminal case would have no bearing on the outcome of your case.
You would be entitled to two kinds of damages, economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate you for the expenses you’ve had to take on because of your accident. Most of these expenses are medical costs. Economic damages include the following:
- All medical expenses such as
- Ambulance fees
- Medical treatments
- Consultations with medical specialists
- All surgeries due to your pedestrian accident injuries
- Physical therapy
- Mental health counseling
- In-home modifications
- Lost past and future income
Non-economic damages should compensate you for your emotional losses due to your pedestrian accident. Some common non-economic damages are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (companionship)
Even though we can’t add up the emotional losses you’ve endured due to your pedestrian accident injuries, they still make up the largest part of most settlements or verdicts.
What Can Pedestrians Do to Stay Safe?
Given San Diego’s year-round great weather, it’s no wonder residents and visitors enjoy walking or jogging through its many beautiful areas. While we can’t control what others do, we can take certain precautions to stay safe.
- Stay alert and off your phone, especially when crossing a street – Distracted driving is a problem, but so is distracted walking. Don’t text or do anything that will cause you to look down at your phone instead of the road while walking. It only takes a split second for a car to cross your path and hit you, often with devastating consequences.
- Wear bright or reflective colors at night – Don’t wear dark colors at night. It’s more common for drivers to be tired or impaired once the sun goes down. That already puts you in greater danger. By wearing dark clothes, you make it even harder for them to see you.
- Don’t drink and walk – If you’re impaired, have someone help you get home. Don’t attempt to walk around unattended. Just as you wouldn’t drive while under the influence, don’t walk while impaired either. Pedestrians who are impaired have slower reflexes, can have vertigo and are more likely to lose their balance and fall. In a busy intersection, any of these can be fatal.
- Don’t jaywalk – Don’t put yourself in danger by jaywalking instead of crossing at a light or crosswalk just to save a few minutes. This is especially true at night when visibility is worse. Also, drivers aren’t expecting a pedestrian to cross in front of them in unmarked areas, so they may not stop in time.
- Make eye contact with drivers – Make sure drivers are aware of your presence. Don’t assume they know you’re waiting to cross if they haven’t looked your way. This is especially true if the motorist is trying to turn right.
These safety tips aren’t just useful around drivers. You should observe them around other pedestrians, motorcycle riders, cyclists, and e-scooter riders too. You might think only cars can cause injuries, but that isn’t true. Colliding with an e-scooter going 15 miles per hour can also cause significant injuries. And for the elderly, just trying to avoid a collision with any of the examples above can cause a life-threatening slip and fall injury.
I Was Jaywalking, Can I Still Sue the Driver That Hit Me?
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to sue the driver that hit you, even if you were jaywalking. While generally drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians, that doesn’t mean pedestrians don’t have to follow certain rules too. One of the most important is to cross in designated areas and not jaywalk.
Let’s look at one example; a pedestrian jaywalks across the street away from a crosswalk or street light and is hit by a car. If the driver of the car didn’t see the pedestrian because, let’s say, it was nighttime and the pedestrian was jaywalking and texting, the driver would probably not be responsible for any injuries. But, if the driver was impaired, texting, or speeding, they would share the blame for the accident.
Also, California is a comparative negligence state. That means you can share responsibility for an accident and still sue for injuries. For the example above, if the pedestrian was jaywalking, but the driver hit them because they were texting, then the pedestrian would have a claim. Nonetheless, because the pedestrian shares part of the blame for their accident, they’re final settlement or verdict will be reduced.
The court will decide the percentage of blame for each party. That percentage will be subtracted from the final verdict or settlement amount. If the injured pedestrian is found to be 50% at fault for their accident and are awarded a $2 million settlement, they would receive $1 million. $2 million – 50% = $1 million.
If you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, you should speak to an experienced San Diego pedestrian accident attorney at The Dominguez Firm right away for a free case evaluation. Don’t let the doubt stop you from calling us. There is no charge, so there’s no reasons to hesitate.
I Was Hit By a Bicyclist While Walking in San Diego, Can I Sue Them for My Injuries?
If a bicycle or e-bike rider hits you while you’re walking in San Diego County you generally have the right to sue for your injuries. Bike riders are subject to the same rules and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. This is true for e-scooter riders too, by the way.
Keep in mind, every city in the county has its own regulations regarding bicycles. For example, bicyclists can ride on sidewalks in most areas unless there are designated bike lanes, such as in Solana Beach. In Del Mar you can ride your bike everywhere but in parks. And in Carlsbad, El Cajon, Vista, and Poway, riding a bike on the sidewalk is prohibited at all times.
So, if you were hit by a bike while walking on the sidewalk in Carlsbad, depending on the facts, you would generally have the right to sue for your injuries. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck in most other cities. For example, if you were walking in the city of San Diego and a bicyclist hit you in a crosswalk, you could probably sue for your injuries as well. Whatever the facts of your pedestrian accident, your best option is to call the pedestrian accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm right away for a free consultation.
I Lost a Loved One in a San Diego Pedestrian Accident. Can The Dominguez Firm Help Me?
If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident in San Diego, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible if you’re their legal next of kin. Those who have the right to sue, in order are:
- Registered domestic partner
If the deceased didn’t have any of the above surviving family members, California provides a legal line of succession.
Several factors go into determining the final compensation for the next of kin of a person killed in a San Diego pedestrian accident:
- The life expectancy of the deceased when they were killed
- The life expectancy of the surviving family member when their loved one was killed
- The health of the deceased at the time of their death
- The occupation of the deceased at the time of their death
For instance, if the person who was killed left behind an infant, their child needs to be compensated for the loss of their parent. They face a lifetime without the love, guidance and financial support of their deceased parent. Their compensation will be higher than for a person who is survived solely by their elderly parents. Of course the parents deserve compensation for their very painful loss, but because of the age of the parents, they will likely receive a lower amount.
In either example, the next of kin are often entitled to damages for:
- Burial expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Any medical expenses the deceased had due to their injuries
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of moral support
- Loss of financial support
Wrongful death claims for San Diego pedestrian accident deaths can be complex. Something as seemingly simple as figuring out the legal next of kin can be difficult. Your best option is to consult with an attorney with experience handling wrongful death cases.
How Does The Dominguez Firm Get Paid?
You can afford to hire The Dominguez Firm because we work on a contingency basis. That means we get paid from a pre-determined percentage of your final San Diego pedestrian accident settlement or verdict. That percentage is fixed, so it won’t go up depending on your compensation. You don’t have to deal with any of the following upfront costs either:
- Legal fees
- Retainer fees
- Hidden expenses
We know this is a difficult time for you and your family financially. But you don’t need to take on the insurance companies and their attorneys by yourself. When J.J. Dominguez started his namesake firm over 30 years ago, his aim was to provide quality legal representation for anyone that needed it. That objective has helped thousands of injured clients obtain the maximum compensation they’re entitled to. We will fight for your rights too.
We’re often asked what happens if we can’t secure any compensation for you. Although this rarely happens, if it does, you owe us nothing. In other words: if there is no recovery, there is no fee!
Call the San Diego Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm Today
It truly costs you nothing to contact The Dominguez Firm for a case evaluation. We offer free consultations at 800-818-1818. When you hire us to represent you for your San Diego pedestrian accident you’re hiring a full-service law firm with its own team of nationally-recognized litigation attorneys, not a referral service.
The Dominguez Firm has the knowledge and resources to fight for every cent you’re legally entitled to for your injuries and defense attorneys know it. If the insurance company won’t make a fair offer for your San Diego pedestrian accident injuries, we’re not afraid to go to trial if needed. Not all law firms can do this. This gives you, our client the kind of leverage other firms and attorneys can’t offer. Of course, we’ll keep you informed during every step of your personal injury claim and won’t make any decisions without consulting with you first. Put our award-winning lawyers and stellar customer service to work for you. We can travel to your San Diego home or hospital at a moment’s notice if needed. Don’t wait, call us today!