Hundreds of pedestrians suffer serious injuries from accidents with motor vehicles every year in Oakland. In some cases, pedestrians do not pay attention to changing road conditions and proceed in unsafe ways. In others, drivers do not pay attention to the pedestrians nearby or make sudden maneuvers too fast for pedestrians to react. The court considers drivers as having a higher duty of care than pedestrians when it comes to preventing accidents. Therefore, the court almost always sides with pedestrians in legal disputes with drivers who hit them. However, California’s negligence laws still allow pedestrians found partially at fault for their injuries to collect compensation through personal injury claims.
Negligence in California
California follows a comparative negligence law, meaning a plaintiff can recover compensation for damages, even if he or she was partially at fault for the injury-causing accident. In pedestrian accident cases, this may apply to pedestrians who cross the road on a “Do Not Walk” or red light. It could also apply to pedestrians making unsafe or illegal decisions, such as jaywalking or walking on the highway. The jury reviewing a pedestrian accident case will certainly take the pedestrian’s behavior at the time of the accident into account when making a determination of liability.
Oakland is a major metropolitan area of California opposite the bay from San Francisco. This means residents contend with regular heavy traffic and many pedestrians, including tourists and visitors on business. It’s essential for anyone injured while walking in the Oakland area to know their options for legal recourse, even if they believe they are partially to blame.
Damages in Pedestrian Accidents
An injured pedestrian can secure several kinds of compensation from a negligent driver:
- Medical expenses, including the pedestrian’s hospital bills, surgical fees, and any costs for necessary ongoing treatments.
- Pain and suffering. The jury hearing the case will consider testimony from expert witnesses to determine the pedestrian’s physical pain and mental suffering after an accident. Pain and suffering damages are often substantially more than the plaintiff’s medical expenses.
- Lost income. A pedestrian accident could lead to missed time from work or permanent disability. The plaintiff can secure compensation for lost earnings in that time.
- Property damage, including the costs of replacing or repairing any of the pedestrian’s personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident.
- Punitive damages. In some cases, a jury may award punitive damages if a defendant’s actions were grossly negligent, intentionally harmful, or connected to illegal activity. For example, a driver who strikes a pedestrian after running a red light while evading police would face punitive damages in a civil claim from the pedestrian as well as criminal charges from the state.
- Wrongful death. In the event a pedestrian dies due to a negligent driver, the victim’s loved ones will need to file a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim to seek compensation.
Pedestrians in Oakland can avoid becoming accident statistics by using good judgment while walking and crossing roads only where it is safe and legal to do so. The court may tend to favor pedestrians in personal injury claims against negligent drivers, but situational awareness and good decisions can help prevent injuries and lawsuits in the first place. If you were hit by a negligent driver, contact our Oakland personal injury attorneys , you may be entitled to compensation.