What Happens When You Get Hit by a Car?
Getting hit by a car while walking or jogging in Los Angeles is a frightening and overwhelming experience. You may have injuries that cause severe pain, as well as numerous questions about your legal rights. Try to remain calm and know that you have legal options as an injured pedestrian in California. A Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney can review your rights in detail during a free consultation.
Who Is Liable?
California consistently leads the nation in the number of annual pedestrian-vehicle collisions. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 893 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2018. Statistics also showed that 6,363 total pedestrians were injured and killed in LA County alone in 2018.
It is important for injured pedestrians to understand California’s liability laws, as they often entitle victims to financial compensation. The main liability law that presides over pedestrian accident collisions is California’s tort-based insurance law. This law states that the person or party guilty of committing a tort that caused the accident will be financially responsible for damages through his or her insurer.
If a driver caused your crash through an act of negligence such as distracted driving, for example, that driver will have to pay for your damages through his or her insurance provider. With a no-fault law, on the other hand, you would seek compensation from your own provider, even if you were not at fault.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a defense you may encounter while trying to hold someone liable for a pedestrian accident in California. A driver may claim your comparative negligence if he or she believes you contributed to the accident, such as if you were breaking a law at the time of the collision.
If the driver succeeds in proving your comparative negligence, this could reduce your financial award. The courts in California will diminish your recovery by an amount that is equivalent to your percentage of fault. However, since California uses a pure comparative negligence law, you could be eligible for partial recovery with any degree of fault for the accident.
How To File a Pedestrian Accident Insurance Claim
If you believe a driver or another party is liable for your pedestrian accident, you or your attorney will file a claim with that party’s insurance carrier. Initiate the insurance claims process by contacting the at-fault party’s insurance company to report the accident. Then, your lawyer can help you draft and submit an insurance demand letter.
The demand letter should describe the pedestrian accident, explain why you believe the defendant is legally responsible, and list the economic and noneconomic damages you are seeking. The letter should be succinct and straightforward. It should state that you have hired an attorney and have the power to take the insurance company to trial, if necessary.
Tips for Negotiating With an Insurance Claims Adjuster
Once the insurance company receives your claim, it will investigate the pedestrian accident by assigning an insurance claims adjuster to the case. The claims adjuster will start the investigation by contacting you to obtain more information about the collision.
Be careful what you say to the adjuster, as he or she may use tactics to try to devalue your claim. Do not admit fault for the accident and do not agree to give the adjuster a recorded statement. Do not sign anything sent to you by the insurance company. Before you accept an initial settlement offer, consult with a lawyer. The offer may be inadequate to cover your injuries and losses.
When To Hire a Local Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident in Los Angeles, an attorney can help you understand your legal options. A lawyer can navigate California’s pedestrian accident laws on your behalf and negotiate with an insurance company for you to fight for maximum financial compensation. If a settlement is not possible, your lawyer can represent you at trial instead.