Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
- Georgia Cunradi
- D. Franklin Welch
- J. Weber
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Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney
When pedestrians are injured by automobiles, their injuries are usually extreme. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by someone’s carelessness or negligence, you deserve justice.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been seriously hurt in a pedestrian accident. You may be in a lot of pain. You’ve most likely missed work and will be missing more, creating money problems. You’re also probably worried about finding the best person to help you with a pedestrian accident claim.
We are here to help. Timothy J. Ryan & Associates offers free legal consultations. Call our Orange County pedestrian accident attorney today.
Don’t worry that you’ll need money upfront to get answers. Simply give us a call as soon as you can and schedule a free legal consultation.
The information on this page will give you an overview of your pedestrian accident claim. First, we’ll show you the many ways you can unwittingly damage your claim. Next, we’ll share a client story to give you answers to additional questions you may have. Please read to read to the end to get as much as you can from this information.
Reasons Why Pedestrian Accidents Happen
A driver can be at fault for a pedestrian accident for the following reasons:
One of the main reasons drivers can be at fault for a pedestrian accident is distracted driving. Distracted drivers can be on their phones texting, using the vehicle’s GPS, talking, eating, grooming, and more. This takes the driver’s eyes off the road and can make them more likely to hit an unsuspecting pedestrian. It is important for the driver to put the phone down and stay focused on the road and on the task of driving. Drivers must be engaged with their surrounding environment to prevent causing harm to pedestrians on the road with them.
Speeding is another reason why drivers can cause serious pedestrian accidents. Drivers need to travel at a safe speed and slow down further in areas where frequented by pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way when it is their turn to go, and in general, they are given priority even if a car is trying to make a right turn. Drivers who are speeding may be unable to slow down in time because they are going too fast. A car driving at 55 mph requires 302 feet to stop, and the driver’s reaction time at high speeds will be slower. Speeding can also cause more damage because the impact of the collision will be much higher. A pedestrian hit by a speeding car is more likely to have devastating injuries.
If a driver is drunk, it lowers their ability to operate a vehicle without causing an accident. Drunk driving is illegal in all states, and a driver is considered to be drunk if their blood alcohol content is above 0.08%. A drunk driver may also drive in areas not meant for vehicular traffic, which puts pedestrians at risk.
How Can A Pedestrian Be At Fault?
In most scenarios, the pedestrian won’t be at fault for a car accident, but in some circumstances, they may be held responsible. Here are some situations where that may be the case:
The Pedestrian Was Jaywalking
When the lights are green, and traffic is moving, pedestrians shouldn’t be attempting to cross the road. This is especially the case if there are crosswalks available and traffic signs indicating when they are allowed to cross. If the pedestrian attempts to cross when they do not have the right of way, they may be held partially or fully responsible for the ensuing accident.
The Pedestrian Was Obstructing Traffic
If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians should try to avoid oncoming traffic and stay as far from the middle of the road as possible. If pedestrians are obstructing traffic, then an accident could be their fault.
The Pedestrian Didn’t Use The Crosswalk
In circumstances when there are crosswalks, pedestrians should always use them. Designated crosswalks keep pedestrians safe and also help drivers know where pedestrians will cross the road. When a pedestrian doesn’t use the crosswalk, it makes it more difficult for drivers to avoid running into them. If a pedestrian is hit by a car in an area where there are crosswalks available, they may be held responsible for their damages.
What Happens If I’m Partially At Fault?
If you are partially at fault, you can still receive a percentage of the damages. For example, if you were not in a crosswalk, but a car hit you while the driver was running a red light, then you might be 10% at fault and the driver 90% at fault. In that case, you would receive 90% of the compensation amount.
Common Pedestrian Accident Claim Mistakes
It’s unfortunate, but there are many ways you can damage the value of your pedestrian accident claim without realizing it. Check out the common mistakes people make below to help you maintain the value of your claim.
Refusing to See a Doctor
When car meets human, it seems unrealistic that a person could believe they’ve escaped unscathed, but it happens. Take, for instance, an accident that throws a person into the air and lands them in a bush on the side of the road. They may get up again without feeling a tremendous amount of pain, and seeing no injuries other than scratches, mistakenly assume they’re fine.
Remember that when people are involved in traumatic events, the body’s fight or flight response usually kicks in. The result is a surge of adrenaline that can make you feel stronger and more energized for hours after the accident. It may also hamper your body’s ability to register pain.
If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, get to the doctor to check for internal injuries. Not doing so can threaten your health. It can also jeopardize a personal injury claim.
Without the official dated proof of injury that a medical exam provides, the insurance company can challenge whether you were all that badly hurt. If you were, they may argue, you would have gone to the emergency room.
If you go to the doctor after a few days or weeks, the insurance company can suggest that your injuries may have happened at a later date and are unrelated to the accident.
Don’t give the insurance company the ability to lower the value of your claim. Get checked by a doctor as soon as possible.
Not Adhering to Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
When you leave the hospital after an accident, you will receive instructions on how you can help in your healing process. You may be asked to take medication to completion, for example. You might be instructed to go through a series of physical therapy appointments. There are many forms a treatment plan can take. Whatever yours looks like, it’s important that you follow it.
If you forget or disregard your doctor’s treatment plan, you’ll again leave your claim vulnerable to devaluation by the insurance company. They can try to blame snags in your recovery on you, either because you didn’t follow your treatment plan or because you were discovered doing an activity that you are not yet medically cleared for.
Don’t throw your compensation into question. Help maintain the strength of your pedestrian accident claim by diligently following the treatment plan your doctor has laid out for you.
Allowing the Insurance Company to Recorded Your Statement
After being injured in a pedestrian accident, expect to receive a call from the insurance company asking you for a recorded statement. And expect them to try and use anything you tell them to devalue your claim.
Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company without your lawyer’s input is a mistake. The insurance company is not asking because they want to process your claim as thoroughly as possible. They are looking for information they can use to avoid paying you what you deserve.
You are not required to accept this call; you can decline it. In fact, this is a call best left to your Orange County pedestrian accident attorney. Your lawyer will know exactly how to handle the insurance company.
Not Hiring a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
When faced with a personal injury, it’s not uncommon for people to at least consider the idea of handling their injury claim without a lawyer. This decision is almost always made with the goal of saving money.
It’s important to know that statistically, people who file claims without the help of a qualified attorney receive many times less compensation than people with legal support. Simply put, the insurance company is not afraid of you. And they’re certainly not worried about settling to avoid a trial, because you’re not a lawyer.
If you take on the insurance company alone and fail to negotiate a fair settlement for your damages, you’ll be stuck. The insurance company knows this. All they have to do is deny your claim and delay until you give up or accept a lowball offer.
In addition, without a lawyer to help you assess your damages, you may not even realize how much compensation you’re entitled to, making it all the more likely you’ll grab the first offer they make.
Give your claim the best chance of success by hiring a qualified lawyer.
If you plan to hire a lawyer and are waiting because the statute of limitations gives you “plenty” of time, you’re putting your claim at risk.
The longer you delay hiring a lawyer to start your claim, the less evidence there will be. Evidence may get lost, accidentally or otherwise. Witnesses may change contact information or forget important details. Your claim is too important to risk by waiting to begin. Call us as soon as you can.
Hiring the Wrong Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring the wrong lawyer is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Many people assume any lawyer is as good as any other. This is not true. There are many practice areas within the law that a lawyer can specialize in. Not all of them involve personal injury, and not all of them involve courtroom experience.
You wouldn’t hire a dermatologist to diagnose a heart condition. Don’t hire your mother’s brother’s tax attorney to take on your personal injury claim. You will have the best shot at receiving full and fair compensation with a personal injury trial lawyer at your side who has successfully handled pedestrian accident cases.
Look up the record of the attorneys you are considering. Read their online reviews and client testimonials. If you don’t see the information you need about their experience with pedestrian accident claims, ask them. The right lawyer will be more than happy to share their record.
To build the strongest claim possible, you’ve got to act as your own advocate and be selective when hiring an attorney to fit the needs of your claim.
Orange County Pedestrian Accident Client Story
We’re providing the story below in hopes of answering more of your pedestrian accident claim questions. The names and details of the case have been changed to protect client privacy, but the information’s value remains. Please read to the end to learn as much as you can. When you’ve finished, give us a call to schedule your free legal consultation. We’d love to answer the specific questions you have about your claim.
On a cool morning in April not so long ago, Sam Willets got ready to leave his apartment with his dog, Rowdy, for the morning roundup. Sam was working on his MBA. He’d always planned to launch a small business after earning his degree. The dog walking gig was supposed to be just that— a temporary gig to help with tuition.
Sam was pleased, however, to discover that he was a natural entrepreneur, and he quickly grew his client base. He had half a dozen dog walkers working for him around the city, in addition to personally handling his Dog Beach clients. As he approached graduation, he set his sights on expansion into Los Angeles.
Sam had always had a knack with dogs. He’d trained his crew in the art of introducing dogs to facilitate taking out multiple clients at once. Rowdy was a big help, and played a major part in the business. The Catahoula leopard dog mix was great with other dogs and always seemed to smooth out any pack.
Sam used Rowdy to train each of his employees how to divide clients into compatible packs for walks. And the dog was smart; far smarter he was, he suspected. He wasn’t sure what Rowdy’s mix was, beyond the Catahoula, but he was pretty sure there was Aussie in there, too. The dog was intelligent and easygoing but knew how to round up his fellow walking companions and keep them in line. In short, Rowdy was a leader.
As Sam sat on the floor to put on his running shoes, he felt Rowdy’s paw swipe his shoulder and looked up to see the dog holding his leash in his mouth. Laughing, Sam clipped the leash to his best friend’s work vest and they set off to pick up four clients and head to the park.
Their first stop was Pickles the pug. The dog was a canine dynamo, whose stubby legs always managed keep up with the taller breeds in the pack. With Pickles and Rowdy leading the way, Sam was led straight to their next stop: Wallaby the Whippet. The dogs were better than his phone’s GPS.
They rounded out the pack with Briar the English foxhound and Juggernaut the basset hound and headed to Dog Beach. As they walked along their usual 1.5-mile route on the beach, Sam let his mind chew on the possibility of adding pet sitting to his company’s offerings. It could work; he was sure of it. He added a few voice recorded notes into his phone as they walked, so he wouldn’t forget the ideas that always popped into his mind on canine outings.
Ninety minutes after leaving the apartment, Sam and the dogs turned for home, pleasantly worn out. The pack waited patiently at Goldenwest St. As usual, they were approached by several dog lovers delighted by the eclectic mix, and the dogs were more than happy to soak up the attention. Again, he was asked if he offered pet sitting services and handed out a business card, saying that yes, it would be available soon.
The light changed and Rowdy led the pack west. That’s when a car ran the light and Sam was hit.
He woke in the hospital with two broken legs and signs of a traumatic brain injury. His girlfriend, Carmen was beside him.
“My dogs! Are the dogs okay?” Sam was frantic. Carmen told him they were all okay. They’d been frightened, but Rowdy managed to herd them to the other side of the street, where a bystander picked up their leashes.
“That dog is something else,” Carmen smiled. “You’re going to have to ask him for workers’ comp to pay for this.”
“How did the dogs get home?” Sam asked, still disoriented.
“You have my number on Rowdy’s work vest for emergencies, remember? The paramedics called me and I used the client list to bring them back to their homes.”
“Huh,” Sam said, trying to remember the vest. He couldn’t. He recognized Carmen and he knew about his dog and what he was doing at Dog Beach, but there were a lot of “blanks.”
“The doctor said you’ll probably have gaps in your memory for a few days,” Carmen said. “They’re watching to make sure the swelling goes down before you can go home. They won’t rule out moving you on to a rehab facility first until they confirm that your brain swelling is down and you’re regaining all of your motor functions, memory, everything.”
Sam was silent, staring at Carmen. He remembered now that she was a medical resident. How had they met?
“What?” She asked, suddenly tucking her hair behind her ear. He remembered she did that when she was feeling shy.
“You’re gorgeous,” Sam said in wonder. “Remind me why we’re not engaged?”
Now she turned crimson. “Actually, you never asked,” she replied.
“Huh,” Sam said again. Have to fix that, the thought.
And so it went for the next ten days. Sam showed signs of improvement with his head injury; the swelling had subsided, and he had his motor functions.
His memory would take longer to heal, he was told, but he would be able to do occupational therapy appointments as an outpatient. Eleven days after the accident, Carmen brought him to her loft to finish his recovery. He was delighted to find Rowdy there waiting for him.
Carmen managed to fold Sam’s Dog Beach route into her schedule while he recovered so he could keep his local clients. He was so grateful, he deputized her “Vice President of Operations,” to which she laughed, kissed his nose and said, “Whatever.”
During his first week home from the hospital, Sam noticed that Rowdy was uncharacteristically clingy and anxious. As a founding partner of his company, Sam became concerned not only for his best friend’s wellbeing, but for Rowdy’s ability to continue assisting with pack assimilation. The dog was reluctant to leave Sam’s side, and Carmen admitted that Rowdy was growing protective of her around other dogs. He’d even snapped at Pickles; thankfully, he hadn’t actually made contact and the affable pug didn’t carry a grudge.
Before the week was up, Carmen came home to find Sam frustrated, looking at legal websites. “Between the gaps in my memory and the change in Rowdy, I’m starting to worry about the future of my business,” Sam said, growing anxious himself. “I know you’re willing to help, and I really appreciate it, but I’m only willing to screw up your schedule so much.
“I need to get some answers about filing an injury claim. Until my legs heal, I can’t know for sure how well I’ll be able to keep up with my pack. I may have to give up being team leader,” Sam said, swallowing hard. The idea of running the company from an office while someone else got to run his pack was almost inconceivable to him. Worse yet, he feared his ability to continue to run the business would be curtailed. Would he make a full cognitive recovery?
We met Sam and Carmen the next day. Sam was still in a wheelchair and told us he likely would be for several more weeks.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Sam’s first question was about our fee.
“Before we get too far, I need to know how much you charge. I’m trying to keep things going with the business while I heal, but everything is up in the air right now.”
“That’s a perfectly reasonable question, Sam. And the answer is, there is no upfront charge. Our firm works on a contingency fee basis. We’ll cover all the costs of your case, including investigation and administration. We’ll also cover litigation expenses, should it come to that. In the end, we only get paid when we bring a successful resolution to your accident claim.”
“Wow,” said Sam, “You must be pretty good at what you do, if you’re able to work that way.”
“We have a long record of success in personal injury claims, including pedestrian accident claims, both in and out of the courtroom.”
How much is my claim worth?
“That’s good to hear. How much do you think my claim is worth? I mean, that guy could have killed my dogs,” said Sam, clearly upset.
“And he could have killed you, Sam, with her texting,” Carmen said, squeezing his hand.
Our lawyer explained that it’s not possible to accurately estimate the value of a claim at the very beginning. “We need information before we can tell you the value of your claim, Sam.
“We’ll start with a thorough accident investigation, collecting evidence and speaking to witnesses. We can get that started right away, but we’ll also need to know your damages to tell you the value of your claim. That part of the equation is going to come from you.
“We’ll need you to reach what is called ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This is the point at which your doctors declare you back to a ‘normal’ level of health. If your old ‘normal’ is no longer attainable, then maximum medical improvement will be when you reach a ‘new normal.’
“So, your main focus right now, Sam, has to be your recovery,” said the lawyer. “You’ve got to take all your energy, including your frustration and worry, and channel it into healing. Get as much rest as you can. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan, and by all means do not try to take on too much, too soon.
“Your recovery is going to be a lesson in patience, but you can do it. And from the looks of it, you’ve got a great support system in Carmen. We’ll take care of the rest. When you reach maximum medical recovery, we’ll know what our damages are and what your claim is worth.
“This is what it takes to give you an accurate estimate of your claim’s value, Sam, and you need to be suspicious of any attorney who just tosses a number at you out of thin air,” our lawyer cautioned.
Sam nodded, thoughtfully. “That makes sense. Thanks for the honest answer.”
How long will my claim take?
The room was silent as Sam sat quietly, looking at the wall behind the lawyer’s desk. He had another question, but he’d lost the thread. The harder he tried to recall what he’d wanted to ask, the more stressed he became.
Carmen sensed his struggle and jumped in. “Can you give us an idea of how long Sam’s claim may take? I mean, if you need him to reach maximum medical improvement, it sounds like this is going to take some time. Both of his legs were badly broken. He’s going to be in this chair for another month, at least.”
“That’s a fair question, Carmen,” our lawyer responded. “The answer is that your case timeline, Sam, will depend on two things. The first is how long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement. Reaching it will mean you’re done with surgeries and we have a clear idea of any future care your accident injuries are likely to require.
“When you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your economic and non-economic damages. We’ll send a demand letter to the insurance company, and from that point on, your case timeline is going to depend on how they respond.
“If the insurance company is willing to agree to compensation for your damages, your claim can be wrapped up quickly. If they fight us, we’ll take them in front of a jury.
“Don’t worry if it comes to a trial, though, Sam. As I mentioned, our firm has won many pedestrian accident claims in the courtroom; the insurance company is bound to be aware of our reputation.
“In fact, it’s not uncommon for a stubborn insurance company to reconsider refusing to settle when they realize who they’ll be up against in court. This may play a role in your specific case. Plus, juries love dogs,” said the lawyer, quickly adding, “and I’m sure they’ll like you, too,” triggering laughter all around.
“It’s okay, I love my dogs, too,” Sam said, smiling.
“Either way, we’ll be ready for whatever the insurance company throws at us. That’s why no matter whom you hire to handle your claim, Sam, we recommend you choose a personal injury trial attorney with a history of winning pedestrian accident claims.”
Sam was satisfied with the answers he received in his free consultation. Sam retained our firm, and today we are happy to say we got Sam eight times more than the insurance company’s initial offer.
Call Our Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
We hope this information has given you an overview of your pedestrian accident claim. Of course, no two cases are identical, so give us a call as soon as you’re able and schedule your free legal consultation. Don’t try to manage your pedestrian accident claim by yourself. Call and let us help.
Tim Ryan took my small personal injury case and turned it into a “win” for me. I appreciate his time, patience, and professional expertise in resolving this neighborhood dog injury issue for me. I feel safer because of Tim Ryan. Thank you!