What Happens to a Driver Who Hits a Pedestrian in California?

Pedestrian injuries and fatalities remain high throughout the country. Recent statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed 6,516 pedestrian fatalities and nearly 55,000 injuries in the last reporting year. 

These numbers signify a 3.9 percent increase in fatalities from 2019. These types of California accidents can have significant impacts on pedestrians and at-fault drivers. 

Anyone who plans, develops, designs, builds, operates, or uses California’s transportation system is responsible for road safety. There are various steps pedestrians, drivers, and governmental entities can take to provide a safe environment for pedestrians. 

Hitting someone with a car is a serious issue with significant consequences. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the accident, those at fault for a pedestrian’s injuries may be liable for damages and other penalties.

An experienced California pedestrian accident attorney can work with crash victims to determine their rights, responsibilities, and remedies after a motor vehicle accident. 

Response When You Hit Someone with Car

Hitting someone with a car can be a traumatic experience, and drivers may not know what to do after these situations. However, California law provides specific steps drivers should take if they hit someone with car.

Drivers or witnesses who see a driver hit someone with a vehicle should take the following steps:

  • Pull off the road,
  • Call 911,
  • Use emergency flares, and
  • Provide reasonable aid.

Drivers who are involved in a pedestrian collision should take the following steps after an accident:

  • Move their vehicle,
  • Pull over,
  • Call 911,
  • Try to find the victim, and
  • Report the collision.

Taking these steps can decrease additional injuries and potentially prevent fatalities. Not only that, but failing to take these steps can result in you getting a ticket or being charged with a hit-and-run accident. 

Hitting a Pedestrian in California

Hitting a pedestrian in California can carry significant criminal and civil penalties for the at-fault driver. Pedestrian accident victims might worry about the impact of a personal injury claim on an at-fault driver.

The consequences and impact of a pedestrian accident on a driver depend upon the incident’s facts and circumstances. 

The reality is that these accidents can have a high socio-economic cost on the victim and the wider society. Thus, it is important that pedestrians seek compensation from the at-fault party. 

In most cases, the responsible driver’s insurance company will pay for all of the victim’s damages. Of course, it is possible that the at-fault driver might be responsible for non-covered losses, but that situation is relatively rare.

Various factors will affect the damages a pedestrian can secure after an accident. Similarly, these factors might impact the consequences the driver may incur.

Some factors that influence a pedestrian accident lawsuit in California include the following:

  • The severity of the pedestrian’s injuries;
  • The extent of medical treatment the pedestrian required;
  • The impact of the accident on the pedestrian’s livelihood;
  • The driver’s negligence; and
  • Whether the pedestrian was contributorily negligent. 

These factors influence how much compensation a crash victim can recover after an accident. Of course, every case is unique, and damages awards vary significantly among cases. 

Damages when a Driver Hit a Pedestrian

What are the damages when a driver hit a pedestrian? Under California’s personal injury laws, pedestrian accident victims can file a lawsuit against the person or entity that caused the accident and damages.

Of course, in the vast majority of cases, it’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company that foots the bill. Pedestrians who are injured in a car accident are entitled to recover for their economic and non-economic damages, including the following:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Lost wages and benefits, and
  • Pain and suffering.

However, the pedestrian or their loved one must be able to establish the elements of a negligence claim by proving the following:

  • The driver owed the victim a duty of care;
  • The driver breached the duty of care by not operating the vehicle in a reasonable manner; and
  • The driver’s conduct was a primary factor in causing the pedestrian’s damages. 

Some examples of driver negligence in pedestrian accident cases include the following:

  • Distracted driving;
  • Driving under the influence or while impaired by drugs or alcohol;
  • Failing to stop, yield, or move over; and
  • Speeding. 

According to pedestrian accident data, various elements can influence the likelihood and severity of a pedestrian accident. Some factors include the following:

  • Environmental characteristics, such as land use, pedestrian location, time of day, and season;
  • Pedestrian demographics, such as their age and gender;
  • Vehicle type and impact point; and
  • Alcohol use. 

California drivers and pedestrians should take steps to reduce the likelihood of an accident.

Drivers should look for pedestrians everywhere because they may not be walking where they should or might be hard to see.

Further, drivers should always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. Staying focused and slowing down in areas where children are likely to be present can also reduce pedestrian accidents. Taking these steps protects all California road users. 

Were You Injured in a Car Accident but Don’t Want to Ruin the Driver’s Life?

If you were recently involved in a motor vehicle collision and suffered injuries but don’t want to throw the other driver under the bus, you may be relieved to learn that at-fault drivers almost never bear the financial burden of a car accident lawsuit.

At Starpoint Law, we routinely pursue claims for compensation against insurance companies, not individual drivers. These insurance companies bring in millions—or billions—of dollars each year in revenue, and it’s their job to compensate accident victims.

To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers today, call 310-424-1765. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.

Calling is free, and because we take all car accident cases on a contingency basis, we won’t bill you for our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. 

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.

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