People walk near roads and on sidewalks for many reasons. Some people walk as their way of traveling for energy conservation purposes. Others want the exercise.
Regardless of what motivates you to go out for a walk, you are always at a minor degree of risk for a crash caused by a driver. When vehicles hit pedestrians, the results can be expensive and traumatic.
Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and even spinal cord injuries can all easily occur in a pedestrian crash with a car. Do pedestrians hit by a vehicle have any right the compensation under California law?
Pedestrians can make a claim against a driver’s insurance policy
Every registered vehicle driven on California roads should have a liability insurance policy covering it. When a driver causes property damage or bodily injury, their insurance policy pays for those costs so that they don’t have direct personal expenses.
The incident does not have to involve another motor vehicle. Striking a pedestrian can also lead to liability for a driver. Although state law does require that pedestrians use crosswalks when possible and that they yield to oncoming traffic when crossing a road, that doesn’t mean drivers can ignore the safety of pedestrians.
Anyone in a vehicle could cause fatal injury to pedestrians through neglect, and so they have a duty to exercise care whenever a pedestrian is present. If a driver hits you because they didn’t notice you crossing the street, they have failed in that duty. You can likely ask for compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages and property damage that you suffer because a driver crashed into you while you were walking.
Insurance may not be enough for injured pedestrians
California only requires $15,0000 in bodily injury coverage in an incident where a driver hurts one other person. If you need to have a surgery or if you’re out of work for several months during your recovery, that low level of insurance may not be enough to protect you.
In some situations, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit you. You could claim any losses that the insurance company won’t pay so that you don’t have any long-term financial consequences. Knowing what compensation is available after a pedestrian crash can help you decide what steps to take next.