Pedestrian Accidents and Legal Responsibility
Even if the pedestrian was jaywalking, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is usually legally responsible for pedestrian crash injuries. Speed is a pivotal factor in this area. At impact speeds below 30mph, the pedestrian fatality rate is under 10 percent. At impact speeds above 50mph, the pedestrian death rate is over 90 percent. These victims normally sustain catastrophic (life-threatening) injuries even if they survive.
Responsibility is a major issue as well. Tortfeasors should accept financial responsibility for these injuries, not a health insurance company. Only a Carlsbad car accident lawyer can hold tortfeasors responsible in court. This responsibility includes paying compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases.
First Party Liability
Driver error causes over 98 percent of the vehicle collisions in California. The two largest categories of driver error are:
- Aggressive Driving: We mentioned speed above. Excessive velocity increases the risk of a wreck as well as the force in a collision. Speeding drivers have less time to react to changing circumstances and, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion, speed multiples the force in a collision. Other kinds of aggressive driving include tailgating, ignoring a traffic control device, and turning unsafely.
- Impaired Driving: Many car wrecks occur before the tortfeasor slides behind the wheel. Substance abuse is the most common form of driver impairment. Roughly half of the drivers who cause fatal crashes were under the influence of alcohol or another drug. Excessive fatigue has the same effect on the body and brain. Drowsy drivers cannot make good judgements or react quickly. Other kinds of driver impairment include a medical condition and distracted driving.
Usually, these driving errors are negligence, or a lack of care. Most car wrecks aren’t accidents. People accidentally leave the water running. They don’t accidentally smoke marijuana, drive to the store, and cause wrecks.
In case you’re wondering, defective products, usually defective tires, and extreme weather events, like sudden lightning strikes, cause most of the other car crashes in California.
Third Party Liability
Negligent drivers are legally responsible for the wrecks they cause. Sometimes, a Carlsbad personal injury lawyer holds a third party financially responsible for pedestrian injuries. Several third party liability theories are available, including respondeat superior.
Employers, like Uber and taxi companies, are financially responsible for damages if their employees are negligent during the course and scope of their employment. We discussed negligence above. So, let’s look at the other two respondeat superior elements.
Many commercial drivers are non-employees, like independent contractors, for financial purposes. But all commercial drivers, even unpaid volunteers, and employees for negligence purposes. The employer controls driving-related activities, such as where to go and who or what to carry.
California law also broadly defines scope and course of employment. Typically, any act which benefits an employer in any way is within the course and scope of employment. This category includes deadheading Uber drivers and truck drivers carrying empty trucks to warehouses.
Vicarious liability is very important in pedestrian accident claims. These victims sustain extremely severe injuries. So, most individuals don’t have enough insurance to cover them.
Reach Out to a Hard-Hitting San Diego County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Carlsbad, contact the Pursley Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.