Everyone wants to be safe on the roadways. However, there are times when accidents happen. Crashes involving pedestrians are often much more severe than crashes involving only passenger vehicles. While we hope that you never experience striking a pedestrian with your car, we know these incidents happen on a regular basis. Today, we want to talk about what you can expect if you hit a pedestrian with your vehicle.
The statistics of California pedestrian crashes
The latest reporting data from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) shows us that there were 811 California pedestrian fatalities in 2017. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 14.2% from 2013 to 2017, a trend we hope does not continue. Fatalities are only one aspect of these crashes. In 2017, there were 15,200 people injured in pedestrian crashes across California.
Nearly every pedestrian crash results in an injury or fatality. It is not uncommon for us to see the following after a pedestrian crash:
- Traumatic brain injuries or other head injury
- Spinal cord injuries/neck and back injuries
- Internal organ damage/internal bleeding
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations or amputations
What causes California pedestrian accidents?
Some of the main causes of pedestrian crashes include:
- Inattentive drivers/distracted drivers
- Speeding and aggressive driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Inadequate signage for drivers and pedestrians
What you can expect if you strike a pedestrian
The most important thing a driver can do if they strike a pedestrian is stop and help the person hit. Call 911 and stay on the scene. Failing to stay on the scene and render aid to an injured pedestrian will likely result in criminal charges. Hit-and-run incidents are serious. If you strike a pedestrian and flee the scene for any reason, law enforcement will begin searching for you immediately.
If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, you will likely face DUI charges. Striking a pedestrian will likely result in an enhanced charge that can increase the penalties associated with the DUI charges.
If a pedestrian is killed due to the crash, a driver could face vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charges. The outcome of these charges will likely depend on the driver’s negligence at the time of the crash. If a driver was impaired or operating recklessly, the penalties can be severe (prison time and fines).
Even if a driver does not face criminal charges in a pedestrian crash, they can still face civil action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Negligent drivers can face both criminal and civil penalties for pedestrian crashes.
A driver’s auto insurance will likely cover many of the expenses related to a pedestrian crash, but the policy may not cover all of them. In the event that the pedestrian suffers serious injuries (or dies), a driver could face a lawsuit for much more than the insurance coverage.
Do you need to secure an attorney?
It would be wise for a driver involved in a pedestrian crash to secure an attorney. Whether your gross negligence played a part in the crash or the incident was unintentional and an accident, you could be facing a range of criminal or civil consequences. A Long Beach car accident attorney will work to ensure you are treated fairly throughout the process.