A briefcase icon

free case review

You can rely on the experience and ability of San Francisco Injury Lawyers to guide you through the treacherous terrain of the justice system.

Please leave this field empty.

Navigating Pedestrian Accident Claims in San Francisco

Being struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian in the vibrant streets of San Francisco can be a life-altering experience. Beyond the physical trauma and emotional distress, navigating the legal complexities of seeking compensation can feel daunting.

If you have been the victim of a pedestrian accident in San Francisco, our car accident lawyers can help you win the compensation you deserve.

Presumption of Liability for Pedestrian Accidents

California takes pedestrian safety seriously, placing a higher duty of care on drivers toward pedestrians. Drivers are bound by California Vehicle Code Sections 21950 and 21955 to exercise caution and yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks, near intersections, and even in unmarked or implied crosswalks.

This means that, in most cases, the driver will be automatically presumed liable for the accident.

Exceptions to Presumption of Liability

The presumption of driver liability can be challenged in rare situations where the pedestrian engages in grossly negligent behavior that directly contributes to the accident. Examples include intentionally darting into traffic, disregarding traffic signals, or crossing outside of a crosswalk under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Comparative Fault and Shared Liability

In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident in San Francisco, understanding the concept of comparative fault and shared liability is crucial to maximizing your potential compensation. This complex aspect of California law determines how much your own actions, if any, might impact the amount you can recover from the driver who injured you.

Understanding Comparative Fault

California adheres to a pure comparative fault system, meaning both parties involved in the accident can be held responsible for a portion of the damages, in direct proportion to their percentage of fault. This differs from contributory negligence systems, where any share of fault on your part can bar you from recovery altogether.

Determining Your Percentage of Fault

A key aspect of comparative fault is the determination of your percentage of fault. Various factors play a role in this process, including:

  • Traffic Laws: Did you obey traffic signals and crosswalks? Were you jaywalking or disregarding pedestrian signs?
  • Distractions: Were you using your phone or any other device while walking?
  • Intoxication: Were you under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident?
  • Visibility: Were weather conditions or clothing choices impacting your visibility to drivers?

The court, or in some cases, a jury, will analyze all evidence presented and assign a percentage of fault to both you and the driver. This percentage will then be directly applied to reduce your potential compensation.

Scenarios of Shared Liability

Shared liability situations arise when multiple parties contribute to the accident. For example:

  • Driver and Pedestrian Fault: Imagine a driver running a red light and striking a pedestrian crossing outside a designated crosswalk. Both parties may share fault – the driver for violating traffic laws and the pedestrian for not using the crosswalk.
  • Multiple Driver Fault: In cases involving multiple vehicles, both drivers might be partially liable depending on their driving behaviors and actions leading to the accident.

In such scenarios, the court will apportion the total fault among all responsible parties, and your compensation will be adjusted accordingly.

pedestrians can be found partly at fault for their accident

Impact on Your Claim

The percentage of fault assigned to you can significantly impact the amount of compensation you receive. For example, if you are found 20% responsible for the accident and your total damages are $100,000, your final recovery will be reduced to $80,000 (100,000 * 0.8).

Building a Strong Case

Evidence gathering is crucial to building a watertight claim. Thoroughly document the accident scene, including photographs of the location, damaged vehicles, and any visible injuries. Gather witness contact information and meticulously document the date, time, and precise location of the incident.

Seeking immediate medical attention not only prioritizes your health but also establishes a clear link between the accident and your injuries.

Negotiation and Litigation:

An experienced personal injury attorney can be your guide and advocate throughout the claims process. They can:

  • Investigate the accident, gathering evidence and witness statements.
  • Analyze police reports and medical records.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to secure fair compensation.
  • Represent you in court, protecting your rights and maximizing your chances of success.

Damages Recoverable

If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to various types of damages, categorized as:

Economic Damages

  • Medical Expenses: Cover past and future medical bills related to your injuries, including ambulance fees, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost Wages: Compensate for income lost due to the accident and your recovery period.
  • Property Damage: Reimburse the cost of damaged personal belongings like clothing, glasses, or electronic devices.

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensate for physical and emotional distress caused by the accident, including physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and scarring.
  • Emotional Distress: Address the psychological impact of the accident, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases where the driver acted with malice or reckless disregard for the safety of others, you may be awarded punitive damages to deter future similar conduct.

Statute of Limitations

California law imposes a two-year statute of limitations on filing personal injury lawsuits, including pedestrian accident claims. Failure to file within this timeframe may forfeit your right to seek compensation. Consult with an attorney immediately to ensure timely action.

Call a San Francisco Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today!

By gathering evidence, seeking legal guidance from a San Francisco car accident lawyer, and understanding the intricacies of liability and damages, you can navigate the claims process effectively and begin the journey toward healing and financial recovery.

By collaborating with an experienced personal injury attorney at San Francisco Lawyers 360, you can navigate the legal complexities of your pedestrian accident claim with confidence and clarity. Contact us at 415-843-7099 for a free case review.

advocate of the people

professional, aggresive client defense