Bakersfield Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

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Robert May

Founding Partner

Bakersfield Pedestrian Accident Attorney

 
  • 25 + Years of Experience

    When you hire us, you’re adding unmatched experience to your team, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.

  • 99% Win Rate

    Our firm maintains an impressive 99% win rate, even while accepting difficult cases other law firms have turned away.

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    We are not afraid of trial, and insurance companies know this. If it’s in your best interest, we are always trial ready.

Bakersfield has experienced steady population growth over the past few decades, leading to increased traffic everywhere, including areas with a high pedestrian presence. While the growth certainly has its upsides for the economy, it also makes vehicle collisions with pedestrians more likely.

If a Bakersfield pedestrian accident injured you, we can help you seek compensation for your injury. An experienced Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyer from The May Firm can assist you in understanding this process and can give you the best chance of recovering the maximum amount of compensation available in your case.

We are proud of the assistance we have provided to our clients, including a recent $1.9 million wrongful death award for the family of a pedestrian accident victim.

Contact us to explore your legal options for seeking compensation after your Bakersfield pedestrian accident. You can reach us at (844) 629-3476 or online for a free case evaluation.

What Causes Bakersfield Pedestrian Accidents?

According to a study that analyzed the past decade of government traffic data, Bakersfield is the second-most deadly metro area in the nation for pedestrians. During those ten years, the Bakersfield region had 260 pedestrian deaths, for a rate of 2.9 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people.

Some of the city’s issues that make pedestrian accidents more likely include:

  • A lack of marked crosswalks, and crosswalks that are spaced at such a distance apart that they are impractical for many walkers.
  • Traffic lights that do not provide sufficient time for adults to get safely through intersections.
  • Wide traffic lanes that tend to encourage speeding, and wide turn lanes or slip lanes that enable drivers to make right-hand turns through crosswalks at a high rate of speed.
  • Government spending is focused on widening roads to keep vehicle traffic moving, rather than focusing on designing a road that is safer for all roadway users.
  • Disparities in income between racial groups lead to more people of color walking to their destinations rather than driving cars, and also leading to an 82 percent higher risk of Black Americans suffering injuries or even death because of pedestrian accidents than white, non-Hispanic Americans. For example, the local pedestrian accident rate on Union Avenue is higher than other areas, and this increase correlates with it being a lower-income area where there are a high number of pedestrians mingling with fast-moving motor vehicle traffic.

Driver behavior that is likely to lead to Bakersfield pedestrian accidents includes:

  • Speeding. Speeding reduces the time that the driver has to perceive a hazard on the roadway and brake, while also increasing the distance the vehicle needs to come to a safe stop. Likewise, traveling too fast for road conditions generally increases the severity of a collision and the injuries sustained.
  • Alcohol impairment. Alcohol impairment creates deficits in the skills a driver needs to operate their motor vehicle safely, including the ability to track a moving target, brake effectively, control speed, and maintain lane position. Around 25 percent of all fatal accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles also involved alcohol impairment.
  • Distracted driving. With the advent of the smartphone, drivers have one more significant source of distraction that can lead to death or serious injury for pedestrians. There are three types of distractions: manual distractions, which cause a driver to take their hands from the wheel; visual distractions, which draw a driver’s eyes from watching the roadway; and cognitive distractions, which cause a driver’s mind to focus on matters other than operating their vehicle safely. One reason texting while driving is such a concern is that it involves all three types of driver distractions.
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way. California drivers are required to slow when approaching an intersection and stop, if necessary to protect the safety of a pedestrian. This is the case even if the intersection is not a marked crosswalk, and regardless of whether a driver has the green light. A driver failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in any situation is likely to lead to serious accidents.
  • Left-hand turns. Left-hand turns, particularly at intersections where a driver lacks a green arrow for the right-of-way, are difficult for many drivers to maneuver, as they require the driver to judge whether they have a sufficient gap in traffic in which to complete the turn. Drivers are often so focused on ensuring this sufficient gap in traffic that they fail to check whether a pedestrian is crossing the road where they are turning. This is due, at least in part, to inattentional blindness, which is not a condition so much as it is the way the brain processes information, prioritizing the biggest hazards—such as fast-moving traffic and commercial trucks—while disregarding smaller ones, such as pedestrians crossing the road. While inattentional blindness is a real phenomenon, it does not excuse fault for an accident.

Potential Injuries In Bakersfield Pedestrian Accidents

The most common injuries when a standard passenger vehicle strikes a pedestrian involve the lower extremities, including the hips, pelvis, legs, knees, ankles, and feet. This is because the point of impact from a sedan-type vehicle is the lower body. These injuries can include broken bones, soft tissue damage, lacerations, and abrasions.

Another common area for injuries is the head, neck, and face. These injuries are often a result of secondary impact with the vehicle’s hood or windshield or with the road. Head injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, which are often life-altering or even life-ending, due to the brain’s importance to the body’s ability to survive without mechanical assistance and the brain’s limited ability to recover from damage.

Spinal cord injuries also have a serious impact on an individual’s survival and post-accident quality of life. These injuries often result in quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia), in which the individual loses sensation and function below the neck. Head injuries can also include damage to the skull, scalp, facial bones, teeth, or jaw.

Pedestrians hit in a vehicle accident also run the risk of suffering internal injuries, especially those struck by larger vehicles, such as an SUV or pickup truck, because the point of impact is higher with these vehicles. Internal injuries can involve damage to critical organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, or lungs.

A pneumothorax is a relatively common injury—usually resulting from the sharp ends of broken ribs—that collapses the lung. Internal injuries involve a risk of hemorrhage, or internal blood loss resulting from an injury and that further damages organs or even kills people.

Catastrophic Impacts of Being Injured in a Bakersfield Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian accidents can produce catastrophic injuries, which generally result in permanent disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for the sufferer to complete personal tasks unassisted or earn an income. This type of injury often involves the organs that make up the central nervous system—the brain and the spinal cord—though other catastrophic injuries include damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs and amputated limbs.

Serious injuries caused by pedestrian accidents can impact every facet of an individual’s life, including:

  • The ability to work or attend school. Traumatic brain injuries can result in an inability to control one’s behaviors or emotions, verbally communicate or understand verbal communication, move in a balanced or coordinated manner, or even have the ability to maintain the body’s involuntary responses, such as consciousness or heart rate. Spinal cord injuries can lead to a loss of mobility and severely impair an individual’s ability to breathe unassisted. Other injuries can result in mobility loss, chronic pain, and other conditions that make it difficult for the sufferer to accomplish tasks related to earning an income or obtaining an education.
  • Relationships with family and friends. The family members of a person seriously injured in a pedestrian accident may be surprised in the days or weeks following the injury that the number of concerned friends lining the hallway gets thinner and thinner. Seriously injured individuals often find that they no longer can share common interests and hobbies with the people they used to spend time with. Additionally, the individual’s family members may need to take on a caregiver role, while losing the mutual enjoyment of spending leisurely time with their injured loved one.
  • Finances. Serious pedestrian accident injuries can easily result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment, and these expenses unfortunately often accompany the individual’s inability to work and earn an income and obtain other benefits.

Seeking Compensation After a Bakersfield Pedestrian Accident

If a Bakersfield pedestrian accident injured you, you can protect your right to compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury.

Three especially critical tasks include:

  • Getting the name and contact info of the driver that hit you, and their insurance information. If your injuries were too severe for you to collect that information, a police officer responding to the accident might obtain that information and you can obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Seeking prompt medical attention for your injuries. Obtain a medical evaluation as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident, even if your injuries don’t feel serious. Adrenaline and shock can prevent you from feeling pain from your injuries for several hours, and many serious injuries present delayed symptoms. Failing to get prompt medical treatment after a pedestrian accident can result in further damage and a worse long-term condition.
  • Speaking with an experienced Bakersfield personal injury attorney. An attorney can assist you in understanding the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries. Your attorney can also help you avoid falling victim to the tactics insurance companies often deploy to avoid paying out claims—especially if the potential payout is higher, as is often the case in pedestrian accidents.

Process of Pursuing Compensation after a Bakersfield Pedestrian Accident

Claiming compensation following a Bakersfield pedestrian accident generally begins when your attorney has submitted a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurer. This package typically provides details of the accident, the amount of compensation you are demanding, and a listing of expenses and impacts to justify the amount of the demand.

When the insurer receives your demand, they may:

  • Accept liability and pay the claim as submitted
  • Deny liability and notify the claimant of the reason for the decision
  • Offer a different amount to settle the case

An insurer is unlikely to simply pay out your first demand. In such a case, your attorney will continue to try to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurer until they can reach a settlement amount that you—with your attorney’s guidance—determine is sufficient. If you cannot reach an agreement, the next step is to file a personal injury lawsuit. Negotiations, however, can continue even after you file your lawsuit, and you may reach an agreement before a court renders judgment. After that, your attorney will help collect your compensation.

Read on for the answers to some common questions about pedestrian accidents, and be sure to contact The May Firm for a free consultation about your Bakersfield pedestrian accident case so we can provide answers to the legal questions you have about your specific case.

Bakersfield Pedestrian Accidents FAQs

About 260 pedestrian accidents took place over a decade in Bakersfield. Many of these accidents occurred on Union Avenue, where lower incomes require more people to rely on walking as a mode of transportation and fast-moving traffic often fails to yield to pedestrians attempting to cross the roadway. Pedestrian accidents are often complex, but with the services of the experienced Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyers at The May Firm, you can pursue compensation with confidence. The following are questions we often receive in pedestrian accident cases.

The vast majority of personal injury cases in the U.S. resolve before they ever see the inside of the courtroom. The reason for this is that litigation is time-consuming and expensive, and it is generally in all parties’ best interests to reach a settlement agreement and avoid the arduous process of taking a case to trial. Resolving a personal injury claim without going to trial is accomplished through a settlement agreement. This may not provide the full compensation you demanded when you filed your claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. It can, however, provide enough for you—with the guidance of your attorney—to feel confident that you recovered fair compensation for your expenses and impacts.

That said, some cases do end up in court and going to trial, where the parties cannot agree to a settlement. There is a chance that your case could fall in this category, which makes it important that you hire an attorney who is confident in their ability to pursue compensation on your behalf, whether through a settlement agreement or litigation.

Bakersfield pedestrian accident claimants can seek to recover both economic and non-economic damages. This means you can seek compensation (also referred to as damages) for the tangible expenses (economic) and also the intangible impacts (non-economic) of your injury.

Damages in a Bakersfield pedestrian accident claim are likely to include:

  • Medical expenses, such as the cost of emergency treatment, ambulance transport, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, subsequent treatment and services of your physician or surgeon, prescription medication, medical supplies used to treat your injury, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and the provision of assistive devices such as a wheelchair or crutches
  • Lost wages, due to being too injured to work
  • Loss of future earning capacity, if your injury results in permanent disabilities that render you unable to earn in the same capacity as you did before your accident
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your injury prevents you from enjoying activities and events that you enjoyed before the accident
  • Loss of consortium, which accounts for a loss of physical intimacy and companionship, such as is commonly experienced after serious pedestrian accidents

Most Bakersfield pedestrian accidents stem from negligence, which is the failure to take the actions necessary to protect others from physical harm or damage to property.

  • You prove negligence in a Bakersfield pedestrian accident by establishing:
    The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. A duty of care is simply a standard of conduct a reasonable person would measure up to in a given set of circumstances to avoid causing harm to others. For example, motorists owe a duty to pedestrians to drive their vehicles safely and legally, such as by yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians as they cross the road.
  • There was a breach in the duty of care. Breach of a duty of care concerns the actions or inactions of a defendant that violated the duty of care. This may include risky or illegal driving practices, such as speeding, texting while driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol. In pedestrian accidents, it may also include failing to ensure a crosswalk is free of pedestrians before initiating a left turn or failing to yield the right-of-way at a marked or unmarked intersection.
  • The breach led to the accident, which caused your injuries and also caused you to incur the financial and other impacts for which you are seeking compensation.

Discuss all of the details of any accident with an attorney to determine the viability of a claim. However, generally speaking, you can file a claim for injuries incurred in a pedestrian accident in a Bakersfield parking lot. In California, if a negligent driver strikes a pedestrian—regardless of where the accident took place—they have the right to seek compensation from the liable party.

Yes. Bakersfield accidents involving any other roadway user and a pedestrian are pedestrian accidents and, if another’s careless or reckless actions, caused them you may recover compensation for your injuries.

In addition to pedestrian accidents involving a bicyclist, other types of Bakersfield pedestrian accidents may involve scooter riders riding on the sidewalk and colliding with pedestrians, or city buses with large side-view mirrors that extend over the sidewalk and strike a pedestrian.

Bakersfield pedestrian accident settlements not only reflect the unique nature of the accident they represent—including the severity of the victim’s injuries—but also the willingness of the at-fault party’s insurer to offer a settlement that fairly compensates the claimant. Because of all of these variables, among many others, there isn’t an average pedestrian accident settlement.

However, some things can impact the value of your case, such as:

  • How much insurance the at-fault party has. Insurance pays most pedestrian accident settlements and awards. While it is possible to file a claim against an uninsured person and even obtain a judgment in your favor, collecting that judgment will likely prove difficult, as most people cannot afford to pay for the expenses of injuries incurred in a pedestrian accident out-of-pocket.
  • The severity of your injury. The more severe your injury is, the higher the costs of treating it, the longer you will be out of work, and the more pain and suffering you will experience. These issues all result in a higher-valued case, which will often mean more intensive negotiations with an insurer to come to a fair settlement amount.
  • Your patience during settlement negotiations. It is not necessarily difficult to receive a settlement offer from an insurance company. Many claimants receive their first offered settlement before they have even had a chance to speak with an attorney. However, obtaining a settlement that fairly compensates the claimant for the expenses and impacts they have experienced from the accident and those they will likely face can take significant time. However, patience can get a fair offer.

The year-round pleasant weather and proximity to conveniences make Bakersfield a popular location for pedestrians. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous locations for pedestrians, due in large part to the traffic congestion.

While California’s laws place responsibility on the drivers of motor vehicles to approach intersections slowly and to stop if necessary to avoid an accident with a pedestrian, pedestrians do not technically always have the right-of-way.

Some situations in which a pedestrian accident can occur when the pedestrian doesn’t have the right-of-way include:

  • Intentional acts, such as attempted suicide or assault, in which a pedestrian runs into or is pushed into oncoming traffic.
  • Accidents occurring outside a marked or unmarked intersection. Individuals may attempt to cross a roadway outside the intersection, which can make their passage unpredictable for approaching motorists. Crossing a roadway where there is no intersection is commonly referred to as jaywalking and it is illegal in California, despite efforts to eliminate the penalties for the practice, which some allege unfairly targets Black and Hispanic pedestrians living in areas with greater distances between marked crosswalks.

Hit-and-run accidents can be tricky. To recover compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury from the at-fault party’s insurance company, you must be able to first identify the individual who was at fault and have the information necessary to make contact with their insurance provider.

If a pedestrian accident injured you and the at-fault party fled the scene, the police will rely on information that you or witnesses to your accident can provide to track down the driver. They may also investigate the surrounding area to determine whether surveillance footage from a business can help track down the driver.

If the police can’t locate the driver, an experienced pedestrian accident injury attorney from The May Firm can explore your other options, including additional and known sources of liability, or filing a claim with your own auto or health insurance policy. Some auto insurance policies provide coverage for their insured if they become injured in a pedestrian accident.

Bakersfield pedestrian accident claims generally must be filed in court within two years of the date on which the accident occurred. There are some exceptions to this rule, which is why you must consult an experienced Bakersfield pedestrian accident injury attorney.

The experienced Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyers at The May Firm understand that many individuals do not seek legal representation because of concerns about cost, and fail to receive the compensation they deserve after an accident.

It is to your advantage to have an attorney who can provide many legal services and an overall understanding of the claims process that would be very difficult to duplicate on your own.

Because having experienced legal counsel is so crucial to a successful outcome to your claim, we offer:

  • A no-obligation, free case evaluation. This is time for you to speak with one of our attorneys about your case, obtain guidance as to your legal options, and get answers to your case-specific questions.
  • A client-friendly contingent fee payment plan. A contingency fee arrangement means you owe nothing for your lawyer’s services unless and until they have achieved a successful outcome to your case. This allows your attorney to begin immediately working with you on your claim without requiring any upfront investment.

If a Bakersfield pedestrian accident injured you, you know how overwhelming the injury is—without worrying about handling a compensation claim. Let us help you obtain the compensation you need for your recovery. For a free case evaluation, contact us at our Bakersfield office by calling (844) 629-3476.

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