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California Pedestrian Injury Attorneys

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peer-rated in the top 5% of all attorneys nationwide

  • We have successfully represented injured pedestrians for over 25 years and obtained well over $25 million in verdicts and settlements for these clients.
  • We’ve won hundreds of pedestrian accident cases–including success a rate of over 99%.
  • GJEL Accident Attorneys have lectured to thousands of lawyers across California with respect to the intricacies of pedestrian accident cases.
  • We’ll help you take care of your doctor and hospital bills and ensure you get proper treatment from Day One.
  • From medical expenses to wage replacement, we help you to get back on your feet.
  • We work quickly and efficiently to resolve your case, to put the money that you deserve in your pocket.
  • Other California lawyers regularly refer their serious pedestrian injury cases to us.
  • We have first-rate investigators experienced in pedestrian accident reconstruction.
  • We’ll meet with you in the hospital, at your house, or at our offices on nights, weekends, or any time of your choosing.
  • GJEL has received top honors from other lawyers have been named to the Northern California Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America.
  • Our attorneys were featured on the cover of the 2009 issue of San Francisco’s Best Lawyers magazine.

Number of Pedestrian Injury Accidents

Accidents causing injury to Bay Area pedestrians represent a small but significant percentage of the overall number of auto accidents that occur in any given year. Pedestrian accidents are increasing in the age of cell phones.

Where Pedestrian Accidents Happen

The greatest number of pedestrian accidents tend to occur in Bay Area cities with the highest population: San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. This makes intuitive sense for a number of reasons. First, a greater number of people simply means there are a greater number of people with the potential to be involved in an accident of any kind. Second, not only do these three cities have the highest population; they are also among the densest. More people tend to walk or take public transportation, rather than drive, to destinations. Additionally, all three cities contain a number of tourist attractions and host a number of conventions each year, which further skews the number of people walking rather than driving in these cities.

The professional and personal care that everyone at GJEL has extended to our family has been beyond compare.
–M. and S.
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Notable exceptions to the correlation of population and pedestrian accidents are Berkeley and Fremont. Berkeley ranks 4th in the Bay Area with 105 total accidents despite a population rank of only 16, and Fremont ranks 9th in the number of accidents despite having the 4th-highest population.

A significant reason for the surprising number of accidents in Berkeley is the presence of the University of California campus within its city limits. A college population includes a large number of pedestrians: students, faculty, and staff members alike. Berkeley is also quite urban for a city of its size, with Downtown Berkeley, North Berkeley, and Fourth Street all containing a number of attractions within walking distance of each other.

A potential reason for Fremont‘s relatively low number of accidents is its lack of density when compared to other cities of its size-more Fremont residents are inclined to drive rather than walk to their destination.

Implications

Taken together, the data suggest that the Bay Area has become a safer place to walk in the new millennium, as crosswalks have become better-marked and drivers and pedestrians both have begun to recognize the need to take extra precaution around intersections.

But keep in mind that these data are only numbers: they do not measure the severity of the injuries suffered, which tend to be much more serious for pedestrians than those suffered by drivers. This is borne out by the disproportionate percentage of fatal accidents involving pedestrians. Despite being involved in only 8% of injury accidents in 2004, pedestrians represented over 23% of those killed in fatal accidents.

Clearly, drivers are protected in accidents with other drivers by air bags, seat belts, and of course their cars. Pedestrians have none of these protections, not to mention that the cars and autos that injure them typically weigh ten to twenty times as much as they do. Unfortunately, sometimes “looking both ways before you cross” just isn’t enough.

How to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident

For Drivers

Obviously, the best way for drivers to avoid accidents with pedestrians is to stay aware of their surroundings at all times. But specific steps can be taken to reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents even further:

  • Avoid distractions such as talking on a cell phone or consulting a map while driving. Pull over to the side of the road if you need to do either of these things, particularly in dense urban areas with a high concentration of pedestrians.
  • Check your mirrors carefully and proceed slowly when backing out of driveways and parking lots. Nearly 10% of all serious pedestrian accidents nationwide occur in these kinds of situations, despite the slow rate of speed of the vehicle involved. Pay particular attention if there are children in the area.
  • Slow the speed of your vehicle when proceeding through an intersection, and always come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Be aware of any pedestrians on the sidewalk or in the intersection, and do not assume that they see you if you are making a turn or proceeding through the intersection.
  • Always drive at a speed that is safe for conditions. Wet or icy roadways mean that your car will need extra room to stop, and also increase the risk of a pedestrian slipping or falling in an intersection.
  • Be particularly alert during early morning and late evening hours when the glare of the sun may impair your ability to see pedestrians walking near the roadway. Keep your windshield clear of dirt and debris.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol was an issue in over 30% of all pedestrian accidents nationwide involving drivers aged 25-44. Use a designated driver if you plan to drink. Your judgment and reaction time may be significantly impaired after drinking alcohol.

For Pedestrians

It is surprising to note that pedestrians were found to be responsible for 43% of all pedestrian accidents in a recent nationwide study. Although California state law maintains that pedestrians have right-of-way in nearly every situation involving a motor vehicle, it is nevertheless a good idea to follow the following guidelines if you are a frequent walker:

  • Whenever possible, cross a roadway at marked intersections. Visual cues such as stop signs, flashing lights, and paint on the roadway all give cues to drivers that they need to exercise caution. Stoplights often provide ample time for pedestrians to cross in both directions. In addition, marked intersections are typically better-lit than other parts of the roadway at night.
  • Always stay on the sidewalk. If you must walk in the roadway (i.e. there is no sidewalk), remain in highly visible sections and walk against the flow of traffic. Exercise extreme caution around sharp curves and in shaded areas.
  • Be alert when crossing the street. Do not assume that all drivers see you, even if they come to a stop. Make eye contact with all drivers before crossing. And never step into the roadway if there is inadequate time for oncoming drivers to slow down.
  • Have someone escort you to your residence or another place of safety if you have been drinking. Your judgment of oncoming traffic and suitable places to cross the roadway may be significantly impaired if you have consumed alcohol.
  • Stay as visible as possible if you are walking at night by wearing light-colored clothes or reflective tape.

If you have been hit in a pedestrian accident, it is a good idea to consult an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer, even if you do not end up hiring one. While pedestrian accident cases may seem straightforward, the complexity of each situation varies, and you may be able to net a greater recovery with the help of a lawyer-particularly one who knows California law well.

GJEL’s responsiveness was excellent. I was ecstatic about the result.
–G.S-R.
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Our attorneys can help you decide what is in your best interests during a free, no-obligation consultation. We have over 30 years of experience in pedestrian accident cases, and we can help you make an informed decision about whether to pursue your case on your own or with our help. Please call us at 866-218-3776 or email lawfirm@gjel.com for a consultation.

Accidents Involving Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists

If you have been injured as a pedestrian by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may be eligible for compensation through your own insurance provider, even though you were not driving or riding in your car at the time of the accident.

Depending on the insurance policies involved, the circumstances of the accident, and the type and severity of the injuries, our attorneys may be able to help a pedestrian recover compensation even if the driver who hit him/her was uninsured or underinsured.

Accidents Involving Big-Rigs, Commercial Trucks, or Other Commercial Vehicles

Both car and truck drivers are subject to the same guidelines listed in the California Motor Vehicle Code. However, the actions (or inactions) of truck drivers are subject to more stringent regulations than those of car drivers. A number of issues are present in a truck vs. pedestrian accident that are absent in a typical car vs. pedestrian accident. These issues include:

  • The difficulty of judging the rate of approach of big-rigs and other large vehicles.
  • The difficulty of seeing pedestrians in blind spots in front of, to the right of, or behind a semi-trailer.
  • Broken or inadequate mirrors, horn equipment, and other warning devices.
  • Turning radius issues related to tractor trailers and other extended vehicles.
  • Investigating the circumstances of pedestrian accidents

GJEL’s chief investigator, Bob Dutton, is a former Oakland Police Officer. Needless to say, Bob has significant experience in evaluating the circumstances of motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents. While a police report at the time of the accident will often be the most accurate assessment of what happened, the statement of the driver involved, as well as statements from eyewitnesses to the accident are critical. Physical evidence such as markings on the roadway and the severity and location of any damage to the vehicle are also important. We often call in an accident reconstruction specialist to assist our clients.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, and you have questions about your legal rights, please call us toll-free at 866-218-3776 for an immediate, no-obligation consultation. You will also receive an immediate response by emailing us at lawfirm@gjel.com. Our pedestrian accident lawyers look forward to speaking with you.

OUR TRACK RECORD IN PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT CASES

$1.9 Million for a pedestrian vs. auto accident.

In this case, GJEL accident attorneys represented a retired two-star General and his wife, who were pedestrians struck in a San Francisco crosswalk. The defendant was an employee of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District. The defendants attempted to avoid responsibility for their employee’s actions, claiming that he was on a lunch break and thus not “on duty,” despite the fact that he was driving a truck which was the property of the District. GJEL accident lawyers successfully resolved the case for $1.9 million, which covered the plaintiffs’ resultant medical damages, future medical costs, and pain and suffering.

$730,000 for a pedestrian vs. auto accident.

GJEL accident lawyer Luke Ellis represented a pedestrian injured while crossing a breezeway at Alameda Hospital in Alameda, California. Subsequent to her injury during the accident, our client developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a condition from which she had previously suffered eight years prior to the accident. Attorney Luke Ellis aggressively pursued the insurance policies of the driver of the truck which struck our client, the driver’s employer, and Alameda Hospital. The case result of $730,000 covered our client’s past and future medical damages, wage loss, and pain and suffering.

$625,000 for the victim of a pedestrian vs. truck accident in Oakland.

GJEL accident lawyers represented a driver who had gotten out to check his truck for an oil leak in a line of stopped vehicles. The defendant driver backed his own truck into our client’s vehicle, crushing our client’s arm as it was pinned between the two vehicles. Accident attorney Luke Ellis obtained testimony from a number of eyewitnesses which placed the fault 100% on the defendant driver and discovered that the driver was without a permanent license, having been hired by the trucking company only recently. $625,000 was recovered for our client’s past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

$575,000 for a pedestrian accident in San Francisco.

Our client in this case was an elderly pedestrian who suffered a broken hip when she was knocked to the sidewalk by falling scaffolding at a construction site in San Francisco. Although the defendants denied responsibility for the scaffolding, GJEL accident attorneys used industry expert consultants and the depositions of numerous employees to show fault on the part of defendant. Our attorneys also used life care plan consultants and a video of testimony from our client’s family to confirm the severity of the injuries and the traumatic effect on her lifestyle. Zurich ultimately paid $575,000 to settle the case.

$420,000 for a pedestrian vs. bus accident.

In this case, GJEL lawyer Jim Larsen represented the adult children of a Concord, California pedestrian. He was struck by a bus while crossing a street in his hometown. Though he was not in the crosswalk, and the bus company contended it was his fault, GJEL attorneys were able to obtain a result of $420,000 for our client.
$285,000 for a pedestrian vs. auto accident.

In this case, GJEL accident attorney Jim Larsen represented a pedestrian injured in a crosswalk accident near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Because the driver of the car that struck our client was uninsured, GJEL attorneys pursued the full limits of our client’s underinsured motorist insurance policy with the California State Automobile Association. Through use of expert and eyewitness testimony, GJEL attorneys were able to show that the residual injuries to our client’s head following the accident were significant. The case resulted in a $285,000 recovery for our client.

$265,000 for an elderly pedestrian knocked down by a backing vehicle.

The accident resulted in serious injuries and severely diminished our client’s quality of life, which accident lawyer Jim Larsen showed through expert witnesses and future cost of care evaluations.

$250,000 for an accident involving a Berkeley pedestrian.

In this auto vs. pedestrian accident, our client was a 70-year-old Berkeley man who suffered a chest injury when he was struck by a car in a crosswalk. He also experienced back pain in the months following the accident. GJEL attorneys ultimately settled the case with Allstate for $250,000.

$120,000 for car vs. pedestrian accident in Berkeley.

Defendants acknowledged fault, but disputed the extent of Plaintiff’s injuries and disabilities. Plaintiff proved damages through the use of depositions of plaintiff’s treating Kaiser Physicians.


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