Jan 5, 2022
Pedestrian accidents occur much more commonly than you might think. Data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2017 – equating to approximately one fatality every 88 minutes. Additionally, an estimated 137,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms that year for non-fatal motor vehicle crash-related injuries.
Here in California, 893 pedestrians were killed on state roadways in 2018, accounting for a 26% increase from 2014, according to the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). That same year, more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured in the Golden State. Moreover, the OTS notes that California’s pedestrian fatality rate is nearly 25% higher than the national average.
If you’re injured in a pedestrian accident, the resulting medical bills and potential lost wages can be a significant burden. Accordingly, it’s important to know your legal rights as well as whether or not your car insurance policy applies when you’re not behind the wheel.
Below we will take a look at how uninsured (or underinsured) motorist coverage applies as an injured pedestrian (for you as well as any family members living in the same household). We’ll also review the potential advantages of hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer after suffering an injury and look at how to file a claim to recover financial compensation that ensures a full recovery.
California’s Uninsured Motorist Law (also known as California Insurance Code §11580.2) is somewhat complex and can be difficult to decipher. As a result, you may be unaware that if you’re ever injured in a pedestrian accident by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, your car insurance policy actually extends to cover said injury (provided that you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage).
In California, motorists are not required to carry uninsured/underinsured coverage as part of their car insurance policies. However, if you do purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, that aspect of your auto insurance policy actually applies whether you are injured as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. In fact, even if you were injured by an at-fault driver while attempting to cross the street at an intersection while riding your bicycle, your uninsured motorist car insurance policy would still apply.
This can be particularly helpful in instances where someone is injured by a hit-and-run driver – whether as a pedestrian or bicyclist. In such scenarios, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would extend and apply to ensuing costs such as medical bills and pain and suffering.
What might be even more surprising is that anyone named on your auto insurance policy or living in the same household as a family member may also be covered in the event of a pedestrian accident injury (provided you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage).
When a pedestrian is struck by a motorist, he or she may be able to recover financial compensation through uninsured/underinsured coverage in scenarios where:
In order to make a claim on your uninsured motorist policy, the at-fault driver’s policy must first be exhausted. Provided that the at-fault driver’s policy is not sufficient in covering all of your damages as a pedestrian, you should be able to make a claim for any extending damages via your own policy.
This is a great example of why drivers are encouraged to take out car insurance policies above the minimum amount required under California law.
According to the California DMV, the minimum liability insurance requirements for private passenger vehicles are as follows:
While these minimums may be sufficient for minor pedestrian accident injuries, they often do not fully cover more severe injuries or even fatalities. Accordingly, California drivers are strongly encouraged to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage which will help protect them in the event of a pedestrian accident involving a hit-and-run (or when the at-fault driver’s policy is insufficient).
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), approximately 16.6% of California motorists were uninsured as of 2019. Accordingly, California ranks among the Top 10 states with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers.
Given the large percentage of uninsured motorists in California (without even accounting for underinsured drivers), it’s clear to see why maintaining auto insurance policies with ample coverage is so important.
Car insurance companies are in the business of making money. Unfortunately, this can mean denying or undervaluing claims – even for legitimate injuries. Whether your pedestrian accident involves minor scrapes and bruises or something more serious like a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury (TBI), having a proven attorney fighting in your corner can help ensure you recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve.
In fact, a study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) confirms the following important statistics:
Before speaking with the insurance company or accepting any type of settlement offer, you may want to arrange for a free and no obligation consultation with a Dordulian Law Group (DLG) pedestrian accident lawyer. Our experienced team of attorneys have helped clients secure more than $100,000,000 while maintaining a 98% success record. When you’re in need of financial compensation to make a full recovery after a pedestrian accident, you can be confident that we’ll fight aggressively to secure all applicable damages.
The specific damages you may be entitled to after a pedestrian accident will depend on the facts of the case. Examples of some common damages that may be secured through a personal injury pedestrian accident lawsuit include:
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
If you have questions regarding your rights as an injured pedestrian or about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in California, reach out to a member of our dedicated team today at 818-322-4056. We’re available 24/7 to help ensure you receive the justice you deserve.
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