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Auto Accidents and Pedestrian Injuries

People in CrosswalkAutomobile collisions are sadly common and are especially dangerous for pedestrians. Whenever you cross a street, whether at a crosswalk, an intersection, or another crossing, there is a risk of being hit by a motor vehicle. When a pedestrian is injured in such an accident, the effects can be catastrophic.


Auto accidents that result in pedestrian injuries are often caused by distracted drivers. Drivers may be focused on checking for oncoming cars or may be distracted by things going on in the car, and may not check for pedestrians. Pedestrian injuries are especially frequently caused by drivers making right turns. Drivers turning right at an intersection or into a driveway or parking lot may assume that they have the right-of-way and fail to look to ensure that no pedestrians are in the way.

Driver inattention can have many causes, including:

  • Talking on the phone;
  • Texting or sending email;
  • Disruptive or distracting passengers;
  • Eating;
  • Looking away;
  • Failing to check mirrors;
  • Speeding; and
  • Driving while intoxicated.

Because pedestrians are so exposed in an auto accident, their injuries can be extremely serious. Pedestrians lack the protections a car provides, including both safety features such as seatbelts and airbags and the physical structure of an automobile’s metal frame. Pedestrians’ exposure and the drastic size disparity between a pedestrian and a car mean that a pedestrian can suffer dangerous and even life-threatening injuries in a pedestrian–auto collision. The Bay Area's rate of pedestrian fatalities in auto collisions is quite high.

Common injuries suffered by pedestrians in auto accidents include:

  • Scrapes, cuts, and lacerations;
  • Broken bones;
  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Spinal injuries;
  • Paralysis; and
  • Death.

Because injuries are often so serious, they can have long-lasting or permanent consequences for the victim.

Preventing Accidents

Sometimes, pedestrians are at fault in collisions with automobiles. Pedestrians should take measures to reduce the incidence of accidents by:

  • Crossing roads at intersections whenever possible;
  • Staying on sidewalks;
  • Not darting into the street;
  • Being alert and checking for cars when crossing roadways;
  • For pedestrians who have been drinking, having someone escort them home; and
  • Wearing light-colored clothing or reflective gear.

If the accident was partially the pedestrian’s fault, his or her recovery may be reduced under the principle of comparative fault.


If a pedestrian is injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, the victim can recover compensation for the harms he or she suffered. In California, both economic and noneconomic compensation are available. Economic covers a victim’s out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical bills, therapy and rehabilitation costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other associated costs. A victim may recover damages for both past and future costs.

Noneconomic damages are to compensate the victim for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, and other nonmonetary losses. This amount can be very high, especially when a victim’s injuries have permanent effects.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another’s negligence, please call the passionate Monterey County personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. at (408) 298-7200 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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