On average, pedestrian accidents leave about 5,000 people dead on our roadways each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) statistics show that drunk drivers cause nearly half of all pedestrian deaths in the United States. Pedestrian deaths in the United States account for about 15 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, it is almost always the pedestrian who suffers significant injuries, which can sometimes prove fatal. Pedestrians really have nothing protecting them and this is why they end up suffering catastrophic or fatal injuries.
When a pedestrian accident is caused by a driver’s negligence or wrongdoing, the family members or survivors of the deceased victim may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for their tremendous losses. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is filed against the defendant or defendants seeking monetary compensation for the losses caused. As opposed to a criminal manslaughter case, the defendant is found “liable” as opposed to “guilty” (in a criminal case). And instead of facing jail or prison time, the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit who is found liable, must pay compensation to the decedent’s survivors.
So, a wrongful death lawsuit is the only avenue for a deceased pedestrian’s family members to seek and obtain such monetary compensation. In many pedestrian accident cases where criminal charges are not brought forth due to lack of witnesses or evidence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be the family’s only opportunity to seek and obtain justice for the loss of their loved one.
In a wrongful death lawsuit involving a pedestrian fatality, the burden of proof is still on the plaintiffs, as with all personal injury cases. So, plaintiffs must show evidence of negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the defendant, often a driver, in a fatal pedestrian accident case. This could include showing that a defendant was under the influence, distracted, operating while fatigued or broke the rules of the road such as failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
When it comes to proving fault in a fatal pedestrian accident, it is important to collect and compile evidence including the police report, photos and eyewitness accounts from the scene. Wrongful death lawsuits in such cases may also involve defendants that a governmental agencies. This is particularly true in cases where a dangerous or defective roadway/intersection caused or contributed to the fatal accident.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed even in cases when a pedestrian was not in a crosswalk or when police don’t press criminal charges against a driver. There are numerous factors in such cases, which an experienced California pedestrian wrongful death lawyer will be able to carefully examine and assess.
It is common for the defense to blame pedestrians for such accidents. This is why families need an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer on their side who will not only fight for their rights, but also help ensure the at-fault parties are held accountable and secure maximum compensation for the losses sustained.
Timothy J. Ryan & Associates has earned a national reputation for aggressive client advocacy and real results. We are proud to offer 100% free, confidential consultations.