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San Francisco Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

We handle a lot of pedestrian accident, injury cases and have become experts in these cases.  It is one of the most common types of cases we handle in our office.

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Throughout the years our personal injury law firm has represented 100s of people just like you that were hit by a car in a pedestrian crosswalk accident in the San Francisco Bay Area and needed the best San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyer they could find to help. They wanted to avoid making costly mistakes with their claim and they had questions—some had a million, some only had a few, and others admitted that they had no idea what they needed to know. Regardless which you camp you fall into, below you will find our past client’s most common questions—with answers.

We organized our pedestrian accident page this way so that you can choose how much information you want to consume and can get to the information you want as efficiently as possible. If you have a question that is not addressed here or would like to talk to us about representing you, please call us at (415) 345-4282.

 Exactly what we do for our clients in a short, animated video:

Does your law firm specialize in pedestrian accident cases?

Yes, we handle a lot of pedestrian accident, injury cases and have become experts in these cases.  It is one of the most common types of cases we handle in our office.  We have seen it all, but here are three pedestrian accident cases we recently resolved for our clients.

$175,000 settlement: our client, K.T., was crossing Market Street in a crosswalk, when a delivery truck turned right and struck her. She was jogging when she was struck.  There was a dispute about whether K.T. still had the “green walk sign” and if she was legally crossing the street at the time she was hit.  The collision caused her to suffer a broken right arm, which required surgery.  Due to her broken arm, K.T. was not able to work as a physical therapist for 3 months and incurred substantial wage loss.  

$50,000 settlement (policy limits): our client, D.A., was walking to a bus stop at night after work in Benecia when he was hit by a car while crossing at a 4-way stop sign.  There was no crosswalk at the intersection, although he was wearing a reflector vest and had a thermos with a flashing light on it.  The collision caused him to suffer a torn labrum in his hip, although it was not diagnosed for over 6 months.  Complicating matters further, D.A had a fall due to sudden cramping in his hip 7 months after the initial accident and tore his meniscus in his knee.  We attributed both the torn labrum in his hip and the torn meniscus in his knee to his pedestrian accident.  We were required to file a lawsuit, but after depositions we persuaded the insurance company for the driver to offer their policy limits.

$145,000 settlement: our client, H.F., was walking to work in Daly City when she slipped in hydraulic fluid that was left in a crosswalk after a street-sweeper crossed in front of her.  H.F. thought the liquid was water from the street-sweeper.  The fall caused her to tear her meniscus in her knee and she required surgery.  We filed a lawsuit and determined that the street-sweeper had a hydraulic leak. H.F. claimed that knee still gave her trouble in daily life, however the Defendant hired a private investigator to film her and captured her running up and down stairs and otherwise looking spry and nimble. Despite this, we still were able to secure a favorable settlement.

I was injured as a pedestrian. Do I need a San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyer?

We’re sorry to learn that you were injured as a pedestrian, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the you need to hire a San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyer.  Now, most of the calls we get from people that have been involved in pedestrians accidents have suffered serious injuries, but if you suffered only minor injuries (soft tissue) and it is clear that the other person was at fault (you were in the crosswalk and legally entitled to cross, etc.), you may be able to handle your claim with the driver’s insurance company yourself and we will tell you if you fit into that category – we never allow a client to retain us unless we can add value to the process.  Feel free to give us a call at (415) 345-4282 or submit an online inquiry for a free consultation to discuss whether you fall into this category.  If you do, we will happily give you some free advice/tips to handling your claim without a lawyer.  That said, if you suffered serious injuries or fault isn’t crystal clear, you need to hire an injury lawyer or else you will likely be costing yourself a lot of money; the California DMV agrees.

What will you be doing for me once I hire you?

When you hire us, you hand off all of your problems, work and stress associated with your accident to an experienced personal injury lawyer who has handled hundreds of cases like yours.  This allows you to focus on your recovery, while we handle everything else.  Whether you realize it or not, there are a lot of pitfalls out there for a personal injury claimant that has never dealt with a situation like this before.  Insurance companies and their adjusters have the goal of saving as much money as possible and that means denying your claim, underpaying your claim and/or attempting to get you to do and say things that permanently harm the value of your claim.  We won’t allow for any of that.

We will serve as the point of contact for anyone wanting to contact you about your accident or injuries.  We will advise you about all the tricks that insurance companies and their agents play so that your claim, when presented, has no issues associated with it that might limit it’s value.  Additionally, by hiring us you will swing the leverage of your injury claim back to your side, as the insurance company will be forced to accept the fact that you won’t be one of the claimants they can take financial advantage of—every major insurance company knows us and has dealt with us many times; we have a reputation of getting every dollar available.

Sounds great, but what does that exactly mean? Here are the specifics:

Investigate your Claim

  • Find all sources for recovery (insurance policies and deep pockets).
  • Order and review your medical records and bills.
  • Hire medical professionals to review your medical records, if neccesary.
  • Order any police/incident reports.
  • Talk with any witnesses.
  • Advance any upfront costs needed to establish your claim.

Present your Claim to the Insurance Company 

  • Handle all communication with the insurance company (they’ll stop calling you).
  • Identify any problem areas with your case and address (and remedy if possible) them early on.
  • Prepare and submit a detailed and comprehensive settlement demand package that includes legal arguments, a persuasive presentation of your claim and supporting documentation.

Maximize Your Settlement Amount 

  • Use our leverage of being able to file a lawsuit to put pressure on adjusters.
  • Use our experience in handling 100s of cases like yours to ensure you are paid top dollar.
  • Negotiate & reduce your health insurance claims, which nets you more.

Occasionally, the at-fault party’s insurance refuses to accept responsibility, wants to place an unfair amount of blame on you, or doesn’t respect the extent of your injuries and damages.  When that happens, we file a lawsuit on your behalf and utilize the court system to create pressure on them.  You see, the insurance company knows that if they don’t treat you fairly, a jury of 12 of your peers will ultimately decide what you are entitled to.  This pressure causes them to reassess their position on your case and almost always causes them to offer you a good settlement before trial.

File a Lawsuit 

  • Prepare a formal complaint.
  • Advance any upfront court costs (filing fees, service fees, etc.)
  • Track down and personally serve the defendant(s).

Litigate your Case

  • Explain and walk you through the entire process.
  • Prepare you for when your participation is needed.
  • Obtain all documents from the defendants to establish your case.
  • Advance upfront costs for hiring any needed experts.
  • Negotiate with opposing attorney to settle your case without the need for trial.
  • If necessary, present your case at trial to a jury of your peers.

If I hire you, how long will the process take?

We understand that your goal is to get your personal injury claim resolved as quickly as possible so that you can get on with your life.  However, the circumstances of your accident and injury will determine how long the process will take to achieve a settlement.  We have found that the two windows most ripe for settlement are 2 months after your medical treatment is completed (pre-litigation settlement) and 6 months after filing a lawsuit (post-litigation settlement).

Of course, every case is different and opportunities to settle your case can be frequent.  If we are required to file a complaint on your behalf because the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, we typically will do that right away.  However, you should know that California law gives you two years from the date of your accident to either settle your case or file a complaint to protect your claim (Note: if the defendant is a governmental entity, you have six months from the date of your accident to file a formal governmental claim, not two years).

2 months after medical treatment is completed

The majority of our cases are settled in this window.  Cases that settle in this window often have the following characteristics:

  • You have been diagnosed with an identifiable injury.
  • You do not have substantial permanent injury or long-lasting symptoms.
  • You do not require future medical treatment for your injuries.
  • You did not have a pre-existing injury in the same part of your body.
  • You have private health insurance (not Medi-cal, Medicare, etc.)
  • The other party accepts responsibly and you bear no fault (comparative negligence)
  • The person who injured you was not a government employee.

6 months after filing a lawsuit

Sometimes insurance companies refuse to accept responsibility or don’t respect the value of our client’s damages and we must file a lawsuit to create sufficient pressure on the other side.  A common misconception about filing a lawsuit is that it means that a trial will occur.  That’s not true, at least not with us.  We have a reputation for working up our clients’ cases in the litigation process so well that approximately 95% of all cases that require us to litigate result in a settlement for our clients without the need for trial.  The reason that our post-litigation settlements typically occur about 6 months after filing the complaint is because formal, written discovery needs to be done and depositions need to be taken of the parties (including you) and key witnesses.  These things typically take about six months to complete.

If your case is one of the few that does requires a trial, we are experienced trial attorneys and will present your case to a jury.  Personal injury jury trials in Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Napa and Sonoma) typically take place about 12–18 months after filing a lawsuit.

If I need an injury lawyer, how are you paid?

We are only paid if we win you case.  Our agreements call for a contingency fee of either 1/3rd or 40% of the settlement, award or verdict.  If we are required to litigate your case (file a lawsuit) our fee slides from 1/3rd to 40% to account for the increased financial risk we are taking on.  We never bill our clients by the hour and we spend as much time as is necessary with you and working on your case.  Additionally, we will advance all costs necessary to pursue your case and will never ask you for money to finance your own case.  If we are successful, we are entitled to be reimbursed for our out-of-pocket, advanced costs in addition to our contingency fee.  If we don’t receive a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you never owe us for the time or money we have spent pursuing your case.  This arrangement allows everyone to be able to afford the best San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyer.

What is process of hiring you to represent me?

We’re sorry to learn you were involved in a pedestrian accident and need a great San Francisco pedestrian accident lawyer.  Pedestrian accidents often leave people like you severely injured and in need of some serious legal representation.  As much as we all love the Bay Area, the fact of the matter is that the Bay Area is a dangerous place for pedestrians…  In fact, every year, San Francisco consistently ranks as BOTH one of the most walkable cities in the country and one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians.  Due to the frequency of these types of accidents and our long history of representing injured pedestrians, we have become experts in handling pedestrian personal injury cases.

For many of you, this is your first encounter with a personal injury lawyer and you are not too sure how the process works, what to do next, or what you’re entitled to.  We understand.

If you have been injured as a pedestrian you should first seek out appropriate medical treatment and then contact us by submitting an online inquiry or calling us at (415) 345-4282 for a free consultation to discuss your situation and for us to answer all of your questions.  Or if you’d prefer, we’d love to sit down with you face-to-face.  Our law office is conveniently located in the Marina District of San Francisco, away from the hustle and bustle of the Financial District.  We have free private and street parking available for your convenience.

Once we connect and discuss your situation and decide that we are a good fit for one another, there are three documents that we need you to sign: (1) Employment Agreement, (2) Letter of Representation, (3) Medical Records Release Form.  You can either come into the office and sign them in person or we can email them to you and handle it electronically if you prefer.

How much is my pedestrian accident case worth?

This is the question that many of our clients first ask when meeting with us, but it is not so easily answered.  There are too many factors that go into evaluating the worth of a case to be able to tell someone what their case is worth right off the bat.  Less reputable lawyers may immediately promise you a sky-high figure, making you feel like you just won the lottery in the hopes that you hire them, but ultimately will never deliver on their promise.  That is not our style.  Only after thoroughly investigating the facts of your case, locating all sources of recovery, and ensuring that the extent of your injuries are known, will we then tell you what we think your case is worth – and then go out and try to get more!

What are some common issues you see with pedestrian accidents?

In California, regardless if a crosswalk is marked or unmarked, all intersections of streets wider than 25 feet are considered legal crosswalks, unless there are signs that specifically state that pedestrian crossing is not allowed.  Drivers and bicyclist must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks by stopping behind the crosswalk line (CVC 21950).  Often times, impatient drivers and bicyclist, not wanting to wait for pedestrians to cross, will increase their speed in an effort to beat pedestrians through the crosswalk.  This not only creates a dangerous situation for pedestrians, but also is illegal as drivers are required to reduce the speed of their vehicle while approaching a pedestrian within a crosswalk.

Jaywalking is often cited as a main factor that leads to pedestrian collision injuries.  It places the fault on the pedestrian as opposed to the driver. Jaywalking refers to any kind of illegal street crossing performed by a pedestrian.  Jaywalking consists of the following types of crossings:

  • Walking against a pedestrian walk signal
  • Walking outside of the designated crosswalk
  • Crossing a street where there is no crosswalk

If you were injured while jaywalking, you should know that this is not the end of your personal injury case.  We have helped many pedestrians who were jaywalking limit their responsibility in accidents by investigating the conduct of the driver i.e., was the driver speeding, when did they first notice the pedestrian, and how long did they have to avoid the accident.  CA law states that even though a pedestrian crosses outside of a crosswalk, a driver still has the duty to exercise due care for the safety of that pedestrian (CVC 21954).

Why do Pedestrian Collisions Happen?
According to WalkSF, speeding is the leading cause of serious injury and death in pedestrian collisions.  They found that 90% of pedestrians are killed when hit by a vehicle traveling 55mph.  At 40 mph, 50% are killed and at 25 mph, 10%. Rounding out the top five causes, include:

  • Running red lights
  • Failure to yield at crosswalks
  • Making unsafe turns
  • Running stop signs

Location and time of day also factor into the likelihood of being involved in a pedestrian accident.  Pedestrians entering into an intersection are most vulnerable to inattentive or intoxicated drivers who don’t see traffic signals or stop signs until it is too late.  Pedestrians traveling during peak commute times, either in the morning or after work, are also at a higher risk of being involved in an accident.

What are common injuries you see in pedestrian accidents?

A majority of our clients that have been involved in pedestrian vehicle accidents have suffered serious and often times life-changing injuries, as well as accrued steep financial liabilities.  This comes as no surprise as pedestrians are extremely vulnerable due to having absolutely no protection against cars. The human body is just no match for a 2-ton car.  The most common injuries that we encounter are:

  • Fractures (legs/arms/hips/ribs)
  • Brain injuries (concussions/swelling/bleeding)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Torn ligaments (ACL/MCL/Shoulder)

If you have suffered an injury as a result of a pedestrian vehicle accident you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.  The insurance company can use any gaps in treatment (even if you had a legitimate reason) to decrease the value of your claim.  Often times, you will not immediately be able to tell the extent of your injuries.  It is not until after the initial shock and adrenaline wear off that your body begins to feel pain.  If after receiving treatment from an emergency room, and your symptoms persist or worsen, you should return for follow up treatment, as this is usually a sign of something more serious.

Unfortunately, many pedestrian vehicle accidents also result in death.  If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident please refer to our Wrongful Death Page (coming soon) to learn more about this specific type of case.

Get Compensated for Your Pedestrian Accident Injuries

If you were a pedestrian injured as a result of a car hitting you, you are entitled to the following:

  • All past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages from missing work (past and present)
  • Pain and suffering

I was involved in a hit-and-run. Can you help me?

Yes.  If you are involved in a hit-and-run collision as a pedestrian, you can turn to your own auto insurance to cover you if the driver is never found.  This however, only applies if your policy includes uninsured/underinsured motorist “UIM” coverage.  This type of coverage is generally an add-on to your auto policy and will take the place of the missing driver’s insurance, so that you can still be compensated for your damages.  In California UIM coverage guarantees you that a certain amount will be available to you in the event you are injured, but if the driver is located you cannot add your coverage amounts on top of their coverage amounts – that is called “stacking” and is not allowed in CA.   Hit-and-run accidents also are typically accompanied by a punitive damage claim, which is intended to punish the driver for their intentional and criminal act of “running” after striking you.  Insurance companies won’t pay punitive damage awards, but even if the driver doesn’t have the assets to pay the potential punitive damages award themselves, we can still use the threat to put pressure on the insurance company because they have a duty to protect their insured (the hit-and-run driver in this instance).

What is the Vision Zero Initiative I have heard about?

On average, about 30 people die and another 200 are severely injured on the streets of San Francisco every year due to traffic accidents.  Many of these people are pedestrians.  In an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic deaths in San Francisco, the City has adopted Vision Zero, which aims to reduce deaths on San Francisco streets to ZERO by 2024.  This is an ambitious effort indeed, but it’s a great goal and something everyone must strive for if we are ever to see the goal realized.  Here are the latest stats on Vision Zero.

I was hurt as a pedestrian, but I wasn’t hit by a vehicle.  Can you help me?

Yes.  There is a common understanding that when someone is in a “pedestrian accident” they mean that they were hit by a car, but not all pedestrian accidents involve being hit by a car.  Many pedestrian accidents we see involve people on foot that fall into holes, are hit by objects, or slip and fell.  We handle all these types of cases, in addition to more traditional pedestrian vs. car cases.  That said, these other types of pedestrian accidents can be challenging because there is not always an obvious pocket from which to recover, as is the case with auto insurance.  We are experts at finding these pockets of money to recover from in pedestrian accidents and clients are often referred to us by other lawyers due to our reputation for handling these less common types of pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrian Accident Injury Tips

You may not realize it, but an injured pedestrian is most vulnerable in the days and weeks following the accident – when they are hurt and without legal representation.  Insurance companies scurry to contact individuals before they hire a lawyer so that they can get your statement and have you sign documents, including medical releases and settlement agreements, with the advantage of you not knowing you are being taken advantage of.  Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and don’t want to pay you on your claim.  The more they pay you, the less they make.  That said, it is impossible for injured pedestrians to immediately hire a lawyer, so we want to provide you with some tips and warnings for how to handle yourself after your accident and before you hire a San Francisco personal injury lawyer.  Here are some things you should know about when dealing with the immediate aftermath of your accident:

  • Tip #1: Giving Statements (coming soon)
  • Tip #2: Medical Treatment (coming soon)
  • Tip #3: Med Pay (even without medical insurance you can get your medical bills paid for) (coming soon)
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    Did You Know?

    In 2014, there were 17 pedestrian fatalities in San Francisco. (SFPD)
    Every day, at least 3 people are hit by cars while walking in San Francisco. (WalkSF)
    6% of San Francisco’s streets account for 60% of all severe and fatal injuries to pedestrians. (WalkSF)
    Most dangerous neighborhoods for walking in San Francisco include: Tenderloin, Chinatown, and SoMa. (WalkSF)
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