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Orange County Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

Woods Williford, P.C. Serves the Injured Across California Pedestrian fatalities chart by gender

Every year people are injured and killed by motor vehicles while out walking, running, or jogging. Pedestrian accidents can be particularly devastating and result in serious, debilitating injuries or even death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 5,977 pedestrians lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents. This is a 1.6% decrease from the prior year.

In general, more men are killed in pedestrian accidents than women. In 2017, the number of men that died in pedestrian accidents reached 88.5%, and the number of women that were killed was recorded at 11.5%. The L.A. Times reported that "the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles in California rose 7% in the first half of 2015 compared with the year before." 347 people had been killed between January and June of 2015, compared with 323 in the same time period the year before. According to the San Francisco Examiner, the total number of pedestrian fatalities in California ended up being 813.

If you find yourself as one of these statistics, contact our Orange County pedestrian accident lawyers at Woods Williford, P.C. We have offices in San Diego, Irvine, San Bernardino, and Riverside and can be reached by calling (949) 558-2245.

Pedestrian death chart by age 2017

Pedestrian Accident Characteristics

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are certain characteristics that are commonly found when a pedestrian accident occurs.

  • Failure to cross at an intersection- The majority of pedestrian fatalities, 70%, "occur at non-intersection locations." Most fatalities occur after the sun has set. Additionally, in 2017, individuals between 55-64 years of age were the most likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident.
  • Alcohol Involvement- According to the Department of Transportation, "[i]n 2012, alcohol involvement by either the driver or non-motorist was reported in more than . . . 48 percent of the traffic crashes that killed a pedestrian."
  • Gender- According to the Department of Transportation, motorists that were involved in a fatal pedestrian accident, "14 percent . . . had a BAC of .08g/dL or higher." Among pedestrians, the rate was higher, with 34% having a BAC of .08 or higher. Additionally, more pedestrians killed were men in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Reasons for Pedestrian Accidents

As the NHTSA reported, pedestrian deaths are at their highest since 1996. According to U.S. News, "pedestrian fatalities have been rising since 2005, and now account for 15 percent of total traffic deaths." The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported several reasons that pedestrian accidents may be on the rise including a better economy resulting in lower gas prices, drivers, and pedestrians being distracted by cell phones, and an "increase in the number of Americans walking for health, economic or environmental reasons."

How Do I Prove Negligence in a Pedestrian Accident?

If a pedestrian is struck by a motorist, that pedestrian may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the motorist to recover damages for his or her injuries. To prove negligence in California, the plaintiff must show that "the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty, that the defendant breached the duty, and that the breach was a proximate or legal cause of injuries suffered by the plaintiff."

Learn more about this topic by reading the following case study: Ann M. v. Pacific Plaza Shopping Center, 6 Cal.4th 666, 673 (1993).

A driver has a legal duty to operate his or her vehicle in a safe manner. Drivers who fail to do this can be held liable for any damages that occur as a result of their negligent actions.

Comparative Negligence

If there is more than one cause of an accident, then the doctrine of comparative negligence may become applicable. For example, if a plaintiff in a personal injury case was partly at fault for his or her injuries, the defendant may raise comparative negligence as a defense. Comparative negligence can take different forms in different states. In California, pure comparative negligence was adopted in 1975 by the Supreme Court of the state in the case of Li v. Yellow Cab Company, 532 P.2d 1226 (Cal. 1975). Under this doctrine, fault is apportioned among the parties based on how much each party contributed to the plaintiff's injuries. Any compensation the plaintiff receives from the defendant is then reduced based on the percentage of the plaintiff's fault.


Fred is walking down the street approaching an intersection, checking his phone for the latest updates on the World Series. Barney is driving home after work, approaching the same intersection. The crosswalk signal is red, but Fred doesn't notice this because he is paying attention to his phone. Barney goes to make a right, assuming Fred is not going to cross. Fred, however, walks into the intersection and in front of Barney's car. He suffers a broken arm and several ribs. Fred later brings a lawsuit against Barney.

At trial, the jury decides that both parties are at fault for the accident. The jury finds Barney 70% at fault for the accident, but under comparative negligence also assigns Fred 30% of the blame for failing to obey the crosswalk sign. The jury then awards Fred $100,000. As Fred was 30% responsible for the accident, his damage award is reduced by 30%. Thus, he receives $70,000.

Contact Our Orange County Personal Injury Lawyers, Serving All of California

If you or a loved one has been injured by a motor vehicle, please do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Woods Williford. Our attorneys have extensive experience practicing personal injury law in California and are dedicated to helping their clients recover just compensation for the injuries they have suffered.

Call us today at (949) 558-2245, or click here to fill out our online form.

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