Every year, dozens of pedestrians are severely injured or killed on San Francisco streets, making this one of the nation’s most dangerous cities for pedestrians. According to data from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and San Francisco Police Department, pedestrians represented 40 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in San Francisco in 2020. Although this number represents a marginal decline from past years, it is still extremely high.
If you or someone you love was involved in a pedestrian-vehicle collision in San Francisco or the surrounding areas, you deserve justice—and Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard can help. Our attorneys have helped countless clients file personal injury and wrongful death claims following devastating pedestrian accidents and have recovered fair compensation on behalf of both victims and the surviving family members of those wrongfully killed. We are prepared to go up against the insurance company on your behalf, protecting your rights and seeking the maximum compensation you are owed.
When you have been injured, you don't just need an attorney. You need an advocate.
What Is the Most Frequent Cause of Pedestrian Accidents?
Most pedestrian accidents result from motorist negligence. Because of the risk of severe bodily injury and death to pedestrians, motor vehicle drivers have a strict legal responsibility to avoid collisions with people who are walking, cycling, skating, or using e-scooters. When they fail to act with reasonable care, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Specifically, some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents that can be attributed to motorist negligence include:
- Distracted driving, including cellphone use
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Speeding, including driving too fast for current conditions
- Running red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians
- Making unsafe or illegal turns
- Failing to check for pedestrians in crosswalks or at intersections
Most pedestrian accidents occur at nighttime or during inclement weather, which can make pedestrians harder to see. However, even in such conditions, motorists still have a responsibility to drive with caution and yield to pedestrians whenever possible.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way in San Francisco?
Although many people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way, this is not necessarily true. Under California law, there are several situations in which pedestrians must yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles in and around San Francisco.
By law, pedestrians in San Francisco are not allowed to:
- “Dart out” (or suddenly leave a sidewalk, curb, or another safe place) into traffic
- Walk or run into or across the path of an oncoming vehicle that cannot reasonably stop
- Stop unnecessarily in a marked or unmarked crosswalk in a manner that delays traffic
- Cross a roadway outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk, intersection, or designated pedestrian crossing when vehicles are close enough to pose an “immediate hazard”
- Cross in a crosswalk or at an intersection when there is a red light or “do not walk” signal
- Cross diagonally at an intersection outside of a crosswalk unless explicitly permitted
- Walk or stand unnecessarily in bicycle lanes when a sidewalk or walking path is available
If a pedestrian engages in any of these prohibited activities, they do not have the legal right of way. However, that being said, the law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians whenever it is reasonably safe and possible to do so. This means that a motorist could still technically be liable for an accident even if the pedestrian did not have the full legal right of way.
In such cases, California’s rule of pure comparative negligence typically comes in to play. Under this rule, an injured pedestrian can file a claim against the driver involved in the crash even if they violated pedestrian laws or were otherwise negligent. However, the injured pedestrian’s recovery would be reduced by their at-fault percentage. So, if the court found the pedestrian to be 30 percent at fault for the collision, the pedestrian could only recover up to 70 percent of the amount they were seeking in damages.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians are virtually unprotected. As a result, they often suffer severe, life-altering injuries when they are struck by large, heavy, fast-moving vehicles.
Pedestrian accident victims often suffer:
- Serious cuts, contusions, and abrasions
- Broken bones/fractures
- Accidental amputation/loss of limb
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head, neck, shoulder, and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue and organ damage
The cost of treating these and other pedestrian accident-related injuries is immense, leaving victims and their families facing significant financial hardships.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, our San Francisco pedestrian accident attorneys recognize the devastating effects these collisions have, and we are here to help victims and their loved ones seek the justice they deserve. Our goal is to recover the full compensation you are owed for your medical expenses, future care costs, lost wages, diminished earning ability, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost quality of life, and more.
What to Do After Being Struck as a Pedestrian
While you are still at the scene of the accident, the best actions to take are to immediately call the police, gather contact information, and refuse to converse with the driver, even if they seem friendly or apologetic. You should also try to take as many pictures of you can of things like damage to the car, its license plate, your injuries, and the driver's insurance card. And no matter how fine you feel in the moment, if you were just hit by a car, you should always seek medical attention. Injuries are not always obvious immediately after an accident.
Take these steps after the immediate chaos is over:
- Don't talk to the other driver's insurance.
- Keep track of all of your symptoms and medical treatment and bills.
- Keep any damaged items for later evidence.
- Hire a pedestrian accident attorney in San Francisco.
Experience You Can Trust
Insurance companies often fight to devalue or deny pedestrian accident claims. It is important that you work with a highly skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer who can protect your rights and advocate for the full compensation you are owed.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, our San Francisco pedestrian accident attorneys have handled countless serious injury and wrongful death claims. We understand that no two cases are exactly alike, which is why we develop custom legal strategies for our clients. Our team will work directly with you throughout the legal process, providing clear and direct answers to your questions every step of the way. We strive to always remain accessible, available, and responsive to our clients.
We handle all personal injury and wrongful death matters on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay any out-of-pocket fees when you work with our firm. Instead, our attorneys collect fees via a percentage of your recovery. If we do not secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you do not pay anything.