Pile-Up Crash Kills Pedestrian
A man who was allegedly driving a stolen car triggered an eight-car wreck which killed a pedestrian on the street.
Few details were available about the wreck, which happened on Lake Merced Boulevard near Higuera Avenue. The pedestrian, a 26-year-old man, was declared dead at the scene. Several other people were rushed to area hospitals with serious injuries.
The at-fault driver, a 31-year-old San Francisco man, was on probation for a previous grand theft conviction.
Speed and Pedestrian Accidents
Excessive velocity is a factor in about a third of the fatal car wrecks in California. When a pedestrian is involved, speed is almost deadly.
If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is moving slower than 25mph, the pedestrian death rate is less than 10 percent. The fatality rate skyrockets to over 50 percent if the tortfeasor is moving faster than 40mph. In other words, a little extra speed makes a big difference.
Unfortunately for pedestrian victims, most of these incidents happen outside marked crosswalks and at non-intersections. So, the tortfeasor is usually moving at or near top speed at the moment of the crash.
On major streets, as well as most residential streets, the tortfeasor’s speed is almost always more than 40mph. Even if the victim survives, the victim usually sustains catastrophic injuries, like:
- Head Injuries: Unlike vehicle occupants or motorcycle riders, pedestrians have no restraint systems or crash helmets to protect them. As a result, they often sustain permanent head injuries. These wounds kill tens of thousands of Americans every year.
- Broken Bones: The force of these impacts often throws pedestrians several hundred feet. The violent landings often shatter their bones. As a result, doctors must be very aggressive during surgery. This action makes it much more difficult to fully recover from such injuries.
- Internal Injuries: These same forces cause internal organs to grind and bump against each other. So, they usually bleed profusely. This bleeding is hard to detect and hard to stop. In fact, exsanguination (excessive blood loss) is usually the official cause of death in these accidents.
The medical bills in cases like these often exceed $100,000. Most health insurance companies refuse to pay these bills, citing liability concerns. Most families cannot possibly pay these bills out of pocket.
To relieve the extreme financial stress victims often feel, a San Jose personal injury attorney usually sends a letter of protection to medical providers. The letter guarantees payment when the case is resolved. So, victims pay nothing upfront for top-quality medical care. Attorneys usually make similar arrangements regarding vehicle repair or replacement.
As a bonus, an attorney is a good negotiator, not just a good litigator. Therefore, attorneys often convince providers to lower their fees. That reduction could mean the victim keeps more of the settlement money. California’s laws are rather complex on this point.
Which Car Caused the Injuries?
When multiple vehicles are involved in a pedestrian injury crash, it’s often almost impossible to determine which driver was the tortfeasor and which ones were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Fortunately, most victims do not have to worry about this issue. The burden of proof in these claims is only a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. If a driver was involved in the crash in any way, it’s more likely than not that this driver also caused the pedestrian’s injuries.
Frequently, defendants in multi-car collisions squabble among themselves about who was at fault. But for the most part, these disputes do not directly affect victim/plaintiffs. They simply force tortfeasors to point fingers at each other, which makes them look bad in front of jurors.
Reach Out to an Experienced Attorney
Pedestrians often sustain serious injuries in car wrecks. For a free consultation with an experienced San Jose personal injury attorney, contact Solution Now Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.