Does Car Insurance Cover Me If I Hit a Pedestrian?
Car accidents occur every day on California roads. These collisions often involve two or more drivers. In some cases, pedestrians and cyclists are struck by drivers, resulting in severe injuries and property damage.
If you are in a car accident and hit a pedestrian, you could be financially responsible for that victim’s losses. Your insurance policy will typically cover these damages, but if the pedestrian requires additional compensation, you could be liable for the remaining cost.
California Car Insurance Requirements
State laws on car insurance typically fall into one of two categories: fault or no-fault. In no-fault states, people who are injured in car accidents are financially responsible for their own losses. They carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that pays for their damages after an accident.
Like most states, California follows a fault-based car accident system. If a driver causes a car accident, they are financially responsible for all of the damages that the victims sustain. Pedestrians, along with other drivers, passengers, and cyclists, are covered by this insurance policy.
To uphold this financial responsibility, drivers must carry the following amounts of car insurance.
- $15,000 for injury or death to one person in an accident
- $30,000 for injury or death to all people in an accident
- $5,000 for property damage per accident
What Happens If You Hit a Pedestrian
If you are involved in a car accident and hit a pedestrian, the pedestrian could file a claim against you. Victims of California car accidents have the right to pursue an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against a negligent driver. If the pedestrian believes that you are at fault for the accident, he or she will likely file a claim against your insurance.
Your policy would cover the pedestrian’s losses up to your policy limits. If the pedestrian requires more compensation, he or she could escalate the case to a lawsuit. For this reason, it may be helpful to invest in higher amounts of insurance coverage. A Bakersfield car accident attorney can help you decipher the details of your case and explore your legal options.
Could a Pedestrian Be Liable for Your Car Accident?
Motorists are often at fault in accidents involving pedestrians. However, pedestrians hold certain duties and responsibilities as well. If a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care while on the road and causes an accident, he or she could be financially responsible for the accident.
For example, say that a pedestrian suddenly runs across the road in front of an oncoming vehicle. The driver does not have enough time to stop and hits the pedestrian. In this situation, the pedestrian would be considered at fault because he or she committed a dangerous act. The driver could not reasonably stop and avoid an accident due to the pedestrian’s actions.
In some cases, drivers and pedestrians share liability for a collision. For example, say that a driver is speeding in a school zone. A pedestrian suddenly jaywalks across the street and the driver could not stop in time to avoid a collision. In this situation, the pedestrian may share 30% of the fault while the driver holds 70%. Under California law, the pedestrian could collect 70% of his or her total damages from the driver.
If you are involved in a pedestrian collision, it is important to speak with a lawyer. A Bakersfield bicycle accident attorney can represent your best interests and help you navigate the claims process. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.