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June 3, 2024

Average Payout for Pedestrian Hit by Car in California [2024 Update]

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Updated 6/12/2024

Short answer: Depending on the severity of injuries and the expertise of an attorney, the average payout for a pedestrian hit by a car in California can range from $10,000 to $10,000,000 or more. For minor injuries settlements could be approximately $10,000. For moderate injuries an injured victim could expect approximately $50,000 or more while serious injuries could results in payouts of approximately $150,000 or more in 2024.

Below is a breakdown of settlement amounts people could expect depending on the severity of their injuries.

Category Average Settlement Amount
Low Approximately: $10,000 – $50,000
Moderate Approximately: $50,000 – $150,000
High Approximately: $150,000 – $1,000,000+

Settlements involving minor injuries will likely settle between $10,000-$75,000. Settlements involving major injuries can exceed $10,000,000.

Despite safety measures like crosswalks and sidewalks, pedestrian accidents remain a serious public safety concern, particularly in California where millions of drivers commute nearly every single day. Annually, about 14,000 pedestrians are injured in accidents in California alone. 

In comparison to other states, the rate of pedestrian accident incidents is up to 25% higher in California. Many of these incidents occur in urban areas, where most people reside. If you walk to work or exercise outside regularly, there is always a risk that you may find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident. 

If you have been injured in a car v. pedestrian accident, you may be researching online to find out how much you could receive in recovery. Unfortunately, there is no specific average settlement for pedestrians who have been hit by cars in California since every case is unique in its circumstances and most settlement results are confidential. 

A variety of factors may affect the amount of compensation you receive. These include but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Insurance coverage
  • The extent of your injuries
  • Prior medical history

The details of your case are what will ultimately determine your settlement amount. The best way to know how much you could expect to recover would be to speak with a personal injury or pedestrian accident attorney in your area about your case.

Example Pedestrian Accident Settlements in California

Below are some recent pedestrian accident settlements achieved by lawyer members of LawLinq:

  • $9,000,000 settlement for a pedestrian accident causing traumatic brain injuries
  • $1,500,000 settlement for a pedestrian accident causing knee and brain injuries
  • $500,000 settlement due to a truck pinning a pedestrian in a parking lot

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Pedestrian Injuries Can Be Severe

Pedestrians often sustain more severe injuries than victims of normal traffic accidents. As a result, most plaintiffs of car v. pedestrian cases typically receive higher amounts of compensation than regular auto accident victims. Nearly half of the injuries that victims of pedestrian accident cases sustain are to their face, neck, or head.  Common severe injuries include: 

  • Head trauma
  • Concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Severe lacerations
  • Wrongful death 

Pedestrian Rights in California

State laws provide pedestrians with legal rights. In California, pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections, meaning that drivers must yield to pedestrians. Additionally, pedestrians also maintain the legal right to not be hit by vehicles. If a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian, this can be used as evidence to demonstrate that they acted with negligence. 

Keep in mind that pedestrians do not have the right-of-way in all circumstances. The driver might not be responsible if the pedestrian was passing through an unmarked crosswalk or jaywalking at the time of the incident. Under California law, either party could be held liable as both share a responsibility in obeying all traffic laws and preventing collisions. Jaywalkers are not entirely defenseless, however. 

Drivers who strike pedestrians can face a range of legal repercussions such as civil suits, driver’s license sanctions, traffic citations, and even criminal prosecution. These increase in severity depending on the nature of the victim’s injuries. If the driver was under the influence at the time of the incident or flees the scene, they could be held criminally liable. 

Additionally, if a driver was under the influence during the event, they may face DUI charges. A DUI charge carries extremely high penalties, especially if the accident is fatal. If a pedestrian dies as a result of their injuries, this can earn the driver a gross vehicular manslaughter charge. In California, convictions in such cases can carry 10 years or more in state prison.

In hit-and-run incidents, drivers immediately leave the scene of the accident without stopping to exchange contact information or to check if the pedestrian needs medical attention. Prosecutors can file either misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run charges to the driver if the accident produced an injury. 

Who Is Held Liable in a Pedestrian Accident?

California laws regarding pedestrian rights follow a pure comparative negligence doctrine, which allows plaintiffs to receive recovery even if they are 99% at fault. This is another reason why it is impossible to determine the average settlement payout for victims of pedestrian accidents, as liability plays a role in your case’s value. In a pedestrian injury claim, the plaintiff must be able to establish the following:

  1. The driver owed the pedestrian a duty of care
  2. The driver violated that duty owed to the pedestrian
  3. The driver’s conduct was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and 
  4. The pedestrian sustained an injury that is recognized legally

Although a pedestrian is normally not at fault in car v. pedestrian cases, there are some instances where a pedestrian’s actions directly caused the accident to take place. If you are a pedestrian who is partially at fault, your potential recovery amount will be reduced by your share of the fault. For instance, if the jury determines that you are 30% at fault, you could receive 70% of your settlement amount. 

If it is determined that the pedestrian is entirely at fault, the driver might not face any legal repercussions at all. The driver may file a claim against the pedestrian for any property damage that resulted from the accident. 

The conduct of the pedestrian has no effect on any criminal charges filed against the driver, however. If the driver received DUI or hit-and-run charges in the incident, those may move forward even if the pedestrian was at fault. 

Types of Compensation Available for Victims of Pedestrian Accidents

Three types of damages are applicable to personal injury cases in California: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic or special damages are tangible losses suffered by the plaintiff as a result of their injuries. These can include medical expenses, medications, lost income/wages, and repair costs. Non-economic damages are non-tangible losses suffered by the plaintiff as a result of their injuries. This usually includes things like physical pain, emotional anguish, reduced quality of life, and permanent disability.

Punitive damages apply if the plaintiff can prove that the driver who caused their injuries was acting under fraud, malice, or oppression. This usually applies in cases where the driver was acting recklessly or intentionally causing harm. 

The purpose of punitive damages is two-fold, they are meant to punish the wrongdoer and to serve as an example to deter others from performing similar actions. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not dependent on the losses suffered by the victim, but rather, on the reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct and how much they are able to pay. Keep in mind that these damages are far less common in personal injury cases.

Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer

The statute of limitations in California for personal injury cases is two years, which means that victims of pedestrian accidents have up to two years to the date of the incident to file a claim. If you are still receiving treatment for your accident injuries, it may feel overwhelming to pursue legal action, which is why you should seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. 

Filing a claim through an experienced attorney is your best solution to maximizing your recovery. You should speak with a reputable personal injury attorney in your area before accepting any settlements from an insurance company. Those amounts are often far less than what you could receive through a personal injury claim. 

Need a Personal Injury Referral in the Los Angeles Area? We Can Help.

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident and are looking for a pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles County, LawLinq can connect you with a reputable attorney who can help you secure the compensation that you deserve. LawLinq is a lawyer-referral service assisting clients anywhere in the Los Angeles area. Our Member Attorneys have successfully helped thousands of clients recover millions for their personal injury claims. 

There are countless personal injury firms in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Whether you’re looking for a personal injury attorney in Glendale or Torrance, LawLinq can help make your search far easier and less time-consuming. Through a quick and confidential evaluation of your case details, LawLinq will connect you with a California State Bar certified attorney with years of experience who can successfully handle your case. Remember, at no time are you obligated to work with the attorney we refer you to.

Our services are 100% free to you. We understand that the right attorney is key to increasing your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit. And as such, we are fully committed to matching you with the best attorney possible so that you can receive the justice and compensation you deserve. If you believe you have a personal injury claim or any questions about your case, contact LawLinq today. 


About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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