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Legal Implications for Pedestrians Hit by a Car on Purpose

What Pedestrians Hit by a Car on Purpose Should Know

Due to the violent nature of a speeding vehicle colliding with a human being, most injuries sustained after a pedestrian accident will require expensive, long-term medical care. It’s almost certain that a pedestrian accident victim will miss work for a significant period of time, as well. In the majority of all pedestrian accidents, negligence on behalf of either the driver or pedestrian will play a significant role in causing a pedestrian accident.

However, there are instances where a driver deliberately tries to hit a pedestrian. Fortunately, the state of California offers protections for pedestrians who are injured by a reckless driver, especially if that driver deliberately caused someone harm.

If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Los Angeles, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The experienced team of Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers will recover all the compensation you are entitled to so that you can focus on your recovery and on the ones you care most about.

What if a Driver Hits a Pedestrian on Purpose?

Hitting Someone With a Car on Purpose

In general, due to the negligent nature of many pedestrian accidents, a victim will almost certainly be entitled to punitive damages. However, a pedestrian accident victim must prove that the driver deliberately tried to cause them harm. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and are intended to punish a wrongdoer for his or her deliberate acts of malice.

There are severe consequences a driver may face for deliberately hitting a pedestrian, including criminal charges. If a pedestrian is killed, that driver will likely face manslaughter charges. This would amount to a felony and can result in a significant prison time.

Another consequence a driver will likely face is losing his or her driver’s license. A driver will temporarily lose his or her ability to drive a vehicle and will have to go through many steps to reinstate that license. The likelihood of a driver having his or her license revoked only increases if he or she deliberately hit a pedestrian or was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident took place.

Exceptions to Legal Discipline

Hitting a pedestrian is very serious. Yet there are exceptions that may limit the level of liability. Exceptions for hitting a pedestrian may be granted if a pedestrian was at-fault. Say that, for example, a pedestrian was on drugs and showed no regard whatsoever for safety while crossing a street. A driver may possibly be exempt from severe disciplinary consequences in that scenario.

Vehicular Manslaughter

An at-fault driver will likely face criminal charges for killing a pedestrian, but only under certain circumstances. For example, a driver who was driving in an extremely reckless way or while intoxicated may incur criminal charges of vehicular manslaughter. This is sometimes known as involuntary manslaughter.

The most important thing to consider is a driver’s reckless disregard of the significant risk caused by their driving. In summary, a driver’s actions must exceed normal negligence to trigger criminal charges.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Call a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a pedestrian accident, an attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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