Driver negligence is a serious legal issue that can have devastating consequences for homeless people. Most people overlook the risks of being a victim of driver negligence as a homeless person. Statistics show that homeless people are hit by drivers far more often than people in other demographics. This is because homeless people tend to congregate in high-traffic areas, such as intersections and sidewalks, making them more vulnerable to be hit in an accident.
In Los Angeles County especially, the combination of a high homeless population and statistically-dangerous roads creates an extremely dangerous environment for them. In this blog post, we will discuss the risks of being a victim of driver negligence as a homeless person. We will also explore how homeless people can seek legal recourse if they are injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence.
Negligent Drivers Cause Pedestrian Collisions
Driver negligence is defined as the failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care while operating a motor vehicle. This can include things like speeding, running red lights, or texting while driving. When drivers act negligently, they are likely to cause an accident with another vehicle or with a pedestrian. While both of these accident types can be extremely harmful, pedestrians are at a greater risk of being seriously injured by negligent driving because of the lack of physical protection being inside of a vehicle can potentially offer. In a legal sense, proving negligence is vital to building a strong case and being compensated for the losses involved in an accident.
Why Unhoused People are at a Heightened Risk of Negligent Drivers
Homeless people are especially vulnerable to being involved in an accident caused by driver negligence for a myriad of reasons. First, as we stated earlier, they are more likely to be present in high-traffic areas. This increases their exposure to accidents, as well as the severity of injuries that they could potentially sustain. Additionally, many homeless people suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. These conditions can make it difficult for them to react quickly or appropriately if they find themselves in the middle of a driver negligence accident.
Sadly, accidents are not the only dangers that homeless people face on a daily basis. They also have to worry about things like violence, theft, and exposure to the elements. This puts them at an increased risk of being involved in an accident caused by driver negligence. For example, if a homeless person is sleeping on the side of the road and a driver veers off the road to avoid hitting them, the homeless person could be seriously injured.
Congested Urban Areas
Many homeless people live in urban areas, which typically have a large concentration of both people driving and people traveling on foot. With so many people driving, there will naturally be many drivers who are driving recklessly, driving distracted, or otherwise failing to operate their vehicle in a safe manner.
Additionally, many homeless people often have to resort to living in and around areas with frequent vehicle traffic, such as on sidewalks, near intersections, and near large roads. This puts them at a greater risk of being hit by a negligent driver, especially in locations that already see frequent accidents, like freeway entrances and exits.
Lack of Resources
Finally, homeless people often do not have access to the resources that would be necessary to seek legal recourse if they were to be involved in an accident. This can make it difficult for them to get the compensation they deserve if they are injured by someone else's negligence.
Excessive California Homelessness Leads to More Negligent Incidents
In many California counties, this problem is exacerbated by the fact that the counties with the highest homeless populations are also those with high motor vehicle accident rates. Los Angeles County, for example, reported in June of 2019 to have over 58,000 homeless people within it. In the city of Los Angeles alone, there are 36,000 homeless people. In 2021, there were over 40,000 motor vehicle accidents within Los Angeles, putting it among the five most dangerous cities in the country when it comes to car accidents. Negligence makes up the vast majority of these accidents, and so the combination of the two statistics shows homeless people find themselves at great risk to be injured in motor vehicle accidents.
What Can Homeless People Do After An Auto Accident
Seek Medical Attention Even If You Don't Have Health Insurance
The first thing anyone, homeless or not, should do after being involved in a car accident is to seek medical attention, even if the injuries seem minor. This is important for two reasons: first, some injuries may not be immediately apparent but could still be serious; and second, seeking medical attention will provide documentation of the injuries sustained in the accident.
No Health Insurance? No Problem.
If you don't have health insurance, there are a few options available to you. Many hospitals and clinics offer sliding-scale payment plans, which means that the amount you pay for medical services will be based on your income. There are also many free or low-cost clinics available. Urban areas have a lot of them. Finally, if you have been involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else's negligence, the at-fault driver's insurance should cover your medical expenses. A lawyer can help you find medical treatment near where you live.
Contact An Auto Accident Lawyer for A free Consultation
Driver negligence is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences for its victims. Especially if the victim is homeless. Fortunately, there are legal options available to homeless people who have been injured in accidents caused by driver negligence. If you or someone you know is homeless, it is important to be aware of the risks involved in being a pedestrian in high-traffic areas, as well as what you can do if you are in one of these accidents. If you are ever injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call 866-NAPOLIN to schedule a free consultation.
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