Who Is At Fault In A Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrian accidents have been growing in number in the Los Angeles area and can occur on sidewalks, roadways, crosswalks, and other public areas. Los Angeles has become notorious for its high rate of pedestrian accidents, and distracted or negligent drivers are often at fault.
Legally determining who is at fault in an accident is often more complex than our clients anticipate. California law has several laws designed to protect pedestrians and assist in proving liability in an accident. As California Vehicle Code 21950(a) states:
- “(a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
- (b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
- (c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.
- (d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”
Gathering evidence in your favor will be a key component of your case. In order to prove that a driver is at fault, your pedestrian accident attorney will need to prove that the driver was guilty of negligence. Violating one of California’s right-of-way laws, or any of the clauses above, is just one way in which a driver can be guilty of negligence. Other examples of negligent driving include, but are not limited to:
- Exceeding the marked speed limit in an area.
- Driving while fatigued.
- Distracted driving (cell phone use, eating, drinking, adjusting the stereo, and more).
- Driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Reckless behavior that endangers the lives of other motorists (racing, running red lights and stop signs, passing over a double-yellow line, and more).
You may be unconscious or too injured to document the scene immediately after an accident occurs, making it crucial to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you gather statements from nearby witnesses, compile photographs of the accident, collect information about your initial injuries and medical bills, and find other important information that can help you seek damages. Drivers and insurance companies will often try to blame injured pedestrians for an accident, making it even more important to have competent legal representation in your corner.