After a pedestrian accident, several key laws need to be considered when determining who was liable for the accident.
Right of Way Law
In California, state law prioritizes the safety of the pedestrian. According to the California DMV handbook, drivers have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians in most situations. Consult with a personal injury attorney and share the details of your situation to find out how the right of way laws apply in your case.
It is the pedestrian’s responsibility to obey the rules of the road as well. Pedestrians must look both ways before crossing the street and follow all local laws and ordinances, including obeying the lights at crosswalks. Pedestrians cannot simply walk into the street any time they please without using the crosswalk.
Drivers must always yield the right of way to prevent collisions. They must also obey all local laws and ordinances and prioritize the pedestrian’s safety. Even if a pedestrian steps out into the street without warning, the driver must do what they can to yield the right of way.
Hazardous & Other Circumstances
In hazardous circumstances, such as heavy traffic or bad weather, drivers must drive slower. On steep mountain roads, the vehicle facing downhill must yield the right of way until the vehicle going uphill can pass by.
Determining who is at fault for the pedestrian accident – and how much each party is at fault – depends on several different factors.
Negligence is reckless or careless behavior that ends up harming another person. When someone fails to do something they were supposed to do – like stopping at a red light – then they are acting with negligence. When someone does something they’re not supposed to do – like driving over the speed limit – that’s also negligence. In California, drivers who cause accidents because of their negligence can be held accountable through a personal injury claim.
California Is a Pure Comparative Fault State
In a pure comparative fault state, how much compensation you can receive is affected by the percentage of the accident that was your fault. For example, if the court finds that the accident was 10% your fault, then the financial award you would receive would be reduced by 10%.
Potential Damages Available
The victim of an accident can file a suit seeking compensation for a variety of damages. There are both economic damages and non-economic damages available.
Economic damages cover expenses such as medical bills, property damage bills, and lost income.
Non-economic damages provide compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses.
It’s important to keep in mind that in California, the statute of limitations – the time limit after which you can no longer file a suit in court – for injury-related cases is two years after the accident or the date of the victim’s death. You don’t have forever to file a claim.
What Steps Should I Take Next?
If you are a pedestrian hit by a vehicle, you’ll be dealing with recovering from your injuries and the medical bills that go along with it. If you lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, then you will be facing both emotional and financial challenges. There are several steps you should take depending on your situation.
If I’m the Victim
If you are the victim, make sure you seek medical care. Document as much as you can. You should also consult with a personal injury attorney to find out if you may be able to pursue damages in court.
If I’m Representing a Loved One Who Was Incapacitated or Lost Their Life
If you are representing a loved one who was either incapacitated or lost their life in a pedestrian accident, you have experienced a terrible, unnecessary tragedy. You should take care of your health first as best as you can. If you are considering filing a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident, consult with a personal injury attorney to find out more.