How Traffic Laws Help Determine Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

girl-pedestrian-chasing-basketballTraffic laws play an important role in determining who is at fault in a pedestrian accident. These laws define where pedestrians can cross the street and when drivers must yield to pedestrians.

Pedestrian Rights and Duties in California

California Vehicle Code explains the rights and responsibilities of pedestrians walking near roadways:

  • Vehicles must yield to pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks located at intersection.
  • The vehicle code does not remove responsibility of a pedestrian to exercise due care to protect their own safety.
  • A pedestrian cannot move abruptly from a safe location or jump from a curb in front of a vehicle close enough that it puts him or her in danger.
  • When a vehicle approaches a pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, the driver must slow the speed of the vehicle and use other safety measures to protect the pedestrian.
  • Drivers are not permitted to stop their vehicles in crosswalks as this forces the pedestrian to enter traffic to cross the street.
  • Jaywalking is illegal. If a pedestrian is involved in an accident caused by jaywalking, the pedestrian will likely be held liable for the crash.
  • Drivers approaching a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk cannot pass or overtake the stopped vehicle.
  • Drivers are only permitted to drive on a sidewalk when entering the roadway from an alley, parking garage, or parking lot.

What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?

Following are common causes of pedestrian accidents in California:

  • Road conditions
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Jaywalking
  • Entering a crosswalk when a pedestrian is crossing
  • Weather conditions
  • Making a left turn before checking for pedestrians
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Walking on the side of the road
  • Crossing the street at night in dark clothing
  • Running a stop sign or red light
  • Malfunctioning ‘walk’ and ‘do not walk’ signals

Proving Fault

When investigating fault in a pedestrian versus motor vehicle accident, the role of all involved parties must be considered, including the driver and the injured pedestrian.

If the driver failed to uphold a duty of care, such as by disobeying a traffic law, which led to an accident that caused an injury to someone else, the driver could be held liable for the crash.

In other circumstances, the pedestrian could be to blame for an accident. If the pedestrian was jaywalking, crossed against the ‘do not walk’ sign, or crossed on a green light for the vehicle; the pedestrian could be held responsible for the crash.

It is also possible that both the driver and the pedestrian are partially to blame for a pedestrian versus motor vehicle accident. For example, this might be the case if the pedestrian was jaywalking, and the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Even when both parties are at fault, the pedestrian may still be eligible to seek compensation.

If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, it is important to immediately call the police, so a proper investigation and report can be filed. Seek prompt medical treatment for any injuries.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Contact Arnold Law Firm Today

Have you or a loved one suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident? Are you unsure about who can be held liable for the crash?

The experienced Sacramento car accident lawyers at Arnold Law Firm are ready to answer your questions and discuss legal options. We have a proven track record of recovering compensation for accident victims. 

Call (916) 777-7777 for a free legal consultation and find out how our attorneys may be able to assist you.