pedestrian crossing

Understanding Your Rights in a Pedestrian Accident Case

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

There are many incorrect assumptions about pedestrian rights when there is an accident. This blog will discuss some of the seemingly conflicting rights and responsibilities of walkers and drivers and explain how these concepts work in reality.

California has laws about the right of way for pedestrians and vehicles. You might want to talk to a California pedestrian accident attorney to understand your rights in a pedestrian accident case. If you got injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, a lawyer could help you pursue the compensation you deserve from the at-fault party.

Rules About Pedestrian Right of Way

Pedestrians do not automatically have the right of way in every possible situation, but drivers have to try to avoid a collision even when the pedestrian does not have the right of way. Here are a few things you need to know about pedestrian right of way rules in California:

  • When a pedestrian is in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, they have the right of way. Still, they should not step out in front of oncoming traffic. An unmarked crosswalk is an intersection without visible pedestrian crossing boundaries.
  • Pedestrians should look first to make sure that the roadway is clear before stepping into the street.
  • When a visually impaired person uses a cane and steps into a crosswalk, motorists should yield to the individual.

Also, pedestrians must follow traffic laws and obey traffic signs, signals, and electronic crosswalk guidance. In other words, people should follow the “Walk/Don’t Walk” electronic signals.

Duties of Drivers Toward Pedestrians

Drivers are supposed to be vigilant when driving through areas where there are likely to be walkers or bicyclists. Regardless of the posted speed limit, motorists should reduce their speed in these situations to allow them time to stop if necessary. In addition:

  • Vehicles should come to a stop without encroaching on the boundaries of the crosswalk, even if there are no walkers present.
  • Even if a pedestrian breaks the rules, drivers should make every reasonable effort to avoid striking the walker.
  • A motor vehicle may only drive on a sidewalk if there is no other way to cross the street.

There are many additional ways that a driver could be negligent in a pedestrian accident.

How to Determine Fault in a Pedestrian Accident Case

Often, both the walker and the driver were negligent in a pedestrian accident case. One party might have significantly greater fault than the other, but the injured party can usually get at least some compensation for their injuries, reduced by their percentage of the total fault.

Under California law, a pedestrian who gets injured in an accident must prove that the at-fault party had a legal duty of care toward the walker and breached that duty. Violating a duty of care is negligence, but that negligence must be what caused the accident. Also, the pedestrian must have suffered injuries in the collision to win a personal injury lawsuit or claim. 

A California pedestrian accident attorney would be happy to talk to you about your pedestrian accident case at no charge and help you go after the compensation you deserve. For help with your case reach out to our office today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.