Each day in San Francisco there are two pedestrian accidents, on average. And across California, there are thousands of accidents every year that involve injured pedestrians.
Although it’s easy to blame motorists, they’re not always at fault. Often, pedestrians’ actions contribute to these accidents. Sometimes, a pedestrian is 100% to blame.
Know the Facts About Pedestrian Accidents
First, let’s look at what the law says. Many accidents happen due to common misunderstandings about the law and who has the right of way. Here are some important things you should know.
- In California, pedestrians should cross within crosswalks whether the crosswalks are marked or unmarked.
- Under California law, pedestrians in crosswalks automatically have the right of way.
- Pedestrians don’t automatically have the right of way in all situations.
- Outside of crosswalks, pedestrians aren’t allowed to step into the path of a vehicle, but a vehicle driver is still responsible for exercising due care to avoid hitting any pedestrian in the roadway.
- A driver doesn’t have the right to harm a pedestrian who is jaywalking or walking outside a crosswalk.
Still confused? You’re not alone. Research shows that only about 28% of drivers correctly yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. The majority of drivers say they aren’t certain about their local pedestrian laws, creating confusion and a constant risk of pedestrian-vehicle accidents.
We encourage you to read our blog post about marked vs. unmarked crosswalks, which helps clear up more misunderstandings about pedestrian laws. Spoiler alert: Unmarked crosswalk injuries are often protected by law!
Pedestrian Accident Insurance Claims and Lawsuits
Most pedestrian and vehicle accidents are handled through insurance claims. So it’s very important to establish liability because it indicates who’s going to be held financially responsible for losses.
California is a comparative negligence state. That means under the law, any party involved in an accident can be assigned a portion of the fault. There can be shared liability and each party will be assinged a percentage.
Let’s say a pedestrian was drunk and jaywalking when they ran out into the path of a vehicle that was traveling legally and had no way to avoid them. The pedestrian might be held 100% to blame. However, in the same situation, if the car was exceeding the speed limit and driving without its headlights on at night, there could be 50/50 liability.
For an injured victim, shared liability can actually be a good thing. It means you weren’t assigned all the fault and you can claim a portion of damages. In a 50/50 situation, for example, your award of $500,000 would be cut in half to $250,000. This sum might cover your medical bills and lost wages. That’s a win!
But every situation is unique, so don’t assume a certain outcome will happen for you. Even a pedestrian who completely fails to follow the law can sometimes win a lawsuit by convincing the court the motorist was to blame.
After a Pedestrian Accident, You Need Legal Representation
As you can see, cases like these are complex and you’ll need excellent legal representation to pursue pedestrian accident compensation. An injured person’s ability to move forward from an accident often hinges upon their ability to prove who was at fault.
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have great sympathy for people who are in pedestrian-vs.-vehicle accidents. If you’re struggling to handle an accident claim, contact us for compassionate representation. We’re here to fight for you!
We Handle Your Pedestrian Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a pedestrian accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of personal injury law, including pedestrian-vehicle accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. We truly care about the people of California. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.