Boo! We don’t mean to scare you, but there are two pedestrian accidents every day in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. More than 800 pedestrians die every year in California and more than 14,000 are injured!
On Halloween, pedestrian accidents rise to their highest levels as kids swarm the streets in search of Halloween candy. It’s a magically fun evening until someone gets hurt.
Here are the things you should know about how to avoid pedestrian injuries on Halloween. As personal injury attorneys, we want you to stay safe out there and know your rights if you’re ever injured as a pedestrian.
Halloween Traffic Facts for Pedestrians and Motorists
California has many pedestrian-friendly laws. Still, pedestrians and motorists often misunderstand how the law works and fail to follow the rules.
Research shows that only about one-third of drivers correctly yield to pedestrians in California crosswalks. The majority of drivers say they aren’t certain about how pedestrian laws work.
Below are some legal highlights that are good to keep in mind on Halloween.
- Under California law, pedestrians in crosswalks automatically have the right of way.
- Pedestrians should cross within crosswalks whenever possible, whether the crosswalks are marked or unmarked.
- Outside of crosswalks, pedestrians aren’t allowed to step into the path of a vehicle, but a vehicle driver is still responsible for exercising duty of care to avoid hitting any pedestrian in the roadway.
- A motorist never has the right to intentionally harm a pedestrian.
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve found that people are often confused about the difference between marked vs. unmarked crosswalks. It’s best to use clearly marked crosswalks, but there’s nothing wrong with using an unmarked crosswalk – and it’s definitely better than jaywalking across a random part of the road.
Keeping Kids Safe During Trick-or-Treating
Kids wearing masks and costumes are especially vulnerable to pedestrian accidents. They’re excited, hyped up on sugar, and distracted by all of the trick-or-treating.
Here are some safety tips that could save a child’s life:
- Teach children the importance of always crossing at marked and well-lit intersections.
- Build a habit of always looking both ways before crossing the street.
- Remind kids that vehicles are unpredictable and fast!
- Look up at cars when crossing, not down at Halloween candy.
- Walk on sidewalks or grass, not on the road.
- Wear bright, visible Halloween costumes.
- Go trick-or-treating with adult supervision and bring flashlights.
How Pedestrian Claims Work in California
Most California pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents are handled through insurance claims. This means it’s important to establish liability because it indicates who’s going to be held financially responsible. California is a comparative negligence state, so any party involved in an accident will be assigned a portion of the fault.
To understand how this works, imagine that a drunken adult in a Halloween costume runs out into the path of an oncoming car traveling at the speed limit. The car can’t avoid the person and hits them. The pedestrian might be held 100% liable for this accident because they were jaywalking, drunk, and negligent.
However, there’s also another version of the same accident where the motorist was doing 50 mph in a 25 mph zone and had their headlights off after sunset. In this case, the two parties might be assigned 50/50 liability because both did things to contribute to the accident.
For an injured victim, shared liability under the comparative fault law isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means even if you have part of the blame, you can still claim compensation.
If you’re 50% responsible, a total award of $400,000 would be cut in half to $200,000, which could be plenty of money to cover your medical bills and lost wages. Still a win!
Don’t Wait ‘Til Next Halloween! Act Fast for Legal Assistance.
Timing matters in pedestrian accidents. California has a strict deadline for claiming pedestrian accident compensation. You have just two years to start your claim, and even less if it involves a government agency.
Contact a pedestrian injury attorney as soon as possible. Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have great sympathy for people who are in pedestrian accidents – especially when it happens on a fun day like Halloween!
We Handle Your Pedestrian Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After your accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of personal injury law, including pedestrian 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.