You may have heard the saying “pedestrians always have the right of way.” Not so fast! Here in California, that’s not always true – especially if the pedestrian wasn’t walking in a marked crosswalk.

Of course, motorists aren’t allowed to just run over anyone who’s not using a crosswalk either. Under the law, motorists have a heavy burden to prevent pedestrian injury traffic accidents. Let’s take a closer look at what happens if you’re hit by a car when you weren’t using a marked crosswalk.

Who’s at Fault? It Depends on the Circumstances.

A pedestrian can’t haphazardly enter a roadway without caution and just expect to be safe. According to California’s pedestrian laws, pedestrians must always exhibit caution when crossing roadways and they should cross within a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked.

However, that’s not to say motorists have the right to harm pedestrians who are jaywalking or walking outside a marked crosswalk. A driver can’t just run someone over without facing legal responsibility.

After a pedestrian-vehicle accident, the police will usually investigate the circumstances and determine what occurred. The local prosecuting attorney may or may not opt to proceed with a criminal case against someone involved in the accident. Either way, a civil case or insurance claim is still a possibility.

A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine who may be at fault. If you, as a pedestrian, were struck by an automobile while not in a marked crosswalk or even an unmarked crosswalk, you may or may not be able to receive compensation for your injuries.

To have the clear and legal right of way, a pedestrian should always cross within a crosswalk. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, pedestrians mostly encounter marked crosswalks in busier parts of the city, but there are plenty of unmarked crosswalks in residential areas.

There are Two Types of Crosswalks: Marked and Unmarked

You may be wondering about the difference between a marked and unmarked crosswalk. California Civil Code defines a crosswalk as “that portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles.”

Although this is confusingly worded, it’s essentially saying that unmarked crosswalks are areas where you can cross roads that meet at a right angle. In order for something to be considered an unmarked crosswalk, there cannot be a sign specifically prohibiting crossing.

For instance, let’s say you have a four-way stop where two roads that are bordered by sidewalks meet at a right angle but have no crosswalks and no signs. In this case, it is assumed by law that an unmarked crosswalk exists between each of the four corners that connect the sidewalks. While there may not be an obvious, in-your-face, marked crosswalk, a pedestrian has the right of way here.

A pedestrian is still expected to use caution when crossing this type of street, or any street. In fact, when crossing at an unmarked crosswalk, you should be even more cautious than usual. Motorists are often clueless about unmarked crosswalks and don’t necessarily make an effort to look out for pedestrians.

If you’re hit while crossing the road, don’t just blame yourself and assume you have no legal options. Talk to a lawyer who can help you evaluate your circumstances and decide what to do next. If you were seriously injured while crossing the street, consult with Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers to better understand your options for a personal injury claim.

We’ve helped joggers who were hit crossing the street at clearly-marked intersections, pedestrians who were run over in unmarked crosswalks, and more. We may be able to help you negotiate a favorable insurance settlement or pursue a successful lawsuit against an at-fault driver.

We Handle Your Pedestrian Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After a pedestrian-vehicle accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including pedestrian accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.

Accident Client

“Last March, my partner was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. During this difficult time of healing, we knew that bills were going to pile up and his was going to be a long process. After looking at multiple law firms, we knew that Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers was going to be the best place to work with. Lauren and her team were patient, supportive and caring during his difficult time. His schedule was always busy with work and doctor appointments that his main source of communication was through email. Lauren and her team made it to where he didn’t have to worry about anything but just sending over the paper work he got from the hospital, and other bill collectors involving his incident and they worried about the rest.

Because of all their help my partner Aaron, was able to heal with less worries on his shoulders. By end of December, everything was settled and we were pleased with the results. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Lauren & the Sally Morin team. If you’re looking for a law firm for your incident, I’d definitely look at this law firm.”

We're here to help with your Personal Injury claim

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including pedestrian and car accidents that involve speeding. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of San Jose and all of California. Contact us today for a


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible