With an abundance of metropolitan areas and frequent foot traffic, California is regarded as one of the friendliest states toward pedestrians. However, accidents do happen, and dealing with the aftermath of these accidents is part of following the rules of the road. Some drivers hardly ever pay attention to people on sidewalks next to the roads they are driving on, even when there is a regular stream of pedestrian traffic. The consequences of an automobile hitting a pedestrian can be disastrous and even life-threatening.
Every pedestrian in California needs to be aware of their rights and obligations, just like a driver of a passenger vehicle, in case they ever find themselves in an accident. Unfortunately, not all drivers drive safely around pedestrians, and some pedestrians put themselves in danger by failing to obey the road rules when crossing. Knowing what to expect after hitting a pedestrian can help make the following legal processes easier for all those involved.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
As with any car accident, the situation that causes the crash can range from natural forces to physical obstructions and negligence. Although seemingly avoidable, pedestrian-related accidents are sadly too frequent and can involve a myriad of factors and people that can completely change the outcome of the encounter. Some of the most common sources of pedestrian-related accidents include:
- Problems with Road Signs: At some intersections, road signs or traffic lights could be faulty or missing, causing both drivers and pedestrians to be confused about whether they have the right of way. These faulty road signs make it hard for drivers to properly follow traffic rules, simultaneously endangering themselves and pedestrians alike.
- Not Checking Blind Spots: Especially applicable in parking lots, checking your blind spot as a driver is of the utmost importance to preventing accidents. Whether it be another car or a customer with a shopping cart, anyone behind your car as you pull out can be the source of an accident.
- Reckless Driving: Speeding, traffic signs, and speed bumps are all used to maintain road safety and help drivers pay attention to the road. However, reckless driving and a general disregard for these safety measures largely account for common pedestrian accidents. Keeping a lookout for reduced speed zones or traffic signals is crucial for maintaining road safety for all those involved.
- Driving Under the Influence: DUI charges are some of the most common that are faced by drivers across the country and can range in severity from case to case. The effect of drugs and/or alcohol on your driving can be deadly, complicating any situation involving a pedestrian accident.
- Jaywalking: Although pedestrians typically have the right of way in situations relating to traffic crossings, situations where pedestrians run in front of cars or avoid crosswalks will put them at fault for the resulting accidents. These accidents can be extremely dangerous and are most often deadly.
- Weather: There is no doubt that weather conditions drastically impact driving, especially when it comes to accidents. Knowing how to control your driving and being extra cautious during these weather events can help lower your risk of any accidents, including pedestrian accidents.
The numerous causes that go into pedestrian accidents can range in severity, reasoning, and likelihood. However, being aware of your surroundings and the state of the road is one of the best ways to prevent them. The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be an arduous, lengthy legal process, so taking the steps to avoid them is best for keeping you and others safe.
Q: Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way in California?
A: Whether a crosswalk is marked or unmarked, pedestrians have the right of way and are to be respected in the way other drivers are. Despite having the right-of-way, pedestrians are nonetheless subject to the laws of the road and are held to the same standards as drivers. You must drive slowly and with caution when you approach a crosswalk to ensure the pedestrian’s safety, and in return, pedestrians must keep a watchful eye out for drivers.
Q: What Happens If You Get Hit by a Car While Walking?
A: Pedestrians are at a serious risk of injury if struck by a moving car since they do not have the same physical protection as drivers. Any motor vehicle collision that causes injuries must be reported according to the law. If your vehicle hits a pedestrian, you must remain at the scene and wait for the arrival of the police. From there, you should consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to help sort out any payments for your injuries.
Q: Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault?
A: Although having the right of way in certain traffic situations, pedestrians can still be at fault in certain situations. For example, if a pedestrian is jaywalking or breaking any traffic laws and is then hit by a car trying to avoid them, they could be held at fault in the event of a crash. Any instance of a pedestrian jumping into traffic, thus violating these traffic laws and causing an accident, can leave them at fault instead of the drivers involved.
Q: How Do You Deal With Hitting a Pedestrian?
A: The legal aspect of dealing with a pedestrian accident begins with contacting the authorities and emergency services after the incident. You are legally required to report any accidents to the authorities, especially those involving pedestrians, and this act must be a priority. Following your contact with authorities, you must remain at the scene and wait for their arrival, ensuring that the pedestrian struck is kept still to avoid any further injuries.
How to Handle Pedestrian Accidents
Getting into a car accident is never on the forefront of anyone’s mind, driver and pedestrian alike. In some situations, it is avoidable, but in others, negligence from drivers or pedestrians can lead to serious accidents. Finding legal representation after a traffic accident is imperative to solving any legal issues resulting from the accident, and at Guenard Bozarth, LLP, we can help. For more information on our pedestrian accident services, visit our website and contact us today.