It’s dangerous out there being a pedestrian. Not only do you have to worry about California’s crumbling sidewalks, but distracted and aggressive motorists show very little respect for pedestrians.
According to one source, pedestrian deaths account for 22% of all traffic fatalities, so it important that pedestrians protect themselves.
At the Beliz Law Firm, we receive a common question: “I got hit by a car while crossing the street. What are my rights?” In this post, we will explain how the law protects pedestrians in California and what to do after a collision.
Hitting a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk
All motorists must operate their vehicles with sufficient care. This does not mean that they must be perfect, but they must use due care so as not to injure anyone—including pedestrians. When drivers fail to be sufficiently careful, they are negligent and legally responsible for the injuries they cause.
Examples of negligence include:
- Failing to stop
- Running a red light
- Trying to scoot around a pedestrian
- Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving
- Backing up without checking in the rearview mirror
California Vehicle Code § 21950 confirms that both pedestrians and motorists owe each other a duty of care. The code specifically states that motorists who are approaching a pedestrian in any marked or unmarked crosswalk must slow down their vehicle and take any other action necessary to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
However, the Code also says that pedestrians must not rush in front of a vehicle so that they create a hazard. Pedestrians also cannot delay traffic while in the crosswalk.
If a driver fails to operate their vehicle carefully, and they injure a pedestrian, then the pedestrian can sue the driver for compensation. However, if the pedestrian did not exercise care, they might not have a lawsuit.
Use Common Sense
Pedestrians and motorists can protect everyone’s safety by using common sense and not being in a rush to get somewhere. Simply wait for vehicles or pedestrians to get through the crosswalk before heading across. The California Driver Handbook implores pedestrians and motorists to exhibit courtesy to each other, which will reduce the chances of an accident.
Of course, some accidents are unavoidable, and pedestrians should do everything possible to protect their right to compensation. For example, you should do the following after getting struck:
- Contact emergency services to have an ambulance come out.
- Take pictures of anything, such as damage to the car that hit you, or the area where you landed. If you are in extreme pain, ask someone else to take these pictures with their camera.
- Contact the police to come out to the accident and write up a police report. These reports will contain important information.
- Identify any witnesses to the collision. Get their names and contact information.
- Promptly seek medical attention.
The more information you find, the greater your case for compensation. If you are too injured to collect anything, then ask for help or have your lawyer look for this information as soon as possible.
Contact Us Today
If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, laws in California protect you. These laws allow injured pedestrians to hold negligent drivers accountable when they negligently injure other people.
At the Beliz Law Firm, we meet with many people who have suffered devastating injuries in pedestrian crashes, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and permanent nerve damage. We know how stressful it is to be in pain and possibly unable to work.
To speak with an attorney, please reach out to us today. One of our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you to discuss your case. Avoid delay.
California law gives injured pedestrians a short amount of time to request compensation after a crash.