Accidents involving pedestrians happen more often than one might think. In fact, pedestrians make up the second largest category of motor vehicle accident deaths, after vehicle occupants. The numbers show that approximately 5,000 pedestrians are fatally injured and another 64,000 suffer non-fatal (and often serious) harm in auto-related accidents every year in this country.
It is important that you and your loved ones take safety precautions to prevent such an accident. But even if you take the greatest of care when walking around the San Fernando Valley, such as crossing in pedestrian crosswalks and using the sidewalk, in some cases, a driver's negligence cannot be avoided. Unfortunately, you or a loved one may be injured as a result. Know that California law is on your side and a few of the legal rights afforded to pedestrians are described below.
California Vehicle Code section 21950 clearly states: "The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection." The law goes on to say that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk "shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian." In other words, drivers have a responsibility to drive safely.
As we stated above, some pedestrian accidents end in fatalities. If your loved one was killed by a negligent driver and the driver of the vehicle is determined to have been at fault, then the driver could potentially be held liable for your loved one's wrongful death and you could potentially recover financial damages for your tragic loss. Furthermore, if a dangerous roadway or intersection caused or contributed to the fatal accident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway may also be held liable. It is crucial to note that in an accident like this, time is of the essence. California Government Code 911.2 states that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident. Speak to your attorney to learn more about the California statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Again, California law protects pedestrians against negligent or careless drivers. If you were injured by a drunk driver or a driver who was texting, or engaging in other unlawful behavior while operating a motor vehicle, stand up for your legal rights with the assistance of a skilled legal team.