Category Archives: Pedestrian Accidents

I Was Hit While Jaywalking… Am I Liable?

Friday, May 15, 2020

In Bakersfield, traffic lights and signs are in place for a reason. This critical infrastructure keeps drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike safe on the road — and jaywalking can put your life in danger. If you suffer an injury while jaywalking, even if you were not at-fault for the accident, you can harm your chances at recovering compensation for these damages.

Can You File a Pedestrian Accident Claim If You Were Jaywalking?

If you are in a collision with a motor vehicle while walking around Bakersfield, you have two main pathways to compensation. You can file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit in California civil court.

You can still bring these legal actions against the at-fault driver in your accident, even if you were jaywalking. However, the fact you were jaywalking will impact your case. The insurance adjuster or the at-fault party’s defense may use this evidence to either deny your claim or reduce your award.

To combat these claims, contact a Bakersfield pedestrian accident attorney who can defend you from these arguments and advocate for your compensation needs. Through a thorough investigation and a strong negligence claim, you can increase your chances at securing a settlement with an attorney on your side — even if you do share a portion of the fault.

Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accident Cases

Pedestrian accident lawsuits rely on the theory of negligence to prove that the at-fault party is responsible for the victim’s damages. To successfully claim compensation for the damages you suffer in a pedestrian accident, you and your attorney will need to collect evidence to support the following four elements.

  • The driver owed you a duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws.
  • The driver breached this duty of care.
  • You suffered injuries as a direct result of this breach of care.
  • You can collect compensatory damages for your injuries.

These elements may seem straightforward, but if you also breached your duty of care as a pedestrian to follow traffic laws, you may share a portion of the liability. California follows a pure comparative negligence rule in these situations.

California courts allow you to collect damages for your injuries even if you share 99% of the fault in the situation. However, the court will reduce your final award by the portion of the liability you hold.

For example, if you are seeking $20,000 for your damages and the court assigns you 50% of the fault because you were jaywalking, you will receive $10,000 at the conclusion of your case.

Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Pedestrian Accident Claim?

If you were jaywalking at the time of your accident, proving your need for damages can be very complex. Attorneys and insurance companies may claim that you were at-fault for the accident, and either reduce or deny your settlement altogether. With medical expenses, lost wages, and many more losses on the line, this compensation is crucial to your recovery.

Contact a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible following your collision. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into your claim and help you identify optimal pathways to maximum compensation. In addition, your attorney can advise you on which legal options are best for your case.

Speak to your lawyer today to discuss your claim and strategize your next steps.

Posted by highrank at 9:47 pm

Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way in California?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Many Californians, particularly in urban areas, choose to walk or ride their bikes in lieu of driving to their destination. Commuting by foot or bike can save money, provide convenience, and save time on the hassle of heavy traffic. However, some pedestrian conduct raises important questions about liability following an accident. Do pedestrians always have the right-of-way in California? Who will be liable for injuries a pedestrian sustains in an accident? Here’s everything you need to know but if you have additional questions, reach out to a skilled Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyer.

When a Pedestrian Has the Right-Of-Way

You may have heard that the pedestrian always has the right-of-way. This statement, however, is exactly that: a saying, not a matter of law. In reality, the law is more complex than that.

In the most obvious cases, the pedestrian does have the right-of-way. This applies, for example, when a pedestrian is crossing at a crosswalk at a red light. One of the most common kinds of pedestrian injury – for which a driver is at fault – is when a driver turns right or left into a pedestrian who has the right-of-way. Here, liability for the accident is clear: a motorist will be responsible for the injuries that the pedestrian incurs since he or she was crossing at a crosswalk with a stop sign or traffic signal.

What about less obvious circumstances? What happens when a pedestrian sustains an injury while crossing at an unmarked crosswalk? Or while walking in the middle of the street? This is where the law becomes less clear.

California Laws Regarding Pedestrians

The California Vehicle Code sets basic rules for pedestrians and drivers who navigate around them. The law states a few things:

  • The driver must yield to any pedestrian within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • The driver must also use reasonable care and diligence to prevent pedestrian accidents and safeguard anyone who walks or rides their bike around them.

These laws have a few implications following a pedestrian accident. Here are some examples:

  • A motorist may be liable for a pedestrian accident that occurs on the roadway, even if it’s not a crosswalk. For example, a motorist will likely be liable for striking and injuring a biker who is riding on the shoulder, since he or she has an obligation to prevent an accident. If the driver was speeding or distracted, he or she will likely be responsible for the cyclist’s injuries, even if not on a crosswalk.
  • A motorist must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks that are not at intersections. Ultimately, if a pedestrian uses a marked or unmarked crosswalk, he or she has the right-of-way.

Pedestrian Responsibilities

On the other hand, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way. According to the California Vehicle Code, pedestrians cannot leave a place of safety, such as a sidewalk, to run into the path of a moving vehicle such that it constitutes an “immediate hazard.” But what does this mean, exactly?

  • Pedestrians may be liable for their own injuries if they jaywalk. Running out into the street without a crosswalk is against the law, and a driver may not be civilly responsible for any damages he or she causes.
  • Pedestrians must use extra caution at late night crossings. They must remain as visible as possible and keep to crosswalks. A pedestrian should never assume right-of-way at night and allow plenty of time to cross.

Both pedestrians and motorists have certain rights and responsibilities on the roadways. Motorists have a high duty of care to pedestrians and must take steps to reasonably assure their safety. At the same time, pedestrians must also follow all traffic laws, avoid jaywalking, and stick to crossing at crosswalks.

Posted by highrank at 9:19 pm