Who Is Liable For A Pedestrian Accident In Carlsbad, California?

There is a pedestrian right of way law in California. It states that drivers “shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the road within any marketed crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” While this is often interpreted as pedestrians always having the right of way, pedestrians cannot walk into the street without a crosswalk. Unless the pedestrian is in a marked or unmarked intersection crosswalk, they must yield to traffic. Crosswalks are not always marked, and if they are not, they are presumed to be crosswalks. And drivers, crosswalks or not, have the responsibility to drive with due care and attention to avoid hitting a pedestrian.

A brief look at California’s pedestrian right of way laws:

  • A driver must reduce their speed and be ready to stop anytime when they approach an intersection.
  • Pedestrians must obey traffic rules. Drivers are expected to yield even if a pedestrian is not following the law.
  • Motorists must stop at least 5 feet from a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross with safety.
  • A driver must yield to a blind pedestrian when they indicate that they want to cross the street.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way in marked or unmarked crosswalks.

For an accident involving a pedestrian, the standard for negligence and liability is the same as any personal injury accident. Three elements must be met in a personal injury claim: showing that the driver owed the pedestrian a duty of care; that the driver breached that duty by being negligent; and because they were negligent, the pedestrian was injured.

Being negligent while driving can involve driving while distracted, not stopping at a red light or a stop sign, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, not moving over or slowing down for a person in the break-down lane, and speeding.

There are instances where a pedestrian may also be at fault in a vehicle versus a pedestrian accident. However, California is a comparative fault state, which means liability may be split between all parties involved. An example would be if a pedestrian was deemed to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, any damages would be reduced by 20 percent.

As with other personal injury accidents, there are usually insurance companies involved. Pedestrians who have been injured are required to file a report, as is the driver involved. We cannot stress how important it is to seek medical care even if you feel fine. Injuries sometimes take a while to manifest.

You may even receive a phone call from the driver’s insurer asking how you are doing and wanting to know your side of the story. Do not speak to the driver’s insurance company. Speak only to your legal counsel at The Levinson Law Group and tell the insurance company to call us.

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