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Who Is Liable for Pedestrian Accidents?

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Posted By DAM Firm | August 30 2021 | Personal Injury

It is rare for a pedestrian accident to occur with no injuries. Data from the California Office of Traffic Safety shows that the vast majority of pedestrian accidents reported result in some sort of injury. 

Unfortunately, pedestrians often sustained severe injuries in the event a crash occurs. Pedestrian accidents have various causes, and those involved are often able to recover compensation for their losses. However, securing payment depends on determining who is liable for these incidents. Here, our Orange County pedestrian accident lawyers want to discuss liability for pedestrian accidents in California.

Who Is Liable for Pedestrian Accidents?

Liability of Other Drivers

If the careless or negligent actions of another driver cause a vehicle accident, then that driver’s insurance carrier should be responsible for paying compensation to the injury victim. There are a variety of causes of pedestrian accidents related to driver negligence, including a driver:

  • Operating while impaired by drugs or alcohol 
  • Operating while distracted by phones or other devices
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Failing to obey traffic signs or signals
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Intentionally running their vehicle into a pedestrian

In the aftermath of a vehicle versus pedestrian collision, there will need to be an extensive investigation to determine what happened. By using photo or video surveillance, the police report, eyewitness statements, and even vehicle “black box” data, investigators and injury attorneys can help paint a picture of liability.

Liability of a Government Entity

It could be the case that a government agency holds liability for a pedestrian crash. Government entities are typically responsible for the roadways and traffic signals that are designed to ensure pedestrian and driver safety. In the event a crosswalk, roadway, sidewalk, or other pedestrian safety device is poorly maintained or malfunctioning, a government entity could be held responsible for any collision that occurs between a vehicle and a pedestrian.

However, holding a government entity responsible is challenging. There are separate laws in the state of California related to filing personal injury lawsuits against state and municipal government entities. It is crucial to work with a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer who has a thorough understanding of personal injury law. An attorney will make sure that your claim is filed on time and that you are adequately represented when going up against the state, county, or municipal government.

Pedestrian Liability

It is certainly possible for a pedestrian to be completely or partially responsible for causing their own injuries. Just like drivers, pedestrians also have to obey traffic laws when they are on or around the roadway. Pedestrians do not simply have free reign in these situations.

If a pedestrian enters traffic against a traffic signal or sign, or if they walk out into traffic at an unmarked crosswalk without checking for oncoming vehicles, they could be held liable for an accident. It could be the case that a pedestrian is found partially responsible for a crash. For example, if a pedestrian is looking at their phone and enters the roadway when there is oncoming traffic and is struck by an impaired driver, there may be shared liability for the incident.

The good news is that California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that a person can recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for their own injuries. Even pedestrians who are partially at fault for a crash could be entitled to some monetary compensation.

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