Liability in a Pedestrian Car Accident
How to Determine Fault in a Pedestrian Car Accident
The vast majority of people automatically assume that a driver is always liable for hitting a pedestrian. This makes sense, especially because a human being is no match for an oncoming vehicle. However, it is entirely possible for a pedestrian to share some degree of liability for a pedestrian accident, especially if that individual was jaywalking, not watching the road, texting, or intoxicated when the incident took place. Below, our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers will discuss what happens when a pedestrian is partially or completely at-fault for causing a collision.
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Los Angeles, our knowledgeable team of pedestrian accident lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to help. We will recover all the compensation you are entitled to so that you can focus on your recovery and on the ones you care about the most.
Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
According to CVC 21949, drivers are expected to give pedestrians a duty of care to keep them safe from getting involved in an accident. If a driver or a pedestrian fails to fulfill their duty of care, then the victim will file a lawsuit against them. A pedestrian accident lawyer will consider the following laws when determining who is at-fault for causing a pedestrian accident.
- A driver must always yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is crossing a roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
- A driver must never stop within a crosswalk, as this forces a pedestrian to walk around the vehicle, which can be very dangerous.
- A pedestrian is never allowed to jaywalk. If a driver is involved in a collision because he or she was trying to avoid hitting a jaywalker, the jaywalking pedestrian would be held liable.
- A driver must never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. The stopped driver could be waiting for a pedestrian to cross safely.
- A driver can drive on a sidewalk only when entering or exiting a garage or alleyway. However, that driver must still yield to a pedestrian when doing so.
By law, all drivers and pedestrians must be aware of their immediate surroundings. Even if a person walks across the street and does not use a crosswalk when a driver has a green light, that driver still has a duty of care to avoid hitting that jaywalker. Likewise, a pedestrian cannot suddenly step off the curb when a car is near, or just stop in the middle of an intersection, or block traffic even when they have the right of way. Any of the above acts are negligent and will greatly reduce a pedestrian’s available damages, regardless of whether they were hit by a car.
Every individual who is using public roads is required to exercise a reasonable level of care. Therefore, a pedestrian who doesn’t follow applicable pedestrian laws will at least be found partially liable for an accident.
Let’s consider an example. Say that a pedestrian was jaywalking between two parked cars and then walked into the path of an oncoming vehicle. In this case, the driver has little to no chance of avoiding that pedestrian. The jaywalking pedestrian in this example will most likely be held liable because he or she failed to follow their legally mandated duty of care as a pedestrian.
Further, if the driver was able to react in time to avoid hitting that pedestrian but crashed into another car in the process, the pedestrian would also be held liable for any losses caused to both the driver and the second vehicle that was struck.
California is a comparative liability state, which means that more than one individual may be found liable, including the pedestrian. Therefore, liability can be divided based on the degree of fault. Damages will also be divided based on the share of fault. Finally, any available damages will be reduced depending on an individual’s degree of fault.
Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in about 5 percent of all verdicts.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help
On the occasion that you have suffered injuries in the city of Los Angeles because of a pedestrian accident, a lawyer at our firm can assist you with recovering reimbursement for the troubles you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Email us at [email protected] or call us today at (213) 927-3700 for a free consultation with our seasoned and qualified legal team.