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 a lawsuit may come about. A pedestrian accident lawyer will consider the following laws when determining who is at-fault for causing a pedestrian accident.
- A driver is expected to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian that is crossing a roadway with any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
- A driver must never stop within a crosswalk because it will force the pedestrian to walk around the vehicle, which can be very dangerous.
- A pedestrian is not allowed to jaywalk. If a driver gets into an accident because he or she was trying to avoid hitting a jaywalker, then the jaywalking pedestrian will be held liable.
- A driver should never pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk. The stopped driver could be waiting for a pedestrian to cross safely.
- A driver is only allowed to drive on a sidewalk when they are entering or exiting a garage or alleyway. The driver is expected to yield to pedestrians before driving off..
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.