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Common Types of Pedestrian Accidents and How to Reduce the Chances of Getting Involved in One

Fresno has been known as one of the most dangerous cities for drivers in California. Accidents are quite common and about 64 percent of them involve pedestrians. In 2018, it was reported that 21 fatal pedestrian accidents occurred on Fresno streets. With an alarming amount of injuries and casualties, police have urged residents and visitors to walk cautiously on crosswalks since it is not always guaranteed that a driver will give a pedestrian the right-of-way. 

Under California law, a driver is required to give the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing the street within any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Those who violate this law will face legal repercussions, such as criminal charges, fines, penalties, and/or a personal injury lawsuit. In California, the fine for violating CVC 21950 is $238. One point will also be added to the driver’s DMV record. If the driver is given 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months, they will be at risk of getting their license suspended. 

Penalties for vehicular manslaughter in California will depend on whether the driver’s actions are considered as gross or ordinary negligence. If the driver committed gross negligence, then they will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. The misdemeanor sentence for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence is up to one year in county jail, while a felony sentence would be six years in state prison. If the driver committed ordinary negligence, then they will be charged with a misdemeanor. The driver may face up to one year in county jail.

Victims of a pedestrian accident may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at-fault for their injuries and damages. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our Fresno pedestrian accident attorneys have over 60 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our Fresno personal injury law firm, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (559) 272-9881 or emailing info@westcoasttriallawyers.com.

Types of Pedestrian Accidents

There are multiple factors that have contributed to the cause of a pedestrian accident. This includes the following: 

  1. Vehicle Backing Up. This type of accident typically occurs in parking lots. Drivers are expected to carefully observe their surroundings prior to performing actions, such as backing up their vehicle. If a driver fails to notice any pedestrians near their vehicle, it will likely result in a pedestrian accident. 
  2. Off-Road. This may occur when a driver veers off the road and strikes a pedestrian who is on the sidewalk or is standing too close to the edge of the road.
  3. Side of the Road. If a sidewalk is not present, a pedestrian is expected to walk on the far right side of the road. However, this can be dangerous to do, especially at night. A pedestrian may appear less visible, which can ultimately result in a vehicle unknowingly crashing into them. 
  4. Crossing a Highway. Oftentimes, a vehicle may become unresponsive or break down in the middle of the highway. The driver of the vehicle will likely feel obliged to cross the highway to get to a safe location that is away from traffic. However, they are putting their lives at risk of running in front of multiple oncoming vehicles. 
  5. Vehicle Driving Through an Intersection. This type of accident can be triggered by a malfunctioning traffic signal or a negligent driver. 
  6. Vehicle Turning at an Intersection. A driver must be aware of their surroundings prior to performing actions, such as merging, making lane changes, or turning at an intersection. Unfortunately, many reckless and impatient drivers choose to turn regardless of whether they notice a pedestrian crossing the street. 
  7. Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian Using the Crosswalk. As previously stated, under California law, a driver is required to provide a right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. However, there are negligent drivers who continue to drive even when a pedestrian is still walking on the crosswalk. This is extremely dangerous as the driver could severely injure or kill the pedestrian. 
  8. Sudden Dash Across the Street. This type of accident is caused by a negligent pedestrian who is attempting to make a sudden dash to cross the street while being fully aware of oncoming vehicles heading their way. Generally, a pedestrian will be found at-fault for causing this type of accident, however, the driver could also be held accountable if they were performing illegal actions, such as speeding or driving while under the influence.

How to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents

Streets are commonly designed to provide convenience to drivers more so than pedestrians, which leaves pedestrians in a vulnerable position. To better the chances of a pedestrian safely walking on the streets of Fresno, we have created a list of tips that should be taken into consideration when going out for a walk.

  1. Walk Defensively. Be aware of your surroundings while walking on the sidewalk or crosswalk. 
  2. Stay Off Your Phone When Walking. Do not allow your phone to distract you from focusing on your surroundings. Gluing your eyes to your phone may cause you to bump into an object, such as a light post, tree, or vehicle. 
  3. Use a Crosswalk. If you need to cross the street, you must use a crosswalk. Jaywalking will likely cause you to get into an accident with oncoming vehicles.
  4. Make Eye Contact. Do not always assume that a driver will give you the right-of-way when you are walking on a crosswalk. Make sure to give eye contact to drivers to let them know that you are about to cross the street.
  5. Beware of Parked Cars. You should make careful observations of parked vehicles while you are walking in a parking lot. If you notice a driver attempting to back up, you should walk as far away from the vehicle as possible. 
  6. Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street. Even though you are given the right-of-way to cross a marked or unmarked crosswalk, it is not always 100 percent guaranteed that a driver will yield to you. Always make sure to look both ways to check for any oncoming vehicle in order to safely cross the street.
  7. Make Sure You Are Visible to Drivers. It is recommended for pedestrians to wear light-colored or reflective clothing, especially at nighttime, to appear more visible to drivers.
  8. Avoid Drinking Alcohol Before Going Out for a Walk. Alcohol may cause blurry vision, slurred speech and hearing, and lack of control. These symptoms can make it difficult for a pedestrian to remain stable when walking on the sidewalk. 

Available Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. It is 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, and 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. It may include compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and 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. It is relatively rare and, in fact, is only incorporated in 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. 

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you were injured due to a pedestrian accident and would like to pursue legal actions against the party at-fault, our Fresno pedestrian accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for losses you have suffered. 

Reach out to us today by calling (559) 272-9881 or emailing info@westcoasttriallawyers.com to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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