Pedestrian Rights and Obligations in California

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April 02, 2018
Edward Smith

Pedestrian Rights and Obligations in California

Rights and Obligations for Pedestrians in California

When the weather is good, pedestrians are outdoors going about their business in Sacramento. However, in 2015, 228 pedestrians were either injured or died after being struck by a motor vehicle. Learning what the laws are regarding pedestrians and pedestrian rights and obligations is important.

Crossing Streets

While pedestrians have the right of way at designated or undesignated intersections, they still have legal obligations to stay out of harm’s way. The following are areas where a pedestrian may share the blame or be held responsible for a motor vehicle injury.

  • Walking across a street when the “Do Not Walk” sign is in force
  • Darting out in front of a vehicle
  • Stepping out between parked cars
  • Crossing in the middle of the street when pedestrian crossings are not present, known as jaywalking
  • Walking in prohibited areas where walkers are not allowed such as along highways or bridges
  • Being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • Walking while distracted such as talking on a cell phone, texting or listening to music with earphones

When Drivers Can Be Found Liable

A pedestrian who is struck and injured by the driver of a motor vehicle may be entitled to compensation for those injuries and other expenses. The following are some of the negligent behaviors by drivers that contribute to pedestrian accidents.

  • Speeding: Speed limits are posted for a reason. They are to ensure the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Driving above the speed limit reduces a driver’s reaction time and ability to stop in an emergency.
  • Drunk driving: Drunk driving is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents. Because alcohol consumption impairs thinking, reaction time, and coordination, it can lead to a collision with a pedestrian. In 2015, 1,080 drivers were arrested in Sacramento for drunk driving, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
  • Failure to yield: Drivers are obligated to yield to pedestrians at designated and undesignated intersections and crosswalks.
  • Fatigued driving: Drivers can suffer from fatigue due to a number of reasons. From insomnia and sleep apnea to working hours that are too long, this can contribute to pedestrian accidents.
  • Not signaling: Making a turn without signaling may give a pedestrian the false impression that the vehicle is going straight.

Injuries From Pedestrian Accidents

  • Traumatic brain injuries: These are among the most serious injuries to a pedestrian.  Symptoms can include memory problems and sensory problems such as blurred vision, according to WebMD. Some brain-injured individuals are never the same again, requiring round-the-clock care.
  • Spinal cord injuries: These can range from ligament damage to spinal fracture or dislocated discs. In extreme cases, it can lead to paralysis.
  • Broken bones: This type of injury is common in pedestrian accidents due to the vulnerability of a pedestrian in a collision with a motor vehicle.
  • Lower legs: The lower legs are the location where a motor vehicle strikes an adult. Injuries can range from bruises and broken bones to lacerations.

Pedestrian Accident Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento pedestrian accident lawyer. When you are a pedestrian and are struck by a car, you can suffer serious injuries. If this happened to you or someone you love, give me a call at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 if you are outside the calling area. I am here to offer advice that is friendly and free of cost. If you prefer, you can use my contact form.

Go to Yelp, Avvo, or Google to see what others have said about my work as an injury lawyer. You can also look over some of our previous cases at Verdicts & Settlements.

Million Dollar Advocates, a group I belong to, accepts membership only from trial lawyers who have obtained settlements/verdicts for clients of one million dollars.

Since 1982, I’ve helped the people of Sacramento and Northern California with their personal injury claims to obtain fair compensation in areas from wrongful death to traumatic injuries like brain injuries.

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