Pedestrian’s Rights in a Crosswalk
It is a common belief that pedestrians always have the right of way in a crosswalk, but this is not always true in California in every situation. California Vehicle Code 21950 requires drivers to yield the right-of-way by a driver to any person crossing the road on foot within any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, but with some exceptions.
For example, the law provides that:
- Pedestrians cannot leave a curb suddenly when it creates an immediate hazard for drivers.
- Pedestrians cannot cross in the immediate path of oncoming traffic.
- Pedestrians cannot cause an unnecessary delay or stoppage of traffic while crossing in a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians should allow cars already moving to pass through the intersection before walking on a “walk” signal.
- Pedestrians should not begin crossing when a walk signal is already blinking (with no countdown clock) or if it will take them longer than the countdown to cross.
- Pedestrians should not stand in a bike lane that is adjacent to a crosswalk.
While pedestrian crossings do have their limitations, a violation of pedestrian law by someone walking does not give a driver the right to simply hit the pedestrian. Drivers still have the responsibility to pay attention and operate their vehicles with care to ensure the safety of pedestrians on the road.
Pedestrians have responsibilities, but even the safest pedestrian can still get hit by a car and suffer serious injuries.
Failure to Yield to Pedestrians
A driver who violates pedestrian laws and fails to properly yield to crosswalks can receive two penalties, even if there is no accident involving a pedestrian:
- A fine of $238, and
- One point assessed to the driver’s DMV driving record.
The penalties could increase if a driver injured a pedestrian in an accident. In addition, a driver in this situation can face liability for all the losses the pedestrian incurred due to their injuries. This can include medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, and a pedestrian can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to seek the financial recovery they deserve from a negligent driver.
Shared Fault in Pedestrian Accidents
Comparative negligence is a rule that allows a defendant to reduce the amount of money he or she is required to pay to a victim when the victim was also negligent. The reduction is a percentage based on the percentage of liability a victim had for the accident. For example:
- The insurance company alleges you were 30 percent liable for your accident
- Your settlement will be reduced by 30 percent
This commonly arises in pedestrian accidents when the driver claims the pedestrian did not follow right-of-way rules. If an insurance company tries to blame you for your pedestrian accident and injuries, an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can challenge your level of liability. This helps to ensure you receive the maximum amount you deserve under the law.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, you may want to consult with an Orange County pedestrian accident attorney to help you in filing a claim and getting compensation for your injuries. Contact us online today.