When you hear the word “accident” your mind immediately jumps to picture motor vehicle crashes. However, another type of accident has been on the rise and it causes serious damages and even fatalities almost every day.
Pedestrian accidents are more dangerous than other motor vehicle accidents because the pedestrian has nothing to shield them from the impact in an accident.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s preliminary report for 2021, over 958 pedestrian fatalities took place in the year 2021. That number is about 68 people less than the year prior, but the pandemic definitely had something to do with that.
Unfortunately, even though the number of fatalities went down, the number of pedestrian accidents went up in 2021. About 70% of these incidents took place at night when visibility is low and drivers tend to drive faster.
The state of California has numerous laws to help determine who is at fault when an accident takes place. When seeking damages through a personal injury suit, the laws surrounding the accident will be the first thing your attorney would look at to see if you have a strong case.
In the following article, we’ll go through some of the most important pedestrian laws in California.
Laws About Crossing the Street
Crosswalks are one of the main areas where pedestrian accidents are prominent. The state of California has various laws in place to keep pedestrians safe on the streets and in crosswalks with the main code being California Vehicle Code §21950 “Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties”.
This law states that vehicles must yield to pedestrians walking a crosswalk because they always have the right of way.
Pedestrians must also exercise a duty of care for their safety by not leaving a curb suddenly, walking or running into the path of an approaching vehicle, or delaying traffic while on a crosswalk.
The California code includes a statute for pedestrians crossing the streets in areas where no crosswalks exist. California Vehicle Code §21954 states that pedestrians crossing a street where no crosswalk is available must yield to all vehicles and traffic that are near and could constitute an immediate hazard.
The law states that this does not relieve vehicles from exercising duty of care for pedestrians crossing the road even on unmarked crosswalks.
Laws That Protect Pedestrians in California
There are numerous laws in the state of California that tackle the issue of pedestrian safety on the road. Motor vehicle drivers are required to be mindful of pedestrians while driving, to stay in their lane, and to be on high caution when driving through heavily trafficked areas.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
Getting involved in a pedestrian accident can be a traumatic experience. If you find yourself in this position, regardless of the reason why the accident happened, it’s important to act immediately.
There are a few steps you should try to go through to protect your rights as a victim and to help you if you were to file a case later on.
- If you’ve been struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian, the first step is to make sure no one is seriously hurt and in need of medical assistance.
- Next, you should immediately contact the police and remain at the scene until they arrive.
- If you’re able to, take pictures of the place where the accident took place and note down the contact information of any bystanders or witnesses that might be able to help.
- Finally, you should contact a local personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer could represent you, protect and fight for your rights, and make sure all of this is happening promptly.