What Are Common Causes Of Pedestrian Accidents Involving Automobiles?
Probably the most common cause of pedestrian accidents involving automobiles is inattention on the part of the driver. Most accidents of any kind start with driver of a car either not looking or looking but not seeing. Both are caused by a lack of focus and attention, and are often the result of distractions such as cell phone use, adjusting a radio or MP3 player, consulting a map or lack of familiarity with a route or destination, conversations with passengers, eating or drinking while driving, or a parent admonishing children in a rear seat. Time of day can be a factor, especially at dusk when a pedestrian crossing a street is more difficult to see or a car driving towards a setting sun, especially with a dirty windshield. In my 44 years of practice handling personal injury cases, I have seen all of the above, and much more.
Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable in any collision with a moving vehicle . A pedestrian is without protection and without a means to avoid an oncoming distracted driver. It is important for pedestrians to remember not only that they are extremely vulnerable to serious injuries, but that drivers of cars cannot be relied upon to look out for them. All too often drivers of cars incorrectly and unsafely assume that the roadway is clear when it is not.
The most important thing that you can do as a pedestrian is assume the driver of an oncoming vehicle does not see you, and take the steps you need to do to ensure your safety. It is the pedestrian version of defensive driving. You may have the right of way, but don’t assume the driver is going to yield that right of way to you. A common example of this involves a pedestrian crossing the street within a crosswalk at a controlled intersection with a green walk signal. As the pedestrian steps off the curb, a car makes a right turn and enters that crosswalk and strikes the pedestrian. This is extremely common because the driver of the car is looking to their left for oncoming cross traffic, and fails to turn their head back to the right to make sure that that crosswalk is clear. Before stepping off of a curb and into the street or a crosswalk make eye contact with the driver of the car or truck.
Even though you may have the right of way or a green walk signal, take the time to make eye contact. If you see that the driver’s head is turned away from you, hold off and take the time to wait. This could save you from a terrible injury.
What Are Common Types Of Injuries That Pedestrians Suffer When Struck By A Motor Vehicle In California?
Pedestrian injuries as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle are terrible across the board. They often involve broken bones, internal injuries, head and brain injuries, severe spinal injuries, deep lacerations, abrasions, and scarring. The injuries suffered by pedestrians struck by moving vehicles are usually extremely serious, frequently catastrophic, and can often lead to long-term disability and even death. Keeping in mind your vulnerability as an unprotected pedestrian and the catastrophic injuries a vehicle can cause are crucial to your safety.
Do Motorists Owe A Special Duty Towards Pedestrians Under California State Law?
Under all circumstances, the driver of a car has the responsibility to be vigilant and watch out for all hazards on the road, especially pedestrians. Even if you are in the middle of the street, in the middle of the block, or even jaywalking (which is a violation of the law), that does not give the driver of a car license to strike you. Even if you’re somewhere where you should not be as a pedestrian, drivers must watch out for you and stop for you. If they don’t, they are at fault. The consequences of getting hit by a car are just too terrible and everyone, driver and pedestrian, must exercise good judgment to avoid these catastrophes.
As A Pedestrians Do I Have Any Duty Towards Motorists In California?
Yes, absolutely. That duty stems from common sense. When you are out and about, the fact is there are distracted drivers on the roads, and you need to be careful and take responsibility for your own safety. These are things that we teach our children, and yet as adults, sometimes we forget. So, just use common sense.
Second, there are things that you can do to avoid accidents, which is to just obey the law. There are reasons for these pedestrian laws, and they’re designed to protect you. Always cross at a crosswalk. Don’t cross a street on a red light. Wear light clothing if you are going to be crossing a street at night.
Crosswalks can be marked at a corner with the two painted lines allowing you to cross a street from corner to corner. There are also unmarked crosswalks. It is important that you do not cross a street unless you have a crosswalk in front of you, either marked or unmarked. At night, do something to make yourself more visible such as wear light clothing or carry a flashlight. These are things that you can do to help avoid being the victim of a collision as a pedestrian.
For more information on Common Causes Of Pedestrian Accidents In CA, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (818) 530-1770 today.