Sacramento Pedestrian Accidents and Crosswalks


Accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians can lead to complex legal questions regarding fault and liability. In California, determining who is at fault in such incidents is crucial and depends on carefully examining the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. California operates under a pure comparative negligence system, which means that even if a pedestrian is partially at fault, they may still be eligible to recover damages for their losses. This article delves into the negligence rules in California, explores the importance of crosswalks, and highlights the factors that come into play when determining fault in pedestrian accidents.

Negligence Rules in California

In the Golden State, both pedestrians and drivers are expected to adhere to traffic laws, signs, and signals diligently. Drivers must stay within the posted speed limits, maintain their position within the correct lanes, pay unwavering attention to the road, and avoid distractions like cell phone usage or texting while driving.

Similarly, pedestrians are not exempt from their responsibilities. They are obligated to exercise ordinary care to prevent accidents. This includes looking for oncoming traffic before stepping onto the street and taking reasonable precautions to avoid potential collisions. Both drivers and pedestrians have the right to expect that others sharing the road will fulfill their duties and adhere to the law.

The Role of Crosswalks

Crosswalks often play a pivotal role in pedestrian accidents, and some people may mistakenly assume that a driver is automatically absolved of blame if a pedestrian fails to use a crosswalk correctly or violates specific safety protocols. However, determining fault in any injury case must consider the totality of the circumstances.

When an accident occurs outside the boundaries of a crosswalk, it does not automatically assign fault to the pedestrian. Pedestrians using crosswalks have the right-of-way, and motorists must yield to them and exercise due care. Similarly, pedestrians crossing just outside the confines of a crosswalk also enjoy the right-of-way.

Pedestrians who cross the street well outside the boundaries of a crosswalk must yield to oncoming traffic. However, this duty is not absolute. The crucial issue for a jury is whether the pedestrian exercised reasonable care while crossing the street.

For example, if a pedestrian patiently waited by the side of the road, observed for a safe break in traffic, and then proceeded to cross but was struck by a speeding vehicle that abruptly changed lanes in front of them, the jury could reasonably conclude that the pedestrian was not negligent. In such circumstances, despite the failure to use a crosswalk, the jury might assign fault to the driver.

Consult an Experienced Sacramento Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you or a family member has experienced injuries in an accident and need advice regarding your legal choices, it is recommended to reach out to a well-informed Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney. Feel free to get in touch with our legal team at either (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We can offer valuable guidance on your potential claims and assist you in navigating the intricate legal terrain related to pedestrian accidents in California.

Editor's Note: updated 11.2.23 Photo by Jesus Kiteque on Unsplash [cs 533]

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