According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 76,000 pedestrian accidents in the United States in 2012. In that same year, California ranked number one in pedestrian accident fatalities.
Crosswalks are the part of the road set aside for pedestrian traffic. Most intersections have crosswalks, whether or not they are marked by painted lines. Although most crosswalks are at a corner, some are in the middle of the street. Pedestrian accidents in Long Beach and other Southern California cities occur both inside and outside crosswalks.
Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way?
Drivers and bicycle riders know they have an obligation to yield to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk. Many do not realize they also have an obligation to yield to pedestrians they see, or should have seen, outside a crosswalk. The lack of a crosswalk does not give a driver or rider the right to endanger a pedestrian who is crossing the street in front of them. Drivers and riders are always required to take appropriate action to avoid striking a pedestrian whether they are inside or outside a crosswalk.
Many people assume if a pedestrian is hit outside a crosswalk he or she is barred from suing the driver of the motor vehicle, or rider of the bicycle, who hit them. That is not the case. Even though a pedestrian is outside a crosswalk, he or she may still sue and recover damages from a driver, or rider, who is reckless and/or negligent in avoiding them.
Can a Pedestrian be Considered At-Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrians have a duty of care for their own safety. They should not suddenly run out into the street or purposely hold up traffic. That being said, the duty of care for drivers and riders who must yield to pedestrians, is much greater than for the pedestrians themselves. Even though drivers and riders have the higher duty of care, depending upon the circumstances, a pedestrian hit outside a crosswalk may be found partially to blame in a pedestrian accident. This does not bar the pedestrian from suing the driver, or rider, who hit them. Instead, any compensation the pedestrian is awarded will be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to the pedestrian.
Contact an Experienced Long Beach Pedestrian Accident Attorney to Assist You with Your Claim
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