Crosswalk Accidents

Were You Seriously Injured While Crossing The Street?

Pedestrians, whether they are tourists exploring the beautiful sights of a new city, or residents taking a stroll, are no match for two-ton vehicles traveling at highway speeds. Negligent and reckless drivers pose a threat to pedestrians every day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2015 alone, and another 129,000 or so were taken to the emergency room to receive treatment for their non-fatal injuries according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Using A Crosswalk Doesn’t Guarantee Safety

While using a crosswalk to cross the street is safer than jaywalking, crosswalks don’t provide guaranteed protection to pedestrians. One of the greatest dangers to people using a crosswalk are distracted drivers. Distracted drivers may not look back at the road in time to notice a pedestrian in their path, so remaining attentive for the entire time you are crossing the street could save your life. Even if the crossing signal flashes the walk sign, taking a moment to look around to see if any cars are too close to come to a complete stop, or to see if a driver is not paying complete attention, could mean the difference between a safe walk and a tragic accident.

This issue becomes even more dangerous when the crosswalk isn’t clearly marked, especially at night. This can occur if the paint, or whatever material is used to signal to passersby that this section of the road includes a crosswalk, is allowed to fade and isn’t replaced, repainted or repaired when necessary. According to the NHTSA, nearly 50 percent of all accidents involving a pedestrian occur between 6 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. If you are attempting to cross the street at this time, it’s important to take extra care to be aware of your surroundings and your personal visibility. Reflective clothing, flashlights, street lights, etc. will all increase your visibility to oncoming drivers. However, this may not always be an option, in which case it becomes even more important to carefully scan the road before taking your first step, and remain aware for the entire time you are crossing the street. While the driver that hits you may be at fault, it’s always best to avoid an accident altogether, no matter whose responsibility it may be.

Laws Protecting Pedestrians On Crosswalks

Crossing the street can be one of the most dangerous situations for pedestrians, even when they are using crosswalks. California law offers a number of protections for those using crosswalks, as outlined in California Vehicle Code 21950 (CVC 21950) and CVC 21954.

CVC 21950 states that:

(a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

(b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

(c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.

As illustrated in CVC 21950 (b), pedestrians are still expected to act in a safe manner when preparing to cross the road using a clearly defined crosswalk, as is further expressed in CVC 21954:

(a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Because of the dual responsibilities imposed by California laws, it’s especially important to hire a knowledgeable and qualified attorney to represent you during your case in order to put yourself in the best possible position to secure the legal outcome you deserve.

If you suffered a serious injury while walking on a crosswalk, give us a call at (619) 215-1488 or fill out our online form here.

Hire The Experienced Legal Representation You Need

If you were seriously injured by a negligent driver while crossing the street, our San Diego personal injury lawyers at The McClellan Law Firm will fight to secure the compensation you deserve. Since we first opened our doors more than 30 years ago, we have obtained over 110 verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million each, and we are committed to providing each new client we take on with the same dedication and experienced representation that brought us this success in the courtroom and at the negotiation table. Give us a call at (619) 215-1488 to discuss your case with a member of our firm today, or fill out our online form for a free consultation.

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