Pedestrian Accident Laws – Los Angeles
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released pedestrian injury data for the calendar year 2016 which shows that 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related accidents. In 2015, approximately 129,000 pedestrians were injured and treated for non-fatal crash-related injuries. Pedestrian-driver injuries are far too common and need to be addressed by drivers and pedestrians so those numbers can be reduced. The following are some laws and rules that both drivers and pedestrians should be aware of.
At Intersections, Pedestrians Usually Have the Right-of-Way
Under most circumstances, drivers in California must yield to pedestrians crossing the street at an intersection. California Vehicle Code §21950 requires that drivers give pedestrians the right of way at intersections, even at intersections where there is no crosswalk. But the vehicle code also specifies that pedestrians need to look out for their own safety and in some cases need to yield to motor vehicle traffic. Pedestrian accident lawyers in Los Angeles know all-too-well of the importance of careful driving, pedestrian safety, and effective traffic laws.
Drivers are Legally Obligated to Obey the Law and Exercise Due care
Drivers must use caution and due care while approaching an intersection where a pedestrian is walking or running. When approaching intersections, drivers must reduce their speed or take any action that would ensure the safety of pedestrians. It is an indisputable fact that drivers who don’t pay attention to the road risk hitting a pedestrian, causing them serious injury.
Pedestrians are Legally Obligated to Obey the Law and Exercise Due Care
California law also places a duty of care on pedestrians. The law states that pedestrians are not relieved of their duty of care when it comes to their own safety. For instance, pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb or any place of safety and walk or run out in front of traffic. They also may not unnecessarily stop or delay traffic by standing in the road. A pedestrian who does not exercise due care and causes injury to themselves or others can be held liable for their actions.
Rational Behavior: Drivers and Pedestrians Must Use Common Sense
For reasons of safety, drivers and pedestrians should never assume that the other is going to yield to them. When a driver sees a pedestrian in their path, they should always slow down or stop to allow the pedestrian to safely cross the street. Pedestrians should also use caution when walking in the street. They should always yield to drivers, never step in front of moving vehicles, and always look both ways before crossing, even if the crossing light gives them a legal right to be in the intersection.
Where Else Can You Legally Walk in Los Angeles
1. Sidewalks – When walking on the sidewalk and crossing an exit/entrance, such as a parking lot or driveway, pedestrians always have the right-of-way.
2. Street – Pedestrians can legally walk in the street if there is no sidewalk immediately next to the street. But, when walking in the street, they must walk in the direction facing oncoming traffic. Walking in that direction allows pedestrians to see vehicles headed towards them, giving them time to move out of the way of oncoming vehicles. Whenever pedestrians find it necessary to walk in the street they should stay as far away from traffic as possible. For instance, if a pedestrian must walk in the street and sees a car coming, they should move away from the oncoming vehicle long enough for it to pass.
3. Bike Lanes – Pedestrians may not walk on bike lanes unless it is unavoidable. Bike lanes are considered traffic lanes for bicycles and should be viewed in the same way as car lanes.
In California, pedestrians generally have two years to file a personal injury claim, but lawyers advise against waiting that long. The sooner a Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney can begin working on a case, the more information they can gather, the more likely they will win, and the quicker the case will be settled.
But how do you find a qualified, trustworthy pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles? It isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Ask the people you trust, look online to see which legal firms have outstanding ratings, and check to see who has received awards and accolades for their work.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you should consult with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles who is experienced in pedestrian-related accidents. M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers are top-rated pedestrian accident lawyers in Los Angeles who work hard to get clients the maximum settlement possible. Give us a call at (818) 650-3861, or contact us and fill out the online form. We will get back to you promptly.