Pedestrian Accident Liability: Who Is At Fault?

California Pedestrian Accident Liability 

Pedestrian accidents involving driver negligence

There is a growing need for pedestrian safety in Southern California, especially in San Bernardino. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users and face the most risk because they lack the protection of a vehicle. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 7,508 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2022, the highest number in 40 years. Determining pedestrian accident liability can be difficult, as both the driver and the pedestrian may share fault. 

If you or a loved one was a victim of a negligent driver, contact a San Bernardino pedestrian accident lawyer at Arrowhead Accident Attorneys. Our law firm can get you the compensation you deserve to feel whole again. Call us at (909) 453-2040 or fill out our online form to get started.


San Bernardino Pedestrian Accident Statistics

In San Bernardino County, 16,123 people were injured or killed in car accidents in 2019. Bicyclists and pedestrians made up 5% of these vehicle collision victims. This represents an almost 50% increase between 2010 and 2019.

The San Bernardino Police Department states that the most common driver violations that lead to bicycle and pedestrian accidents are speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, making illegal turns, failing to yield the right of way, and running red lights and stop signs. 

Pedestrians may suffer serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and head injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries. 


Who Is At Fault: The Driver or the Pedestrian?

driver negligence

Fault in a California pedestrian accident is based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to others. Essentially, it is carelessness. 

Drivers have a duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws. If they violate this duty, either by speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield, they will be found negligent and therefore held liable for any damages. Pedestrians can also violate their own duty of care. This could be jaywalking or stepping onto the path of an oncoming vehicle. 

In many cases, it is the driver who is at fault in a pedestrian accident case. However, there are instances where both the pedestrian and the driver share some degree of fault.


Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents in California

Comparative negligence and driver's negligence

The state of California abides by a “pure comparative negligence” law. This means that even if one party is 99% at fault, they can still claim damages for the remaining 1%. The court’s decision on how much blame each party will affect how much money the injured person can get. For example, if an injured pedestrian suffered $100,000 in damages but is 30% at fault, he or she will only be able to recover $70,000 in damages. 

If a driver fails to act responsibly by violating a traffic law, he or she could be found negligent. Examples of driver negligence include excessive speed, impaired driving, and distracted driving. According to California Vehicle Code, motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks. 

Examples of pedestrian negligence include not utilizing a pedestrian crossing, walking against a traffic signal, walking in a roadway, or walking while impaired. If a pedestrian was found to be partially liable for the accident, the compensation awarded will be reduced accordingly. An experienced attorney can walk you through pedestrian accident liability during a free consultation.


Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers

Prevent a car accident both the driver and injured pedestrian

All road users must follow the rules of the road to protect their own safety and the safety of others. To prevent injuries and accidents, the San Bernardino Police Department suggests some actions for motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians to follow:

For Pedestrians:

  • Follow the rules. Walk on sidewalks and dross at designated crosswalks when available.
  • Pay attention to traffic signals. Be careful when crossing and make eye contact with the driver.
  • Avoid getting in the way of a vehicle. A driver going at 30 mph needs at least 90 feet to stop.
  • Stand out. Wear bright colors and use a flashlight, especially when it is dark. 
  • Be extra cautious at night. Most California pedestrian accidents happen at night. Be careful when crossing at night or on busy roads. 

For Drivers:

  • Obey traffic laws. Follow the speed limit and slow down when approaching an intersection. Stop and wait for pedestrians who are crossing the road.
  • Do not stop or park on crosswalks. Avoid blocking a pedestrian crossing when you want to turn right. Do not park within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. 
  • Don’t drink and drive. It is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Look before backing up. In parking lots, schools, and residential areas, be careful when backing up and look for pedestrians. 
  • Use caution at night and in bad weather. Pedestrians are harder to see in these conditions. 


Speak to a San Bernardino Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Personal injury claims for pedestrian accidents in California

Vehicle accidents involving pedestrians can lead to devastating physical injuries and emotional trauma. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a pedestrian accident in California, you would benefit from speaking to a San Bernardino pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

At Arrowhead Accident Attorneys, we have the experience, knowledge, and skills to win your personal injury lawsuit. We will investigate the cause of the accident, gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and take your case to trial if necessary. 

To schedule a free consultation with one of our San Bernardino pedestrian accident attorneys, call us today at (909) 453-2040 or fill out our online injury claim form. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we win your case.

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