California is one of the most dangerous states to be a pedestrian. In 2016, pedestrian fatalities went up 16 percent, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, and in 2017, more than 2.43 pedestrian fatalities were recorded per 100,000 people.
San Diego residents know that walking throughout the city and in outlying areas is risky, especially after dark. In 2013, 71 percent of pedestrian deaths across the nation happened at dawn/dusk or nighttime, when it’s difficult for drivers to see. Also unnaturally high in California are hit and runs, and 60 percent of these accidents in the state involve pedestrians, so knowing your options is important in case you’re hit. Speaking to a San Diego pedestrian accident attorney could be in your best interest.
Right of Way and California Pedestrian Law
We all know to look both ways before we cross the street, but just because a pedestrian is careful, doesn’t mean they’re not at-fault or give them the right of way. While drivers have the responsibility not to hit a person, pedestrians also have a responsibility to cross the road as safely as possible.
Drivers who fail to yield the right of way to a pedestrian face a minimum fine of $220 if the person is injured. If a driver fails to yield to a blind person, the punishment is much steeper; they’ll be saddled with a $1,000 maximum fine and/or up to six months in prison.
California state law can keep drivers from facing criminal charges if they follow the law, but they don’t take away fault. A driver must exercise due care to avoid hitting someone, even if a person walks out in the street when the driver has a green light or without a crosswalk. It’s the same for pedestrians. You cannot obstruct traffic by stopping in an intersection or stepping off the curb in front of a car, even in cases where you have the right of way. Both pedestrians and drivers must be mindful of what’s around them.
Filing California Pedestrian Accident Claims
We talked about hit and run accidents before, and it’s imperative that you know that you can still obtain compensation for any injuries and damages you incur, even if a driver flees and no witnesses catch their license plate number. In these instances, and when a driver is uninsured, your medical insurance should cover your medical bills. Likewise, if you have auto insurance, you may be able to file a claim even though you weren’t behind the wheel. Of course, this is only if you have uninsured motorist coverage, but it’s a standard requirement on most car insurance policies.
Our state also works with the comparative negligence system. This means that if you are partially at fault as a pedestrian, your compensation may be reduced. An example would be if your settlement amount is $8,000, but you were proven to be 20 percent at fault, then your payout would only be $6,400 of that. Make sure you document the scene, so you can prevent being unfairly labeled at-fault.
Our San Diego Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you are a pedestrian hit by a car in San Diego, an experienced lawyer at the Disability Help Center in San Diego County can help you recoup damages. Contact us today at 1-888-418-8860 or fill out our online form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.