Green, Yellow, And Red Pedestrian Accidents
Although most media outlets routinely use the A-word in these situations, when a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, the incident is not an accident. People accidentally leave the water running. They don’t accidentally ignore pedestrians in their path and run over them. As one might expect, these incidents often cause catastrophic injuries. That’s especially true if, as is usually the case, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was traveling at, near, or above the speed limit at the time of the wreck.
Regardless of what color the light was, or even if the victim was in a crosswalk, a San Jose personal injury attorney can obtain the compensation these victims need and deserve in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. To further ease the financial stress these victims feel, attorneys usually connect victims with doctors who charge nothing upfront for their services.
If the victim is in the crosswalk on green, the victim clearly has the right of way. Under California law, vehicle operators and pedestrians have the same right to use the road. Green light pedestrian accidents are disturbingly common, especially if the tortfeasor was turning right.
Usually, when drivers turn right, they look to the left. They don’t look in any other direction until they’ve completed their turns. As a result, a right-turning driver might never see a pedestrian in the crosswalk to the motorist’s right. That’s especially true if there are any obstructions blocking the driver’s view, like a mailbox or trash can. These instructions don’t excuse negligence. If anything, drivers have a responsibility to slow down and be more careful in these situations.
Usually, the streets of San Francisco have high speed limits and wide lanes. This design helps motorists get from place to place as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for pedestrians, this design makes it almost impossible for them to safely cross a street before a green light turns red.
That’s especially true if the victim has any mobility impairment whatsoever. Usually, red light timers were designed to accommodate pedestrians who walked at a “normal” gait, whatever that definition may be.
If the victim started across the street on green but didn’t make it to the other side in time, California’s comparative fault law usually applies. The victim didn’t have the right of way, but the driver should have stopped anyway.
California is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the tortfeasor was only 1 percent responsible for the wreck, the victim is still entitled to a proportionate share of damages.
Red Light and Non-Crosswalk Accidents
Jaywalking pedestrians have no legal protection under the California Vehicle Code. However, they do have protection under California negligence laws.
All motorists have a duty of reasonable care, no matter what other drivers do or don’t do. This duty requires them to avoid accidents when possible. This requirement includes avoiding pedestrians who are in the street illegally.
The sudden emergency defense, an enhanced form of contributory negligence, sometimes comes up in these cases. Legally, victims are responsible for their own injuries if the tortfeasor reasonably responded to a sudden emergency. Usually, a jaywalking pedestrian isn’t a “sudden emergency.” Instead, a jaywalking pedestrian is an everyday hazard which drivers have a duty to avoid. Therefore, the sudden emergency defense usually doesn’t apply in these situations.
Rely on a Dedicated Santa Clara County Attorney
Car crash claims are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Campbell, contact the Solution Now Law Firm. We have offices in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Oakland.