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The Rights of Pedestrians

Understanding The Rights and Duties of Pedestrians

Whether you enjoy walking for exercise or it’s your preferred method of transportation, sharing the road with motor vehicles can come with some risks. Practicing pedestrian safety and following traffic laws can help reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. However, a driver who practices bad driving habits is beyond your control. So what can you do to stay safe when out for a walk? Read on to learn your rights and duties as a pedestrian.

Breaking Down California Vehicle Code 21950

Pedestrians have rights and duties to ensure everyone’s safety when sharing the road with motor vehicles. According to California Vehicle Code 21950, both pedestrians and drivers must abide by the following rules:

  • Vehicle drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in:
    • Marked crosswalks
    • Unmarked crosswalks at intersections
  • Pedestrians must exercise a duty of care for their safety. For example, pedestrians should refrain from:
    • Suddenly stepping off a curb or other leaving a place of safety.
    • Running or walking into the path of a vehicle too close poses an immediate danger.
    • Blocking/delaying traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  • Vehicle drivers crossing a pedestrian in marked or unmarked crosswalks must exercise a duty of care. This may include reducing vehicle speed or any other actions involving vehicle control to ensure the safety of the pedestrian.

Pedestrian Rights in Pursuing Civil Action

California is an at-fault state for traffic crashes. This means that it’s vital to determine who caused the accident. When determining fault, California follows a “comparative negligence” rule. Under this rule, the amount of compensation for a pedestrian claimant is reduced by the percentage of the pedestrian’s share of responsibility for the accident. Here is an example:

A pedestrian is texting on their phone while walking through an unmarked intersection. An oncoming driver who was under the influence of alcohol then hits the pedestrian. In this case, the pedestrian has the right to sue the driver for their injuries, but the courts may determine that the pedestrian was 10% responsible for the accident. It may be argued that if the pedestrian was more alert and saw the driver coming, an accident may have been avoided. In this case, the pedestrian’s compensation would be reduced by 10%.

The percentage noted above is, for example purposes only. Each pedestrian accident case is unique, and the determination of the percentage of fault is up to the court’s discretion.

When it comes to determining negligence in pedestrian accident claims, it’s critical to have an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner to ensure your rights are protected.

Protecting Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian accidents are one of the most devastating types of traffic crashes. With no protection against motor vehicles, the injuries can be catastrophic. If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident, we are ready to help you seek justice and hold careless drivers accountable for causing your injuries. When you need legal representation for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP is here to help. We’re ready to protect your rights.