Pedestrian accidents in California are oftentimes the source of serious – and many times catastrophic – personal injuries. Pedestrian accidents usually take place at crosswalks and intersections, on sidewalks (such as when a vehicle jumps a curb and hits someone), and in parking garages and parking lots. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer knows that since pedestrians and cyclists are fully exposed to the environment around them, and don’t have a car body surrounding them or an airbag or seat belt restraining them, injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents are oftentimes very severe and longstanding.
The most common types of injuries that result from pedestrian accidents are:
- soft tissue neck and back injuries,
- scarring (especially facial scarring),
- broken bones,
- traumatic brain injuries, and,
- in the very worst cases, death.
Despite the possible severe injuries that can result, negligent driving and pedestrian accidents are still all too common. The typical causes of these accidents include distracted driving, negligent driving, and drunk driving. Below, a pedestrian accident lawyer explores some of the more common causes of pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents.
Distracted driving can take many forms. In some cases, it is as simple as diverting one’s attention away from the road, listening to loud music in the car, “rough housing” or fighting with passengers in the car, or talking to passengers in the car while driving. Distracted driving might also involve handheld cellular phone use or texting while driving.
California prohibits drivers from using handheld wireless phones or cellular phones while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Drivers under the age of 18 are even prohibited from using hands-free cellular phones (such as cell phones that operate in the car using Bluetooth technology), but drivers aged 18 or older are not prohibited from doing so. Finally, all California drivers – regardless of their ages – are prohibited from texting while driving.
When drivers are engaged in cell phone calls or text messaging from behind the wheel, they are diverting their attention away from their driving, which should be their sole responsibility at that time. A driver’s one and only priority should be driving safely and taking care to avoid pedestrians and other vehicles. When drivers are distracted, the results can be catastrophic and devastating.
As with distracted driving, negligent driving often takes many forms. Negligent driving usually involves failing to obey traffic laws and other signs on the roadway and at crosswalks and intersections. What follows is a list of the more common types of negligent driving in pedestrian accident cases:
- Failing to obey stop signs, yield signs, and other signs along roadways and at crosswalks and intersections;
- Failing to abide by traffic control devices, such as traffic lights and blinking ‘caution’ lights at traffic/pedestrian intersections
- Not following speed limit signs along roadway and in parking lots and garages;
- Negligently pulling out of parking spaces or failing to look in the rearview mirror before pulling out; and
- Generally disregarding the “rules of the road.”
Drivers must remember that all signs and traffic control devices on the roadway are there for one reason: to keep other vehicle drivers and pedestrians safe and alive.
Negligent driving also involves failing to drive in an appropriate manner for the conditions in existence at that particular time and place. Examples of this type of negligent driving include:
- driving too fast in the fog (or at other times when visibility is low or extremely limited),
- speeding in wet and rainy conditions (resulting in hydroplaning), or
- speeding in parking garages and parking lots.
If an injured pedestrian can prove that a driver violated a traffic statute or other rule of the road, such as running a red light at an intersection or disobeying some other traffic law on the books, he or she can automatically satisfy the “duty” and “breach” elements necessary to prove a negligence case.
Drunk or Impaired Driving
All too often, drivers get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle even after they have been drinking. They may convince themselves that they’re not impaired or that they have a high “alcohol tolerance.” Whatever their reasoning, the results can be catastrophic and sometimes deadly. The truth is that impaired driving and drunk driving are one in the same.
In California, a driver may not operate a motor vehicle when his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher (i.e. for someone aged 21 years or older). Drunk driving puts everyone on or near the roadway, including pedestrians, at risk. Because drunk driving is such a serious problem, offenders – especially repeat offenders – can be subject to heavy fines and severe criminal penalties.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
If you or someone you know has been severely injured in a pedestrian accident – particularly one involving a motor vehicle – an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer at Russell & Lazarus will help you at every stage of your case. You should not delay in seeking legal representation, as there are statutes of limitations, as well as other deadlines and notice requirements. Please feel free to contact our office at any time, via telephone or email, for an initial consultation.