Man walking on street

Car Accidents in California: When Is a Pedestrian at Fault?

Pedestrian accidents call for swift legal action. It is a common assumption that the driver is at fault for hitting a pedestrian, but this isn’t always the case in California. Knowing how the law works and seeking legal advice after a pedestrian accident can save you from legal consequences and financial obligations for the damages. 

Here’s what to know about car accidents in California and how a pedestrian might sometimes be at fault. 

Pedestrian Accidents and California Law

California has no clear-cut law for determining fault after a car accident involving a pedestrian. That means it takes an experienced attorney to put together the whole picture and determine who’s responsible. 

California laws regulate where pedestrians can and cannot walk. If a car accident occurs in a place where a pedestrian has the right-of-way, like a crosswalk or sidewalk, likely the driver will bear full responsibility for the accident. 

However, California also recognizes comparative fault. This means that in some situations, both the pedestrian and the driver can share a portion of the fault. When that happens, each is assigned a percentage of fault, and the amount of compensation they can receive is reduced by that percentage. 

Situations in Which a Pedestrian Might Be at Fault

Pedestrians in California don’t have the right to walk wherever and whenever they please. When pedestrians walk somewhere they shouldn’t be, and the result is an accident, they’ll likely bear some or all of the fault. 

Common situations in which a pedestrian is likely to be found at fault in California include: 

  • Using a crosswalk when the “Don’t Walk” sign is lit
  • Crossing in the middle of the street
  • Walking on the road in the dark
  • Walking on bridges or highways
  • Walking in the street instead of on the sidewalk
  • Walking on the wrong side of the road
  • When public intoxication is a factor

Drivers have a responsibility to watch out for pedestrians and drive with care, but pedestrians also have a responsibility. If pedestrians fail to show common sense and follow basic traffic rules, they can be found at fault for the accident. 

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a pedestrian, it’s important to protect yourself by having the right response. 

Call the police to document the accident, but don’t admit fault. Get contact information from any witness who saw the accident occur. Witness testimony after a pedestrian accident can prove in court that the pedestrian was breaking the law or behaving recklessly. 

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help After a Pedestrian Accident

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident in California, you need to protect yourself. The smartest step you can take is to consult with a California personal injury attorney.

The stakes are high after a pedestrian accident. The high chance of serious injury and the driver’s heightened obligation to show care when driving near pedestrians means that working with a lawyer is the only way to protect yourself from excessive or unfair claims. 

If you’ve been deemed at fault for a pedestrian accident, a lawyer might discover that the pedestrian should actually bear some or all of the fault. 

Protect Yourself — Speak with an Attorney First

It’s easy to give information to police and insurance agents that makes you legally at fault for the accident — even if you weren’t. Before you do anything, take advantage of a free consultation. You might be surprised by how a personal injury attorney can help you.   

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident in the Los Angeles area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Saeedian Law Group can help you take action to protect yourself. Get in touch with us today.