Pedestrians can be involved in accidents on either public property like a roadway or private property like a parking lot. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed on roadways in the United States in 2018. That would be the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the last 30 years and a four percent increase from 2017. Given the fact that 432 pedestrian deaths had already occurred in California by June of 2018, an estimated minimum of 850 pedestrian deaths are expected to tallied for that year. In Visalia, around half a dozen pedestrians are killed in accidents every year.
Speed and the Odds of Survival
According to the AAA Traffic Foundation, a pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has an 93 percent chance of survival. At 30 mph, those odds decrease to about 80 percent. At 35 mph, it turns into a coin toss, and at 40 mph, the pedestrian has only a 10 percent chance of surviving.
General Rules for Pedestrian Safety in Visalia
Two general rules have been codified in California for the safety of pedestrians. First, California Vehicle Code 21960 requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in a marked crosswalk or at an intersection. Next, California Vehicle Code 21709 prohibits drivers from traveling through safety zones. These two statutes don’t mean that a driver can otherwise ignore pedestrians when they’re seen in a roadway outside of a crosswalk, intersection or safety zone. Under the law of negligence, there is still a common law duty to use due care and caution for the safety of others. That duty would also apply in a private parking lot.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are a variety of reasons why pedestrian accidents happen. Most of them occur in a roadway. Here are some of the most common causes of such accidents:
- Unmarked Crosswalks: If a pedestrian crosswalk is clearly marked, the chances of a pedestrian accident diminish drastically.
- Left Turns: When a motorist is turning left, and a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, they’re ordinarily looking in different directions. Far more pedestrian accidents occur when drivers are turning left rather than when they’re turning right.
- Driver Distraction: Mobile phones can be used for any number of purposes. People rely on them increasingly, even when they’re behind the wheel.
- Rolling Stops: Some drivers are always in a hurry. They might not look for pedestrians when required to stop.
- Dark Clothing: There is far less visibility at night. Pedestrians wearing dark clothes after sunset place themselves at a higher risk of being hit.
- Alcohol and Drugs: Drivers who are impaired from alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two can suffer from compromised judgment and awareness. Pedestrians can too.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians are vulnerable and exposed to serious injuries when they’re hit by a motor vehicle, even at low speeds. They have nothing to protect them from either the impact with the vehicle or the impact with the pavement. Serious injuries can result. Here are a few of them:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
- Hip and leg fractures.
- Torn cartilage and ligaments in the knee and ankle.
- Arm, wrist and hand fractures.
- Internal organ damage.
- Serious cuts and abrasions that can lead to severe infection.
California Comparative Negligence
The fact that pedestrians generally have the right-of-way doesn’t mean that they can step out in front of an oncoming car, especially when they see that car ahead of time. Pedestrians also have a duty to use due care and caution for their own safety. There are times when an accident occurs, and the pedestrian is partially at fault. That’s when the percentage of fault attributable to the pedestrian must be deducted from the gross award. For example, if a pedestrian is hit by a motorist, and that pedestrian is determined to be 25 percent at fault for the accident, a $100,000 verdict would be reduced to $75,000.
Victims and Families Must Act Quickly
In most pedestrian accident cases, there are differing versions of events. A thorough investigation into each pedestrian accident needs to be performed right away. Evidence can be disposed of, and vehicles can be repaired. The recollections of witnesses might get hazy over time, or a crucial witness can vanish into thin air. Victims of pedestrian accidents and their families must act quickly, especially in the event that the crash was caused by a hit-and-run or uninsured driver.
Contact a Visalia Pedestrian Injury Lawyer
If you were hit by a vehicle and injured as a pedestrian or lost a family member in such a crash, contact our offices right away and arrange for a free consultation and case review with a Visalia pedestrian accident lawyer.
Your pedestrian accident claim begins with an attorney consultation. Before you negotiate with insurance companies, get in touch with our lawyer to discuss your legal options. When you work with Maison Law, you can have confidence that our legal team is handling every aspect of your claim. If your it requires an expert opinion, we’ll hire the best in the field to provide the insight needed. This means you can spend time focusing on your recovery instead.