Your Rights if You are Hit by a Car
There is an alarming rate of accidents in Orange County due to cars, trucks, buses and utility vehicles hitting people walking across the street, or walking on a sidewalk. This is referred to as a pedestrian accident in California. People generally have the right of way when they are walking and vehicles are required to stop for them. This applies to crosswalks, or even to give them plenty of space when walking. Unfortunately, the trend in Southern California has been for car and other vehicle drivers to ignore pedestrian rights and actually hit pedestrians. Drivers don’t pay attention in increasing numbers due to cell phones, texting, or just plain negligence and ineptitude. This gross abdication of responsibility many times causes severe traumatic injury, or even death. The incidence of pedestrian injury in Southern California has been further compounded by the increase in drunk drivers, or drivers under the influence of drugs. If you have been injured by a car or other vehicle while you were walking, or had a loved one killed or injured in a similar accident, you probably need representation by a personal injury attorney immediately.
Who is Categorized as a Pedestrian?
California defines anyone who is walking, riding a skateboard, scooter, roller skates, roller blades or any other type of non-motorized conveyance, except for bicycles, as a pedestrian. A person who is using a wheelchair, a motorized wheel chair, or a “motorized chair” also falls under this classification. California takes a very tough stance on pedestrian safety and imposes heavy fines and penalties on the offending driver. The victim of a pedestrian accident who is injured has the possibility of a very large settlement depending on the injuries sustained.
Pedestrian safety laws go beyond just requiring that a vehicle stop for pedestrians that are waiting. This applies where there is a crosswalk and also where there is not a crosswalk. Cars are required to stop when other cars have already stopped at a crosswalk to make sure that there is not a pedestrian crossing. California law states that vehicles must give the right of way to pedestrians and to exercise all due care.
The frequency of pedestrian accidents has increased simply because drivers do not respect the pedestrian’s right to cross. Surprisingly, there have been more than a few reported cases where drivers actually sped up when seeing a pedestrian cross the road. You have rights in these situations. If you have been hit by a car or other vehicle it is imperative that you seek the help of a competent personal injury attorney.
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