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What Happens If a Pedestrian Caused an Accident?

Pedestrians have a duty of care when using roads and sidewalks in Los Angeles and everywhere else. If they breach this duty and cause an accident through their negligent actions, they can be held legally responsible. Here’s an overview of the potential legal consequences when a pedestrian causes a traffic collision in California and beyond.

Determining Liability

If a pedestrian caused an accident in Los Angeles, the first step is determining liability. Police will investigate the scene and take statements from witnesses to understand exactly what happened. They will determine if the pedestrian violated any laws or acted negligently to cause the crash.

For example, a pedestrian may have jaywalked against the light or suddenly stepped into oncoming traffic. Drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care to avoid hitting pedestrians, but if the pedestrian’s actions clearly caused the accident, they will likely bear some liability.

The police report will be an important piece of evidence in determining liability. Other factors like speed, weather conditions, and visibility at the time of the accident will also come into play. If either party disagrees with the police’s initial liability determination, they can contest it in court.

Comparative Negligence

California follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if the pedestrian was primarily at fault for causing the accident, the driver may share some percentage of liability too.

For example, the pedestrian may be 80% liable for darting across a busy highway illegally, but the driver may be 20% liable for not slowing down or taking evasive action when they saw the pedestrian. The percentage each party is responsible for the accident gets determined during the claims process.

Claims from Injured Parties

If the pedestrian or driver suffered any injuries or vehicle damage in the accident, they can make an injury claim against the at-fault party’s insurance. They will need to prove their medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and other losses were directly caused by the accident. This is when it is best to work with a pedestrian accident lawyer Los Angeles from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys.

A pedestrian accident attorney Los Angeles from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys will help you negotiate with the insurance company of the other party(ies) to reach a fair settlement. They will factor in comparative negligence percentages to reduce the claim payout by the claimant’s own percentage of fault.

So, in the example above, if the negligent pedestrian suffered $100,000 in damages, they would only recover $20,000 from the driver’s insurance since they were deemed 80% liable. The driver could claim against the pedestrian’s insurance for their own losses reduced by their 20% fault share, but a pedestrian hit by a car lawyer will help.

Legal Action Against Pedestrians

Beyond claims from injured parties, pedestrians who caused accidents in Los Angeles may face further legal consequences like traffic tickets, misdemeanor charges, and civil lawsuits.

If the police give the at-fault pedestrian a citation for jaywalking, disobeying traffic signals, or reckless endangerment, they must pay the ticket or contest it in court. More serious criminal charges like manslaughter may be considered if the pedestrian’s actions led to a fatality.

The injured driver can also choose to sue the negligent pedestrian directly for damages like medical bills, lost income, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress resulting from the crash. If they win this lawsuit, the pedestrian is personally responsible for paying the judgment amount.

Long-Lasting Consequences

Beyond immediate fines, claims, and legal action, pedestrians who cause accidents in Los Angeles may face lasting consequences. A driving record will show citations for years. Serious criminal charges can lead to jail time and restrict future employment prospects. Civil judgments can stay on a person’s record indefinitely.

And if the accident led to serious injuries or fatalities, the negligent pedestrian may suffer mentally and emotionally long after the incident. While pedestrians do have certain rights on roadways, they must exercise reasonable caution to avoid causing devastating collisions in LA.

Preventing Pedestrian-Related Accidents

By fully understanding liability rules and potential penalties, pedestrians and drivers alike can stay safer on LA streets. Being attentive, obeying traffic laws, and taking care around vehicles are key to accident prevention for all roadway users.

Here are some tips for pedestrians to avoid causing accidents in LA:

  • Only cross at marked crosswalks and obey walk signals. Jaywalking is illegal and dangerous.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing to ensure they see you. Don’t assume they will stop.
  • Avoid distractions like phones when walking near traffic. Pay full attention to vehicles around you.
  • Take extra care at night by using reflectors, lights, and retroreflective clothing.
  • Don’t dart suddenly into roads from between parked cars. Cross at corners after checking for traffic.
  • If you are intoxicated, use ride services or public transit rather than walking impaired.
  • Follow the rules and signs if walking along highways. Never attempt to cross freeways on foot.

Drivers also play a key role in avoiding collisions with pedestrians:

  • Slow down and prepare to yield when approaching crosswalks or intersections.
  • Scan sidewalks for pedestrians wanting to cross and be prepared to stop.
  • Avoid distractions in the car near pedestrian areas. Don’t use phones or touchscreens while driving.
  • Use caution around stopped vehicles – they may be stopping for pedestrians you can’t see.
  • Drive slowly in parking lots, garages, and residential areas where pedestrians may dart out.
  • Be extra vigilant at dawn, dusk, and night when visibility is reduced. Use headlights.
  • If you see an intoxicated or dangerous pedestrian, call 911 and don’t interact directly.

Shared Responsibility for Safety

Roadway safety is a shared responsibility between drivers and pedestrians. With mutual caution, attention, and respect for traffic laws, the risk of collisions can be drastically reduced in Los Angeles. Understanding liability rules can also help all parties take the utmost care to avoid causing preventable accidents.

Speak to Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys, an experienced pedestrian accident law firm, today if you want to know how to claim for a pedestrian accident. We are here to help.