With the recent news of three fatality pedestrian related accidents at the same intersection in Santa Rosa, we thought it was the right time to highlight some details of this area of personal injury.
Each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, nearly 5,000 pedestrians die in motor vehicle related accidents.
Every time you walk in the same vicinity as moving vehicles, you run the risk of encountering one and suffering injuries. Sometimes this may be the fault of the vehicle, and sometimes the fault of the pedestrian.
When a pedestrian is injured by a vehicle, they are entitled to damages after it is proven that the moving vehicle was at fault or negligent. The truth, is that several parties or entities can be held liable for causing these types of accidents.
In these instances, the parties involved in the accident collision may owe a duty of care to the other and vice versa: Here are ways in which both parties have duties that they owe to each other:
Driver’s Duty of Care: Drivers have a duty to act with care and caution when accelerating on the roadways and operate their vehicle safely and within the confines of the standards contained within the CA Vehicle Code. This means the driver must always exercise reasonable care in operating their vehicle.
If their failure to do so causes an accident, this is the basis for negligence. Some of the biggest factors in driver negligence include distracted driving, speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, disobeying traffic signs, disregarding weather conditions, and driving under the influence.
Pedestrian’s Duty of Care: You may not realize it, but pedestrians too must also exercise reasonable care for their own safety when walking in a crosswalk or anywhere they may have contact with a vehicle. If a pedestrian was not utilizing care and a driver hit them, contributory negligence may come into play.
This means that they contributed to the cause of their own injuries. Some of the most common examples of this occurring is: ignoring the walk signal at an intersection, entering traffic without warning or just too quickly, failing to use crosswalks, or darting in front of a moving vehicle.
Pedestrians must pay attention and cannot be distracted by wearing buds in both ears, and recently enacted laws prohibit pedestrians from using their cell phones when using a crosswalk.
The Common Causes of Accidents
There are many reasons why these injury-causing and sometimes-fatal accidents occur. You may not have known it, but most of accidents happening involving pedestrians occur in the roadway, with most of them occurring on more urban streets with heavy traffic and heavy volume.
In some instances, poor street lighting or a lack of lit crosswalks altogether, for pedestrians contributes to an injury fatality.
Poor engineering and design by the public entity may be determined to be a contributing factor or the primary cause of a pedestrian accident especially if there is a pattern of fatality accidents at the same intersection, corner or crosswalk.
Speed is almost always a factor in pedestrian accident cases for one reason or another, but in the case of a poorly designed crosswalk coupled together with a faulty signalization a pedestrian may not have had the opportunity to safely maneuver the crosswalk.
Poor signage and limited access or a lack of a median has been determined to be a contributing factor or the main cause for a pedestrian accident whether in the crosswalk or outside that safety zone. In conclusion, there are many factors that determine the cause and severity of crosswalk and pedestrian accidents.
Therefore, our law firm handles these cases very carefully by hiring the best and most respected expert safety engineers who can take recreate what really occurred.
Here are the most common causes of pedestrian and crosswalk accidents:
Unmarked Crosswalks: There are many pedestrian accidents that happen at intersections. However, using a crosswalk will lessen the chance of this happening. When a crosswalk is clearly marked, the likelihood of an accident greatly decreases.
Left-Hand Turns: Unfortunately, a crosswalk won’t protect pedestrians every time. The statistics show that three times as many pedestrians will be hit by vehicles turning left than by those turning right because both parties are looking in different directions. The drivers pay more attention to the intersection and the pedestrian is looking straight ahead in many cases, leading to accidents.
Electronics: You may think that drivers are the only ones’ texting, but this is not the case. In fact, studies showed that 8% of accidents occur while pedestrians are using cellphones and music devices.
Dark Clothes: 70% of pedestrian accidents happen at night due to inadequate lighting and dark clothing worn by the pedestrian. Inadequate lighting and dark clothing is a deadly combination in these cases.
Alcohol Use: Drivers and pedestrians alike will sometimes make the foolish decision to use the roadways and crosswalks after consuming alcohol. Many fatal accidents occur after a pedestrian consumed alcohol and had their judgment impaired.
Now that we understand the many causes of most pedestrian accidents, we can work to change things for the better. By working together, we can prevent these serious or fatal pedestrian and crosswalk accidents from happening in the first place.
At Fiumara and Milligan Law, we care about you and your case. Call us today at 707-571-8600 if you have been injured in a pedestrian or crosswalk accident and need our help.
We have helped others injured or killed in pedestrian and or crosswalk accidents throughout the North Bay and we can help you too.
CLICK HERE to see a sample of one of our pedestrian accident victories.