The city of Los Angeles has an estimated population of 4,015,936 and a population density of 8,564 people per square mile. With this many people in one area, accidents are bound to happen. The most frequent types of accidents are pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents have the potential to cause severe bodily damage up to fatality as a result. Speed plays a role in the likelihood of survival after a pedestrian is hit by an automobile. For help with a case, hiring a Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer can increase the odds of winning what is deserved.
Causes of Los Angeles Pedestrian Accidents
People walk for several reasons in Los Angeles. Some do it so that they can live greener and healthier, and others don’t want to mess with traffic or parking. Whatever their reason is for wanting to walk, pedestrians in the crosswalks of the roads in Los Angeles, and drivers need to be aware. Just as drivers have laws and regulations for cars, pedestrians have their own set of rules they must follow on the roadways.
The most common causes and areas of pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles include:
- Distracted Drivers
- Los Angeles roads see thousands upon thousands of drivers daily, some of these drivers are on their way to work, on their way home, or even just grabbing a bite to eat. Distracted driving is when the driver is doing anything that takes their attention off the roadway. In a split-second, the inattention of that driver could cost a pedestrian their life.
- Poor Visibility
- Los Angeles is known for its bright sunny skies, but visibility is not just limited to the weather conditions outside. Visibility can be tough in areas where there are a lot of buildings or other cars. Take, for instance, a parking lot or parking garage. Cars can obscure the visibility of a driver, and they may not be able to see a pedestrian. The lighting inside of a parking garage can create hazards, especially upon entering one until the eyes adjust.
- The faster a car is going, the less the response time when hitting the brakes. The rate of speed plays a role in the survival of a pedestrian involved in an accident. Traffic lights can control crosswalks in Los Angeles, but some are not, which puts pedestrians at higher risk for accidents.
- School Zones
- Even with the Los Angeles Safe Routes to School initiative, school zones and crosswalks with children in them put them at a higher risk of a pedestrian accident. Children are smaller than adults and often harder to see. Children are also less likely to know the rules of the road for pedestrians, causing them to walk into the streets at the wrong time.
- Drivers Under the Influence
- Alcohol and drugs can impair driver judgment and reflexes. Drivers who are under the influence of these substances are less likely to be able to identify a pedestrian in time to decide the best course of action and implement it. Reaction times for those under the influence are often slow and cause accidents.
Understanding the Duty of Care
Most of the auto-pedestrian cases in Los Angeles fall under negligence. For a negligence claim to hold up in court, the injured party must prove:
- The defendant failed to show the proper duty of care in the situation.
- The failure to show the proper duty of care caused the injury to the plaintiff.
For cases where the defendant broke laws, it is easier for a plaintiff to win their case.
California laws automatically presume that a person fails to exercise their duty of care if:
- They violate a written law
- Their violation of said law causes injury
- The injury that was caused was the type of injury the law was put in place to prevent
- The victim was a person the law was created to protect
California uses the principle of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is when a percentage of blame is assigned to each of the parties involved in a tort claim. The compensation for comparative negligence is paid out based on the percentages assigned to the accident.
Traffic Laws Applicable to Auto-Pedestrian Accidents
There are traffic laws that apply to the drivers of vehicles and pedestrians. These traffic laws are made to help keep everyone who may be driving or those who may be walking along the roads in Los Angeles safe.
Los Angeles laws generally give the pedestrian the right-of-way in marked and unmarked crosswalks. There are exceptions to this rule, though. Pedestrians are required to exercise due care in crossing roadways. When crossing in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, the rule is that pedestrians should not step into oncoming traffic, causing a hazard.
Those pedestrians that are pushing or pulling a cart or hand truck are given all the rights and must follow the rules that drivers on the road follow. These pedestrians have as much right under the Los Angeles Municipal Code to use the roadway as drivers do, and drivers are to remain a safe distance and treat them as if they are a vehicle on the roadway.
Vehicle Driver Right-of-Way
In Los Angeles, if a pedestrian is walking outside of marked or unmarked crosswalks, they are required to yield the right-of-way to the vehicles on the road if crossing presents a hazard. The laws for jaywalking are still in effect. A pedestrian cannot cross in the middle of the street if there are traffic signals less than a block away. Violating the jaywalking statute can make the pedestrian liable in an accident situation.
At first glance, the driver or the pedestrian might be the liable party in a Los Angeles pedestrian accident. Unfortunately, the accident is a part of something a lot larger, and the government is liable due to poor crosswalk execution. If it is found to be a design flaw in the intersection that was created by a Los Angeles government entity, the city may be liable for the accident.
Hiring a Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Not all pedestrian accidents have a clear cause and effect, open and shut case. For any pedestrian accident in the city of Los Angeles, a personal injury lawyer who handles cases specifically involving pedestrian accidents can help make a case. TorkLaw offices in Los Angeles can help with a pedestrian accident claim and offer a free case consultation. To speak with an experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer, call 888.845.9696.