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When are pedestrians liable for their own injuries?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Many people are under the assumption that when a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the driver is automatically in the wrong. This is far from the case. In fact, there are many instances in which a pedestrian may be liable for his or her own injuries, such as when he or she violates applicable traffic laws. If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, you may wish to pursue a personal injury claim. Before you do, you should first understand your rights and responsibilities under California law. 

According to FindLaw, pedestrians generally have the right-of-way in crosswalks, both marked and unmarked, with very few exceptions. What this means is that drivers must let pedestrians cross the road safely before proceeding through a crosswalk or intersection. In all cases, however, pedestrians must exercise some degree of caution when walking across the street. For instance, per the vehicle code, individuals may not step out into oncoming traffic and expect cars to stop for them. Moreover, if crossing outside of a crosswalk or near a pedestrian tunnel, pedestrians must yield to oncoming traffic. 

It is important to note that jaywalking, or walking outside of a designated crosswalk area, is illegal in the state of California. That said, if you must do it, you must yield to oncoming traffic and cross only when doing so would not pose an immediate hazard to yourself or oncoming traffic. If you jaywalk and get hit by an oncoming vehicle, the courts will likely hold you liable for your injuries. If a vehicle swerves to avoid hitting you and gets into an accident, the courts may, again, hold you accountable. 

In Los Angeles, vendors with push or pull carts have the same rights to be on the road as a motor vehicle. This also means that they have the same responsibilities. If a vehicle hit you and your cart while you were in the roadway, the same laws would apply as if you had been involved in a car accident.