Sharing the Road

California and local laws make it clear that pedestrians and bicycles have a right to share the roadways with automobiles and other vehicles. In fact, in many cases pedestrians have the right of way over others. This is the case nationwide, but that fact does not guarantee the safety of pedestrians as it should.

In the U.S. the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports statistics showing in 2012 a total of 4,743 pedestrians were killed in accidents involving other vehicles. That number is a stunning 14 percent of all fatalities from traffic accidents. Additionally, more than 76,000 pedestrians were injured in such accidents, many of them seriously.

These accidents occur for a number of reasons and in a wide variety of circumstances, including:

• Joggers on the side of the road
• Individuals crossing the road at crosswalks
• People standing in a parking lot
• Passengers exiting buses or cars
• Bystanders near the road

Determining Liability

In a large number of these accidents a driver is totally or partially at fault. Investigations often find these drivers were speeding, inattentive and/or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When you are injured as a pedestrian, you have the same rights to seek recovery for damage and losses as anyone involved in an auto accident.

In addition to drivers, property owners and municipalities may share the blame for accidents involving pedestrians. Other causes for such accidents causing injuries and fatalities to pedestrians may include such factors as:

• Improperly designed sidewalks and crosswalks
• Lack of proper maintenance on sidewalks, crosswalks and parking lots
• Hazards created by construction or other obstructions.

When an accident occurs, the laws governing personal injuries and traffic accidents specify specific timeframes during which an individual or their survivors may seek financial compensation. It is important to comply with these and other stipulations when you’re dealing with an accident as a pedestrian.

It is common for you to be dealing with emotional and financial issues as the aftermath of a traffic accident. You will find it helpful to seek out an experienced personal injury lawyer to provide objective, practical advice during such a time. These attorneys know how to properly investigate an accident involving a pedestrian and will work with the objective of protecting your rights.

Timing is Important

If you are involved in a pedestrian auto accident, it is important to speak to a qualified attorney as soon as possible. These professionals know how to keep evidence from being lost and deal with insurance companies to protect your legal options. Most personal injury attorneys provide a free consultation to evaluate your situation and provide important advice. Once they become your advocate, you can be assured your case will receive the personalized attention it deserves.