FAQ: Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians At Intersections

One of the most common locations for car accidents involving pedestrians are intersections. Litigation involving pedestrian-intersection accidents often involves questions over crosswalk use, illegal right turns, and vehicle speed.

How are the liabilities of a driver and a pedestrian to be considered in a vehicular accident occurring at an intersection?

The liabilities in a case involving a vehicular accident at an intersection must be considered in light of the circumstances present; it will be on a case-by-case basis.

Is it important if the intersection had a crosswalk?

Yes, because the presence of a crosswalk means that the accident will be governed by the provision of law relating to pedestrians using crosswalks. A crosswalk could either be marked or unmarked. A driver who approaches a crosswalk, is required by law to exercise due care and reduce his or her speed. The driver must also yield to the right-of-way of any pedestrian using the crosswalk to cross the street. Failure to observe these duties can lead to a presumption of negligence and subsequent damages for the crosswalk injuries sustained by a pedestrian.

Is it necessary for a driver to sound his/her horn at an intersection?

Yes, if the circumstances demand it. It could serve as a warning to people who are not aware of the oncoming vehicle. A driver has the duty to warn people of his/her oncoming vehicle.

What if the driver makes a prohibited turn at an intersection?

In such a case, the driver may be presumed negligent via violation of the vehicle code prohibiting the act, as well as any injuries sustained by the pedestrian, so long as the prohibited turn was the proximate cause for such injuries.

How fast should a driver drive?

A driver must keep his or her speed at such a level that he or she still maintains control over the car, should there be a need to immediately slow down or stop.

Is driving within the speed limit an excuse?

Not necessarily. Driving within the speed limit is not an excuse when it is clearly shown that the driver had no control over the vehicle due to the speed. In such a case, the driver is said to have breached a duty to maintain control over the vehicle, even if the speed was within the speed limit. In short, a non-negligent speed, or appropriate speed, can be below the posted speed limit.

Can an illegally parked vehicle be a source of liability for a pedestrian’s injuries?

Yes, provided it was the proximate cause for injuries sustained by the pedestrian. As an example, here is an illustration: a driver illegally parks on the sidewalk in such a way that a pedestrian has to go around it and walk along the edge of a highway. The pedestrian is then hit by a passing vehicle. In this case, the driver or owner of the illegally parked vehicle can be held liable because if the vehicle were not parked in such a manner, then the pedestrian would not have been exposed to the possibility of injury.

Published by Adam Garcia

I'm a bankruptcy attorney in Northern California. I help individuals in financial distress achieve a fresh start through bankruptcy.

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