The most common misconception about pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles is that the driver is always at fault. But this is absurd and far from reality, as pedestrians are just as likely to be at fault for causing a crash.
Fact: Pedestrian deaths in Los Angeles have been on the rise lately, as there were 134 pedestrian fatalities in 2017, an 80-percent surge from 74 deaths in 2015.
Legal duty to exercise reasonable care in a nutshell
“Under California law, both motorists and pedestrians have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of other people,” explains our Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney at JML Law. Contrary to the popular belief, this legal duty extends to both drivers and pedestrians, not just the former.
Failure to act reasonably under the circumstances may lead to a motor vehicle collision. In California, drivers and pedestrians alike have a legal duty to avoid acting in a way that puts other motorists and pedestrians at risk of injury or death.
Pedestrian’s fault in causing an accident
Now that we have established that both pedestrians and drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm to the people around them, let’s look at the ways a pedestrian can be at fault for causing an accident.
Our experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Los Angeles explains how a pedestrian can be held liable for causing or contributing to a motor vehicle crash in California:
- Jaywalking, or, in other words, crossing or walking in the road or street illegally as opposed to crossing in the crosswalk or other designated crossing zones
- Running out from behind a parked car
- Wearing dark clothing while crossing the street or walking on the road
- Failing to look left and right before beginning to cross the road or street
- Intentionally or negligently throwing objects onto the road
- Beginning to cross the street or road against a red traffic signal
- Trying to cross the road or street while intoxicated
- Darting into traffic to collect an item (for example, a child might dart into the road to collect a ball)
- Intentionally trying to distract a motorist
How both pedestrian and driver can be at-fault
When crossing the road or street or near traffic, pedestrians in California have an obligation to follow traffic laws like all other motorists in the state. However, that’s where it gets complicated. Determining fault in a pedestrian accident is not always easy.
Our Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer from JML Law explains that violating a law does not always mean that the pedestrian is negligent and to blame for causing the crash. That’s because California follows the legal doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which means multiple parties can be held liable for the accident.
In other words, this means two things:
- Just because you, as a pedestrian, violated a traffic law, does not necessarily mean that you are at fault for causing the accident. Your pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California will have to determine whether or not the driver’s violation of law caused or contributed to the crash to a lesser or greater extent
- If the driver can prove that you, as a pedestrian, were negligent, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your own fault in the accident
Let our lawyers at JML Law evaluate your case and determine your percentage of fault in your particular case. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling at 818-610-8800.