Serious injuries or fatalities may occur when motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians take place, and around 5,000 pedestrians die yearly due to auto accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. When a crash in California injures or kills a pedestrian, a victim or family members may be able to recover damages when the negligence of someone else caused the collision.
Negligence refers to a failure to protect oneself or others from potential risks, and this occurs when one does not exercise the same amount of care a reasonable person would in a similar situation. For example, a drunk driver getting behind the wheel with the knowledge of its illegality may constitute as negligence. In pedestrian-vehicle accidents, drivers and pedestrians are expected to exercise care.
When using a reasonable amount of care, drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road. Actions that might make a driver negligent include speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks or failing to signal while turning. A pedestrian must also follow the rules of the road and engage in safe behavior. A pedestrian might commit contributory negligence when darting into or disrupting traffic, not using marked crosswalks or ignoring signals at an intersection. A pedestrian might not win compensation when his or her own actions contributed to receiving injuries.
While the injuries a pedestrian received in a motor vehicle accident might be evident, a plaintiff or an attorney also needs to show that a driver’s actions caused the injury and that the actions breached a duty to exercise care. Evidence like witness statements, cellphone records or toxicology tests might help prove that a driver acted negligently at the time of a crash.