Every day in Fresno and throughout California, pedestrians who are crossing in a crosswalk, jogging down the street, walking through a parking lot and even walking on the sidewalk are stuck by a cars or trucks. Obviously, a pedestrian does not have the luxury of a seat belt, the steel protection of a car, or even the luxury of a motorcycle helmet.
There are several dangerous areas where pedestrians are at higher risk: near the confusion of a construction site, while crossing the street (particularly where there is no crosswalk) while walking alongside a road (and not on a sidewalk).
Some professions, activities, and demographics that are high risk for pedestrian impact injuries include utility workers, landscapers, police officers, garbage collectors, runners, the elderly (because it takes them longer to cross the street, and they are sometimes less able to evade negligent drivers) and children. If you have been injured as a pedestrian, you may be considering a consultation with a Fresno Pedestrian Accident Lawyer. If so, call our office to setup a free consultation to discuss your rights.
Contrary to popular belief, findings contained in a police report is typically not evidence in a Fresno pedestrian accident lawsuit. The report, which may have a police officer’s opinion about whether the pedestrian was at fault for the collision, is usually inadmissible at court. This is a good thing in many pedestrian accident cases.
The police – most police officers anyway – do not account for the deference California Law provides for pedestrians. Most pedestrian accident cases hinge on whether the pedestrian was lawfully where he or she was when struck. This is especially true if the pedestrian was hit while crossing the street – the defense will be that the pedestrian crossed against the signal, or crossed outside of a crosswalk. While traffic cameras are becoming more common, they cannot be counted on as a regular piece of evidence in a Court case.
California Law comes in many forms, but the California Vehicle Code states in many sections the importance of motor vehicles of all kinds yielding to pedestrians. A benefit to having an experienced Fresno Pedestrian Accident Lawyer is the experience and ability to locate the law that is beneficial to you. California law is beneficial to pedestrians in California.
Division 11 – Chapter 5 of the California Vehicle Code is dedicated to the “Pedestrians – Rights and Duties” under California Law. These include California Vehicle Code Sections 21949 through 21971.
There are several which are favorable to pedestrians struck by vehicles on California Roadways. Among these are the following sections:
Section 21929(b): In accordance with the policy declared under subdivision (a), it is the intent of the Legislature that all levels of government in the state, particularly the Department of Transportation, work to provide convenient and safe passage for pedestrians on and across all streets and highways, increase levels of walking and pedestrian travel, and reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
Sections 21950(a), which states as follows: The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
Section 21951: Whenever any vehicle has stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
Section 21952: The driver of any motor vehicle, prior to driving over or upon any sidewalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian approaching thereon.
If you are injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle or other means, it is time to either hire a lawyer or start collecting evidence. The problem you may encounter if you are doing it alone is that you cannot do much when you are injured.
The benefit of having a Top Fresno Pedestrian Accident Lawyer on your side is that the investigation will be completed by a team of injury professionals with experience and know what to look for to back up a pedestrian injury claim.
Common items of evidence that must be preserved include the following:
Defense lawyers in California Pedestrian Injury cases often contend that an injury victim was partially responsible for causing the accident.
A common defense is to say the pedestrian acted erratically and the driver could not have predicted the path of the pedestrian.
The pedestrian is often accused of being inattentive or distracted. Insurance companies are pulling out all the stops to convince California Juries that the pedestrian was distracted (using a cell phone or media player).
A common defense utilized where injuries are significant is through what are referred to as Human Factors “Experts” hired by insurance companies. They are hired to testify at trial in favor of the defense to say the driver did not have enough time to perceive and react to the injured pedestrian due to a number of reasons. While this a junky kind of science, it is often allowed by California Courts at trial.
The good news is – often, a good investigation can limit the damage done by these defenses. A great investigation can destroy them. Getting a solid, knowledgable and experience Pedestrian Injury Lawyer retained to handle your case early can make all of the difference in the end.