Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
While there have been many improvements to vehicle safety over the years, resulting in fewer vehicle deaths, pedestrian safety has been on a sharp incline. According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities hit a 40-year high in 2022.
Riverside, with its historic downtown and university, is a popular destination for pedestrians looking to take advantage of its charm and beauty. However, pedestrians and drivers must respect the rules of the road to avoid accidents and injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our Riverside pedestrian accident lawyer at (909) 703-2420.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Riverside
Pedestrian accidents are among the most serious types of road accidents. Unlike motorcyclists and bicyclists who wear helmets and other protective gear, pedestrians do not have anything protecting them from the impact of a motor vehicle crash.
Most pedestrian accident cases occur due to the following reasons:
Alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and illegal drugs can all lead to a serious or deadly pedestrian accident. These substances increase the risk of accident by inhibiting a driver’s judgment, coordination, reaction time, and perception.
Higher speed limits increase the likelihood and severity of pedestrian accidents, as drivers have less time and distance to stop or avoid pedestrians, and the impact force is greater. Speeding also reduces the driver’s field of vision and ability to react to unexpected situations.
Smartphones, navigation systems, radios, and other devices can distract drivers from paying attention to the road and their surroundings. Distracted driving can cause drivers to miss pedestrians crossing the street or intersection, or to swerve into sidewalks or bike lanes where pedestrians may be present.
Typically, pedestrian accidents surge at night because of poor visibility. Drivers may not see pedestrians wearing dark clothing or walking in poorly lit areas. Pedestrians may also have difficulty seeing oncoming vehicles or traffic signals. Poor weather conditions, such as rain, fog, or snow, can also impair visibility and increase the risk of pedestrian accidents.
Failure to Yield
Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at all crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked, and to wait for pedestrians to clear the road before proceeding. Drivers who fail to yield, run red lights, or ignore traffic signs and signals can cause serious or fatal collisions with pedestrians.
Pedestrians have a responsibility to obey traffic laws and avoid placing themselves in the middle of danger. While jaywalking was decriminalized in California in early 2023, it is still a dangerous practice, especially on a busy road. Motorists may not anticipate a pedestrian crossing in the middle of the road, and cause a collision as a result.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
If you are a pedestrian, you must follow important safety tips to avoid being hit by a vehicle.
1. Make Yourself Visible
Wearing light, bright, or reflective clothing can help you be easily seen. If you plan on walking at night, carry a flashlight to help see where you are going and make yourself more visible.
2. Stay on the Sidewalk
Sidewalks are the safest places to walk. If no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic on the far left of the road. Do not walk on freeways or other restricted areas.
3. Avoid Distractions
Distractions can affect both pedestrians and drivers. As a pedestrian, assume that drivers cannot see you and remain alert at all times. Put your phone away and make eye contact with drivers when you’re ready to cross at an intersection.
4. Cross at the Crosswalk
Many pedestrian injuries occur when people cross outside of a crosswalk. Using a crosswalk is your safest bet because motorists tend to slow down and anticipate foot traffic. Always wait for the pedestrian signal, and look both ways before stepping into the crosswalk.
5. Obey Signs and Signals
Just as you would wait for a crosswalk signal indicating you may walk, obey other traffic signs and signals. If there is not a pedestrian signal, obey the red, yellow, or green signal lights. If you see a vehicle coming, do not assume they will slow down for you if they have the right-of-way. At 30 miles per hour, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop.
6. Stay Alert in Parking Lots and Driveways
Parking lots and driveways are some of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians. Be focused and alert when exiting and entering, and especially watch out for drivers backing up.
7. Do Not Walk While Intoxicated
California’s public intoxication laws make it unlawful for anyone to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs in a public place, to the point of being unable to care for their own safety or the safety of others, or to interfere with or obstruct the free use of any street or sidewalk. This means you could be arrested and fined if you are putting yourself or others in danger as an intoxicated pedestrian.
What To Do If You’re Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
Depending on the severity of the pedestrian accident, you may be able to stay at the accident scene to gather evidence and other key information. If you are able to do so, follow these key steps to ensure your safety and well-being:
- Stay calm and move out of harm’s way
- Call 911 and wait for an officer to arrive
- Seek medical attention, even if you feel fine
- Exchange information with the driver who hit you
- Take notes of the scene, including photos of your injuries
- Talk to any witnesses and obtain their contact information
- Do not admit fault or apologize to the other party or insurance company
- Contact a California pedestrian accident attorney for legal advice
Contact Our Riverside Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
At Sycamore Accident Lawyers, we care about our clients and their well-being. We also know that pedestrian accident victims may be suffering from broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and other serious injuries. Our goal is to help you recover compensation from the negligent driver so you can recover and return to your normal life.
While filing a pedestrian accident claim on your own is possible, it will prove challenging. The insurance company will try to offer you the lowest possible settlement that does not reflect the extent of your medical bills and other damages.
Our personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to get to know our clients and evaluate their case. Call our experienced pedestrian accident lawyer at (909) 703-2420 or tell us about your case using our online contact form.