Who Is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

When Is a Pedestrian at Fault for a Car Accident?

Who is at fault for the accident? Pedestrian is at fault?

Accidents between vehicles and pedestrians leave drivers virtually unharmed, but pedestrians with serious and significant injuries. This is the unfortunate reality that most pedestrians face on a daily basis. 

Understanding liability in pedestrian car accidents is crucial for both parties involved. If you have been involved in a car pedestrian accident in California, it is important to consult with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. A lawyer can investigate your case, help determine fault, and maximize your settlement. Our Rancho Cucamonga law office is available to discuss your case with you in a free consultation at (909) 942-7632


Pedestrian Accident Statistics 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 8,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2021. Pedestrian fatalities on a whole have been steadily rising over the years, reaching a record high in nearly 40 years.

Some studies point to nighttime as the main driver of fatal pedestrian accidents, while other research shows a link between larger vehicles and pedestrian fatalities. 


Understanding Right-of-Way in California

Car accident fault for the accident

In California, pedestrians always have the right-of-way in marked unmarked crosswalks and at intersections. However, this right-of-way does not absolve pedestrians of all responsibilities. 

Pedestrians must exercise reasonable care for their safety. They are prohibited from suddenly leaving a curb or other places of safety. Pedestrians are also advised against walking or running into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. 


Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents in California can occur due to various reasons, including but not limited to:

Distracted Driving

When drivers are not fully attentive to the road, they may fail to notice pedestrians, especially in busy urban areas. In California, it is against the law to text or use a handheld device while driving.


Exceeding speed limits reduces a driver’s ability to stop in time to avoid a collision, increasing the risk of hitting pedestrians. The greater the speed, the more severe the accident

Failing to Yield

Drivers who ignore stop signs, traffic signals, or fail to yield the right-of-way at crosswalks can cause serious accidents involving pedestrians.

Impaired Walking or Driving

Alcohol or drugs impair judgment and reaction times for both drivers and pedestrians, leading to poor decision-making and accidents.


A jaywalking pedestrian may incorrectly judge a vehicle’s speed and cross when it is unsafe. Pedestrians who cross the street outside of a designated crosswalk or against a traffic signal increase their risk of being struck by vehicles.

Poor Visibility

Accidents can occur when drivers have difficulty seeing pedestrians due to nighttime, poor lighting, weather conditions, or obstructed views.

Unmarked Crosswalks

Locations without clear pedestrian crossing signs or signals can be hazardous for pedestrians crossing the road.

Road Design

Streets without proper pedestrian safety measures, such as sidewalks, pedestrian islands, and traffic calming devices, can contribute to accidents.

These factors highlight the importance of vigilance and adherence to traffic laws by both drivers and pedestrians to ensure safety on the roads.


Determining Fault After a Pedestrian Car Accident

Contributory negligence vs comparative negligence

Determining fault in a pedestrian car accident involves assessing the actions of both the driver and the pedestrian. California follows pure comparative negligence laws, meaning that if both parties are found to be at fault, the liability is shared proportionally to the degree of each party’s negligence.

Driver Negligence 

A driver may be deemed at fault and responsible for a pedestrian’s injuries if they:

  • Disregarded traffic signals or signs
  • Failed to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
  • Were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Were driving distractedly

Pedestrian Negligence 

A pedestrian may be found at fault if they:

  • Ignored “Don’t Walk” signals or traffic control signals
  • Crossed outside of a marked crosswalk
  • Suddenly darted into traffic
  • Were distracted by electronic devices

Experienced pedestrian accident lawyers can help you identify the negligent party and hold them liable for your damages. If you were partially responsible, you can still file a claim.


What To Do After a Pedestrian Accident

While we hope you are never in a pedestrian car accident, it is essential to protect your rights and well-being if you are ever in this unfortunate situation. Here is what to do.

  • Move to safety (like a sidewalk) and away from an oncoming vehicle.
  • Call 9-1-1 if anyone is injured.
  • Exchange license, registration, and car insurance information with all parties involved. If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information as well. 
  • Take pictures of the accident scene and the vehicle that hit you. 
  • Seek medical attention, even if you feel fine. Always prioritize your health and safety.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company, but do not discuss fault or details of the accident. 
  • Consult an experienced attorney who can help navigate the legal complexities of your case.


Contact a Rancho Cucamonga Pedestrian Accident Lawyer 

when is a pedestrian at fault for a car accident pedestrian accident lawyers

Traffic accidents in California are scary events. If you sustained injuries by a speeding driver or another negligent driver, you deserve financial compensation for your injuries and other losses. However, determining who is at fault for the accident is not as simple as it seems. It requires a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident, identifying negligence, and proving it.

After an injury due to negligence, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. The skilled attorneys at Sierra Accident Lawyers have years of experience handling these types of cases and winning favorable settlements for injured pedestrians.

To speak with our pedestrian accident lawyer, call our law firm and schedule a free consultation at (909) 942-7632. 

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