What You Should Know About Pedestrian Accidents - AA Law

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Pedestrian Rights at Intersections: Your Legal Guide

May 30, 2024 Alan Ahdoot
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Pedestrian accidents can occur unexpectedly, even in designated crosswalks where they have the right of way. Various factors, such as missing or damaged signage, vehicles malfunctioning, and speeding, can significantly increase the risk of collisions in these areas. 

Thousands of pedestrians have lost their lives in motor vehicle-related accidents, with one out of every six fatalities involving pedestrians.

Knowing and asserting your rights as a pedestrian is crucial for safeguarding your safety while navigating roadways. Continue reading to discover more about your legal entitlements at intersections.

Legal Rights of Pedestrians at Intersections

Like drivers, pedestrians have responsibilities to ensure their safety on the road. This includes obeying traffic signals, using designated crosswalks and overpasses, and avoiding distractions such as using mobile phones while crossing.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, pedestrians have legal rights to pursue fair compensation for medical expenses and other damages. You are entitled to the representation of a pedestrian injury lawyer who can ensure your rights are upheld.

California recognizes these rights and responsibilities for pedestrians. Here are some key considerations:

Right of Way

A pedestrian has the right of way when crossing streets, including at regular intersections and mid-block crosswalks. Vehicles must yield to pedestrians to ensure safe passage, even on unmarked roads.

Traffic Signals

Pedestrians, like drivers, must obey traffic signals at intersections. A flashing red hand signal indicates that pedestrians should not cross the road.


Jaywalking is no longer illegal in California as long as it is done safely and without approaching vehicles.

Sidewalks and Walking Paths

Pedestrians should avoid bike lanes and use sidewalks or designated walking paths.

Pedestrians With Vision Impairment

A pedestrian using a cane or guide dog always has the right of way.

Give Way to Emergency Vehicles

Pedestrians should yield to emergency vehicles, stepping aside to allow them to pass safely.

Avoid Distractions

When crossing the road, refrain from using your phone, listening to loud music, or engaging in activities that may diminish your awareness of your surroundings.

Responsibilities of Drivers to Pedestrians

Drivers have legal obligations to ensure pedestrian safety at crosswalks. Here are key responsibilities they must uphold:

Right of Way

Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the road, even when turning left or right.

Stopping for Pedestrians

If pedestrians are in or approaching the crosswalk, drivers must come to a complete stop and wait for them to cross safely.

No Passing

It’s illegal for drivers to pass another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk.

Exercise Reasonable Care

Drivers must reduce speed and be prepared to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.

School Zones

Drivers must slow down and yield to children crossing within school zones.

Types of Collisions at Crosswalks

Accidents at crosswalks can occur in various ways:

Vehicle-Pedestrian Collisions

These occur when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian crossing the road, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities.

Turning Vehicle Collisions

Collisions happen when drivers fail to notice pedestrians while turning, especially during left turns.

Failure to Yield Collisions

Drivers may collide with a pedestrian if they fail to yield the right of way, often due to speeding or distractions.

Crosswalk Marking and Signage Collisions

Poorly marked crosswalks with missing signage can make it difficult for drivers to notice pedestrians, leading to collisions.

What Should Pedestrians Do After an Intersection Accident?

Signalized crosswalk in the city with pedestrians waiting for the right of way.
A pedestrian has the right of way when crossing intersections.

Immediately following an accident at an intersection, take these steps:

Seek Medical Help

Even if your injuries seem minor, seek medical attention promptly by calling 911. It’s crucial to document any injuries, no matter how insignificant they may appear.

Gather Witness Information

If possible, collect contact details from any witnesses who saw the accident. Their statements may be valuable for determining fault.

Exchange Contact Information

If the driver stops, obtain their contact details. In a hit-and-run scenario, file a police report and gather evidence, such as photos of the crosswalk and traffic signals.

Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Consider hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer to guide you through the legal process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Who Is At Fault for Pedestrian Accidents?

Drivers can be at fault for pedestrian accidents if they:

  • Strike a pedestrian in a crosswalk
  • Fail to stop at a stop sign
  • Drive too fast in a parking lot

Pedestrians may be at fault if they:

  • Walk where foot traffic is prohibited, such as on a freeway or bridge
  • Illegally cross the street

California follows a comparative fault rule, allowing both parties to recover damages based on their degree of fault.

Types of Damages Pedestrians Can Receive

Pedestrians injured in collisions may seek compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: Including consultations, surgeries, rehabilitation, and hospital bills.
  • Lost Wages: If injuries lead to limited mobility and loss of earning capacity during recovery.
  • Pain and Suffering: Emotional distress, mental anguish, and physical pain resulting from the accident.

Speak With a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at Adamson Ahdoot

If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver while crossing the road, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance from an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer at Adamson Ahdoot. Our team will guide you through gathering evidence, filing a claim, and negotiating fair compensation for your case.

With our knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorneys by your side, you can confidently navigate the complexities of your situation. Contact us at (800) 310-1606 for a no-obligation consultation today!

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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