Crosswalks are intended to provide clearly defined areas for people to cross the street safely. Drivers of motor vehicles in Sacramento have a duty to respect the rights of pedestrians and yield the right of way when they are in crosswalks.
All too often, negligent drivers fail to notice pedestrians crossing or fail to slow down and exercise caution when driving through a crosswalk. This type of careless driving leads to accidents that can cause catastrophic or possibly even fatal injuries.
If you suffered severe injuries in a crosswalk accident in the greater Sacramento area, you should not have to struggle with a mountain of medical bills during your recovery. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Demas Law Group has more than a quarter-century of experience fighting for injury victims in Sacramento and all over California. We can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
California Law on Crosswalk Accidents
California Vehicle Code § 21950(a) establishes that a driver must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing in any marked crosswalk or any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Under California Vehicle Code § 21950(b), a pedestrian is still responsible for using due care for their safety, and they cannot suddenly leave a curb to walk or run into the path of a vehicle or unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a crosswalk.
California Vehicle Code § 21950(d) establishes that California Vehicle Code § 21950(b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from their duty to exercise due care for the safety of pedestrians in crosswalks, as drivers are required under California Vehicle Code § 21950(c) to slow down or take other actions necessary for the safety of the pedestrian.
One way that drivers used to be able to avoid or minimize liability in some of these cases used to be claiming that a pedestrian illegally entered a crosswalk while facing a flashing “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or upraised hand after a countdown had begun.
On October 2, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 390 (AB 390), which authorized pedestrians facing a flashing “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or upraised hand after a countdown has begun to proceed so long as they complete the crossing before the display of the steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved upraised hand symbol.
Why Crosswalk Accidents Occur in Sacramento
Pedestrians are frequently struck in crosswalks for a variety of reasons. One of the most common nowadays is certainly distracted driving. Some motorists do not see pedestrians when they are instead focused on talking or text messaging on their cell phones.
Left turns can also be a common cause of crosswalk accidents because drivers are often more focused on oncoming traffic before performing such turns and do not bother looking to see if they are turning into a crosswalk filled with pedestrians. Improper lane usage can also be a cause of some crosswalk accidents.
In general, some of the most commonly reported causes of crosswalk accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to obey traffic signals
For victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers, it is essential to note that these offenders can face criminal charges for those acts. A criminal case will be completely separate from your civil action, and it is possible for a person who avoids a criminal conviction for a DUI to still be held civilly liable for the harm they caused you.
Injuries Suffered by Pedestrians in Crosswalk Accidents
Pedestrians have no protection when they are struck by a vehicle. The result often means that the nature of the injuries pedestrians sustain will be quite severe.
Some of the most common crosswalk accident injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Back and spine injuries – including paralysis
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones and fractures – often to the arms, legs, pelvis, and hips
- Torn ligaments and sprains
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises – most often to the face, head, and hands
The sheer size and weight difference between a vehicle and an unprotected pedestrian mean that a collision between the two often results in catastrophic injuries that unfortunately could prove to be fatal.
When a person is killed in a crosswalk crash, surviving family members may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver to recover many of the costs the family has incurred because of the death.
Compensation Available for a Crosswalk Accident in Sacramento
When you have been injured in a crosswalk accident, the insurance company for the negligent driver will likely contact you very quickly and probably try to seem very concerned about you. The insurer could be quick to offer you a lump sum settlement to resolve your case. However, you will want to consider all of the costs you will be facing because of your injury before you accept such an offer.
When you work with a personal injury attorney, they can calculate the full extent of your losses and negotiate a full and fair settlement on your behalf.
If the insurance company will not agree to a settlement that satisfies all of these considerations, then you may choose to file a lawsuit to try your case in court. If your claim is successful, you could be awarded compensatory damages, which usually include both economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages could include awards for all of the actual costs you are or will be facing, such as:
- Medical bills
- Wage loss
- Personal property damage
Noneconomic damages are awards for harm that cannot be easily quantified, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
Punitive damages may be available in some rare cases. These are meant to punish egregious behavior and send a message to others that society won’t tolerate such recklessness.
Some drivers fail to stop after hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Even if the hit-and-run driver is never found, you may still be able to recover compensation from your auto insurance policy’s uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This coverage may also extend to your children and others in your household.
Even though a UM claim involves “your” insurance company, it’s still important to have an attorney to fight for your rights. All insurers want to pay out as little as possible, even when you were the one who paid the premiums.
How Can Demas Law Group Help Me after a Sacramento Crosswalk Accident?
If you suffered severe injuries in a crosswalk accident in Sacramento, contact Demas Law Group today for help. Catastrophic injuries like multiple fractures, TBIs, spinal cord injuries, and permanent scarring and disfigurement can be challenging claims, but our team is ready to fight for you.
Don’t trust the insurance company to do the right thing. Know that their representatives are trained to avoid paying out potentially large claims like yours. Turn to a legal team that has the right experience and skill to get you what you deserve.
Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable crosswalk accident attorney today.