Pedestrian law states that a pedestrian has the right, in the absence of a statute or ordinance to the contrary, to use and travel on any portion of a public road or street at any time of day or night. The rights of a pedestrian and those of one operating a vehicle on a public road are mutual, reciprocal, and equal. Neither may use the public way in disregard of the right of the other to use it, and each must accommodate his movements to the other’s lawful use. Additionally, each must anticipate the other’s possible presence and must recognize the dangers inherent in the manner in which the public way may be lawfully used by the other. Thus, for example, in the absence of a statute or ordinance regulating the matter, neither a pedestrian nor a motorist has a superior right of way at an intersection. Rather, their rights at intersections are mutual and coordinate, and the one that has first entered or preempted an intersection has the right of way over the other.
One inevitable result of the shared use of many public roads by pedestrians and motor vehicles is the occurrence of accidents in which a person traveling by foot is hit by a car, truck, or other vehicle. Such accidents have occurred regularly and frequently, particularly in congested urban areas, ever since the invention of the motorized, wheeled vehicle. Given the relatively frail nature of a pedestrian, as compared with the steel body of a motor vehicle, it is the pedestrian who generally suffers the greater injury in these accidents. As a result, the pedestrian is often the plaintiff party in lawsuits arising out of pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents. While this would seem to indicate that the basic factual inquiry in such cases revolves around the negligence of the defendant, the owner or driver of a motor vehicle, this is not the case. In such actions, the negligence of the pedestrian himself is very often at issue, with the motorist attempting to prove that the pedestrian was in some way at least partly responsible for his injury.
Motorists are charged with the duty to see what an ordinarily prudent driver should have seen and avoid striking pedestrians in the road. Thus, the operator of a motor vehicle has a constant duty to watch out for the possible negligent acts of pedestrians and avoid injuring them. Notwithstanding any alleged negligence of a pedestrian who is attempting to cross a road, a motorist who strikes the pedestrian has a common-law duty to detect what he or she should have seen through the proper use of the senses.
A motorist has a duty to keep a careful lookout, to operate the vehicle at a safe speed, to swerve, change lanes, slow down, or stop to avoid colliding with a pedestrian and to give a warning by sounding the horn when the motorist either knows, or by the exercise of the highest degree of care could have known, that a reasonable likelihood of collision exists. However, a motorist does not necessarily fail to exercise due care in striking a pedestrian merely because other motorists managed to avoid the pedestrian.
If you have been a victim of a pedestrian accident in San Diego let the experienced attorneys at Thompson | Wedeking get you the compensation you deserve.