Premises Liabilty

Understanding Pedestrian Accidents in California

People walking on a pedestrian crossing in a city at night.

In 2020, over 7000 pedestrians were killed on US roads in motor vehicle crashes. Most pedestrian deaths happen in urban areas at night.

Many injured in pedestrian accidents suffer severe back or head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and more. These injuries usually require surgery and a lot of physical therapy before the person can walk again.

No one wants to ever be involved in an accident, but should you or a loved one become involved in a pedestrian accident, it's important to know how to determine who is at fault in pedestrian accidents. Here, the trusted accident lawyers in Los Angeles from Mendez & Sanchez Law shares more information on this topic:

Who Is Considered at Fault in Pedestrian Accidents in California?

In California, the driver is almost always considered at fault if a pedestrian is hit by a car. This is because pedestrians have the right of way in most cases, and drivers are expected to yield to them.

There are exceptions to this rule, though. If a pedestrian crosses the street outside a crosswalk or against a red light, the driver may not be held liable if they hit the pedestrian. Similarly, the driver may not be held responsible if a pedestrian is intoxicated and walks into traffic.

Generally speaking, though, if a pedestrian is hit by a car in California, the driver will be held at fault. This means they will be liable for any damages incurred by the pedestrian, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Common Factors Contributing to Driver Negligence in California

Many factors can contribute to driver negligence in California. Some of the most common include:

1. Distractions: Drivers distracted by their cell phones, passengers, or other things inside the car are more likely to be negligent.

2. Fatigue: Drivers who are tired or not getting enough sleep are more likely to be negligent.

3. impairment: Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to be negligent.

4. Weather: Poor weather conditions can make it more difficult for drivers to see and contribute to accidents.

5. Road conditions: Poorly maintained roads or construction zones can also contribute to accidents.

6. Speeding: Drivers who are speeding are more likely to lose control of their vehicles and cause an accident.

7. Aggressive driving: Drivers who are aggressive or who tailgate other vehicles are more likely to cause an accident.

What Can Be Considered Pedestrian Negligence in California?

In California, pedestrian negligence can be considered any action by the pedestrian that contributed to the accident. This can include anything from jaywalking to crossing the street outside a crosswalk. It can also include wearing dark clothing at night or not paying attention to traffic signals.

In some cases, the pedestrian's negligence may be the sole cause of the accident. However, the driver's negligence may also be a factor in other cases. For instance, a driver speeding or not paying attention to the road may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian who crosses in front of them.

Right of Way Laws in California

One shouldn't assume that other drivers will give you the right of way. Remember that respecting others' right of way is not limited to just yielding to people at crosswalks but also being aware of everything to ensure you are mindful of the right of way of cyclists and other pedestrians. 

Pedestrians are people on foot, skateboards, or roller skates, or a person with a disability on a wheelchair, tricycle, or quadricycle for transportation.

A pedestrian is at a disadvantage in case of a collision with a motor vehicle because they are unprotected and are, therefore, fully exposed to the impact.

There are pedestrian right-of-way laws in California, but they only work if everyone follows them.

According to California Vehicle Code 29150, drivers shall "yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection." This doesn't necessarily mean pedestrians have the right of way always. In fact, pedestrians are not allowed to walk into the street when there's no crosswalk, and they must yield to vehicle traffic anywhere there's no marked intersection crosswalk. But even if the intersection is not marked, it's still a presumed crosswalk, and drivers are expected to yield to pedestrians who want to cross the street.

Drivers are expected to exercise care to prevent collisions with a pedestrian.

Who Is Liable in a California Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian may be injured by a four-wheel vehicle, a motorized scooter, a bicyclist, or other pedestrians. The standard for liability and negligence in a pedestrian accident is basically the same as with any other personal injury.

An injured pedestrian has to prove these three elements to get awarded their claims in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • That the driver owed the pedestrian involved a duty of care
  • That the driver breached the duty of care because of negligence
  • That negligence resulted in the pedestrian's injury

Examples of Driver Negligence

There are countless examples of driver negligence that can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Here are just a few examples:

- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road. This can include talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio, or anything else that takes the driver's focus off driving.

  • Speeding is one of the most common forms of driver negligence. Excessive speed increases the risk of losing control of the vehicle and the severity of any accidents that may occur.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous and is considered negligence. Driving under the influence impairs a driver's ability to make sound decisions and react quickly to traffic or road conditions changes.
  • Fatigued driving is another form of driver negligence that can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. When a driver is tired, they are more likely to make mistakes and have slower reaction times.
  • Reckless driving includes any aggressive or dangerous driving. This can include tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, making sudden lane changes, or anything else that puts other drivers at risk.

These are several examples of driver negligence that can lead to serious accidents. If you have been involved in an accident caused by another driver's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you investigate your accident and determine who is responsible.


As anyone who lives in or has ever visited California knows, the state is enormous. And with its size comes a lot of people - an estimated 41.060 million residents as of July 2022. That means a lot of cars on the road and a lot of pedestrians. Unfortunately, that also means a lot of pedestrian accidents. It's therefore important that you know one of the best accident lawyers who can help you should you find yourself involved in one.

If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, the best accident lawyers in Los Angeles from Mendez & Sanchez Law can help you. Contact us so we can schedule your consultation!


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Tell Mendez & Sanchez About Your Case.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Let's Get
in Touch
8am - 5pm
Personal Injury California
Personal Injury
Compensation California

Thank you for choosing our personal injury website. To address your legal inquiry effectively, please provide detailed information about your case in the form below. Expect a prompt response within one business day. We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to assisting you.

Thank you! Your submission has been received.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
TEXT USCALL USUpload your case
Text UsCall Us
Available 24/7  |  Hablamos Español
Chamber of Commerce Badge