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Cars Versus Pedestrians: Who Has the Right Away in California?There’s no way around it: California roads are some of the most dangerous roads for accidents in the country. Fatal pedestrian accidents seem to happen every day. One thing that may be partially at fault is that many people don’t know the law. They don’t know when pedestrians have the right of way and when a vehicle does. Read on to learn more about the law and then contact Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn at (310) 209-1600 if you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident.

When pedestrians have the right away

California Vehicle Code Section 21950 VC lays out exactly when pedestrian have the right away. It says that any vehicle on the road is required to yield to a pedestrian if they’re crossing the street in a marked crosswalk, or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. When a driver doesn’t yield to a pedestrian, the results can be catastrophic.

Pedestrians also have a responsibility to exercise caution

If a pedestrian is going to enter a crosswalk but hasn’t entered it yet, then they do have some responsibility. The law isn’t 100% clear here but it does say that a pedestrian can’t “suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety,” and into the path or a car or other vehicle. If the pedestrian does so and creates what the Vehicle Code calls an “immediate hazard,” then they can be at fault for a pedestrian accident.

This isn’t entirely clear but there are two things we know about it. First, it means that a pedestrian should only cross the road when they’re either at a marked crosswalk or intersection. Second, it means that pedestrians are required to proceed with caution and look both ways before they cross the street. If they see that the traffic going or a car is approaching, then it would be obviously dangers to walk into the street.

When a vehicle has the right of way

In California, pedestrians don’t always have the right of way. If a pedestrian is in the road where there is no crosswalk and it’s not an intersection, then they must yield to vehicles. As a result, pedestrians really only have the right of way if they’re at an intersection or a marked crosswalk. Anywhere else, they are required to yield to cars.

Not knowing California right of way laws may be considered negligence

If a person gets involved in a pedestrian accident because they didn’t know the applicable right of way laws, this is not likely to be a successful excuse in a court of law. Instead, both pedestrians and drivers have a responsibility to understand right of way laws. If they are involved in an accident as a result of not following those laws, then they can be held liable.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or your property has been damaged by a pedestrian acting unlawfully, then you may be eligible for compensation for your damages. Contact Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn at (310) 209-1600 for a free legal consultation.

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