When someone talks about an auto accident injury, typically people assume that only cars were involved. But auto accidents can involve more than just automobiles. There are times when motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are injured. These are all special types of cases, and the laws regarding liability are different. In San Francisco, pedestrians can be at fault for their own injuries if they were not following California pedestrian laws.
It is typically the case that the driver bears more responsibility to avoid injuring a pedestrian, which is why automobile drivers are almost always at fault. However, there are times when the actions of a pedestrian cannot be anticipated or compensated for, which makes them at least partially – if not completely – responsible for their own injuries.
Pedestrians and crosswalk laws
A driver must yield the right of way or stop if a pedestrian is crossing any roadway that is either marked or unmarked. The restrictions on the crosswalk laws are if the pedestrian enters into a crosswalk (either marked or unmarked) when there is heavy traffic or a hazard is obvious. Since the pedestrian has a duty of care to act as any reasonable person would in the same situation, if they enter into heavy traffic without any concern for their own safety, then that might make them liable for their own injuries.
Pedestrians and control signals
Across San Francisco, there are various pedestrian signs that indicate when a person can walk and when they can’t. Whether the sign is in the form of written directions like “walk” or “don’t walk” or in hand signs, the signs are there to protect the pedestrian, and the pedestrian has an obligation to follow the signs according to the law.
If the sign either depicts a person walking or it says “walk,” then the pedestrian may proceed to cross the roadway or the street. The signal must be facing in the direction that the pedestrian is walking and if it is flashing or signaling a pedestrian to walk, then they have the right of way. If they are hit or injured by a motorist, then the driver would be at fault for their injuries.
If the sign is signaling either “don’t walk” or there is a raised palm indicating that a pedestrian should not cross into the walkway, then the pedestrian cannot lawfully walk out into traffic. If they ignore the sign and are hit by oncoming traffic, then they might be held partially or completely liable and responsible for their injuries.
When crossing at places which are not designated crosswalks
If a pedestrian is crossing at any other place besides those crosswalks that are designated for them to walk, they have an obligation to yield to the drivers and to watch for oncoming traffic. If they fail to do so, then they might be held either partially or wholly liable for their injuries.
Pedestrians who are on roadways
If you are outside of a residential or business district and walk into oncoming traffic, you are breaking pedestrian law. It is not legal for a pedestrian to walk either upon or along any roadway that is not designated as a crosswalk. If they do so and are injured, then they might be held liable for any injuries that they sustain. The driver cannot anticipate that someone might be walking on a roadway, and therefore bears no responsibility for having an increased duty of care when driving.
If a pedestrian has to walk along a roadway that is not designed for walking, then they must travel on the left side of the road or completely on the shoulder of the roadway facing the flow of traffic in the opposite direction.
Pedestrians and sidewalk right of way
If a pedestrian is walking along the sidewalk, any motor vehicle must stop or yield for them. Failing to do so will put the driver at fault and liable and responsible for any injuries.
When you are out walking, you do have a duty of care to act as any reasonable person would to protect yourself from being injured. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident in San Francisco, it is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer to ensure that you can recover for your injuries.