Your Law Firm For Life In Northern California

Who’s at fault when a person is hit outside of a crosswalk?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Pedestrian accidents are frequent occurrences in Ukiah, a Californian city with almost 17,000 inhabitants. Such incidents can result in severe repercussions for both the pedestrian and the driver involved. That’s why it’s important to understand who’s at fault when a person is hit outside of a crosswalk and the legal requirements for both parties.

Who has the right of way?

Pedestrians have the right to cross at any intersection. But they should also exercise due care when doing so, even when crossing outside a marked crosswalk. This means that they should follow specific rules to avoid causing vehicular accidents, such as:

  • Not walking in front of oncoming vehicles
  • Refraining from crossing in the middle of the street or against a traffic signal
  • Avoiding walking in areas where it is dangerous to do so

If pedestrians cross outside a crosswalk, they must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles. Crossing the street mid-block is generally legal as long as pedestrians yield to traffic. However, pedestrians must use a bridge or tunnel nearby instead of crossing the street to protect both drivers and themselves.

What happens after a pedestrian collision?

Drivers should always watch out for pedestrians who may not always act predictably or follow the law. And they should prepare to stop or avoid them if necessary. Legally, drivers must exercise due care when operating a motor vehicle, especially around pedestrians. This means they should drive with caution while obeying traffic laws, including:

  • Obey the speed limit
  • Follow the traffic rules
  • Stay alert and attentive to their surroundings

If drivers hit pedestrians outside a crosswalk, they are not automatically liable. In the event of a suit, the court considers the surrounding circumstances to determine who was negligent or reckless. There are only two instances in which California law provides that a driver is negligent and liable for the accident: if they had been found guilty of reckless driving, violating traffic rules or operating a vehicle while intoxicated.