If you have recently been injured in a pedestrian accident and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, get ready to be up against the most common defense in pedestrian accident cases: improper crossing.
As its name implies, this is one of the strongest defenses mounted by motor vehicle drivers to escape liability or limit the injured pedestrian’s award by claiming that the pedestrian crossed the roadway improperly.
Fortunately, with the help of an experienced San Diego pedestrian accident attorney by your side, you can fight this defense and seek the compensation you truly deserve.
Comparative negligence and assumption of risk
More often than not, drivers do not give up so easily when it comes to lawsuits filed against them by injured pedestrians. In the vast majority of such situations, the at-fault driver will argue that the pedestrian’s own carelessness or negligence contributed to the accident.
Also, a great number of drivers argue that a pedestrian assumed the risk by entering the roadway. And while it is true that in certain situations, pedestrians can contribute or cause the accident by their own negligence or recklessness, the “assumption of risk” defense is inappropriate in the vast majority of motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians.
Our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys in San Diego at Hiden, Rott & Oertle, LLP, explains that in order for the “assumption of risk” defense to work in a pedestrian accident case, the defendant must prove that the pedestrian had knowledge of the very specific risk and then voluntarily chose to assume it despite the consequences, which is rarely the case.
The strongest defense in pedestrian accident cases
Despite the above arguments, the legal doctrine of pure comparative negligence in California can be the strongest “defense” in a pedestrian accident case. More often than not, defendants in such cases can limit the injured pedestrian’s recoverable compensation by arguing that he or she crossed the roadway at a location other than a crosswalk, he or she failed to make himself/herself visible to drivers, and/or he or she crossed too far away from the crosswalk.
In that case, the jury and judge may consider the objective reasonableness of the pedestrian’s conduct if the pedestrian contributed to the accident to one degree or another, and limit the pedestrian’s personal injury award.
How to defeat the improper crossing defense in California
When the “improper crossing” pedestrian accident defense is used against you, there are multiple ways to defeat this defense. The legal strategy to fight this defense will depend on the circumstances in your particular case. To make this happen, your San Diego pedestrian accident attorney must analyze the facts of your case and determine whether or not the crossing was truly improper.
To make this determination, your lawyer will review the statutes related to the right of pedestrians to cross the roadway at the exact location where the accident occurred in San Diego, El Centro, Los Angeles, or elsewhere in California.
There are many situations in which drivers attempt to escape liability by arguing that the pedestrian crossed the roadway against the “Don’t Walk” sign even if the light was green in his/her direction was negligent because he or she violated the statute requiring him/her to obey a pedestrian traffic control. However, this defense will have little to no legal value if you are represented by an experienced lawyer, because a pedestrian crossing the road against a green light per se cannot be classified as “improper crossing.” In fact, it is the driver’s duty to look for any pedestrians in the crosswalks in this particular situation.
Also, do keep in mind that when a pedestrian enters the crosswalk against a green light in his/her direction, he or she has the right to remain in the crosswalk and continue crossing the road even if the sign changes to the “Don’t Walk” sign.
Let our skilled lawyers at Hiden, Rott & Oertle, LLP, investigate your particular case during a free consultation and determine what the best way to defeat the improper crossing defense is. Call our offices at 619-630-0205.