It’s not what you look at that matters,

It’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

A driver hits a pedestrian in California. Who’s at fault? Generally, the driver. But there are some things you should know.

First, both the driver and the pedestrian have a duty to use due care. That means both should act reasonably. A driver, however, should act more reasonably because he’s a driver. A driver can kill someone. Also, a driver should act more reasonably if the pedestrian is a child. Children are unpredictable.

Second, a driver has a duty to anticipate that he may encounter a pedestrian in the street and to lookout for them.

Third, a driver must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the road within any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. CVC § 21950(a).

Fourth, a driver is not necessarily at fault just by hitting a pedestrian. See if the driver was doing something against the law (e.g. speeding, making an illegal turn).

Fifth, a pedestrian who’s in the road and not on a marked or unmarked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all cars that present an immediate hazard. CVC § 21954(a). A driver must still use due care toward the pedestrian. CVC § 21954(b).

Sixth, pedestrians should not cross the road between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic lights, unless there’s a crosswalk. CVC § 21955.

Here’s what California’s DMV Driver’s Handbook has to say about the matter. Here’s general state law on pedestrian rights and duties.

Questions? Contact Me.

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