Crossing Against the Light – Who’s to Blame?

Pedestrians aren’t supposed to cross against the light.  But drivers aren’t supposed to hit them either.

We represented a woman who crossed when the “red hand” was illuminated on the cross walk indicator. She looked both ways and decided to cross.  As she was about three quarters of the way across the crosswalk, she was hit by a car.

Who’s to blame? The pedestrian crossed against the light.  But that doesn’t mean the driver who hits her is fault-free.  Drivers must make best efforts to avoid hitting pedestrians.

In our case it came down to the fact that the driver saw or should have seen our client. It was light out.  She was walking at a regular pace.  She did not dart out into the road.  There was nothing blocking the driver’s view.

Most pedestrians are hit because drivers aren’t paying attention.  Here’s a description from a recent wrongful death case where a pedestrian was hit by a truck:

A truck driver for Chino-based Gardner Trucking Inc. was distracted when he struck t59-year-old Mary Cabrera, as she crossed the intersection of Blosser and Cook streets during the late morning of Dec. 15, 2015.

Estrada was unfamiliar with the area and had gotten lost while making a delivery in Santa Maria that day, the lawsuit states. He was attempting to get back on his delivery route when he struck Cabrera.

Cabrera was pushing a shopping cart across the intersection when she was hit by the big rig, according to the lawsuit. Cabrera was pronounced dead at the scene.

The big take-aways are (1) that there’s probably a case even if the pedestrian was crossing improperly or outside a crosswalk and (2) in most of these cases the driver is likley distracted and either partially or totally at fault.

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