In California, the right of way in crosswalks belongs to pedestrians. However, many motorists disregard this law and rush through intersections regardless. Unfortunately, the consequences of a speeding or distracted driver causing a pedestrian accident are often catastrophic. Vehicle drivers must be cognizant of road signs warning them of upcoming pedestrian crosswalks, as a moment’s distraction may cause a driver to be unprepared for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
The State of California, Kern County and the City of Bakersfield — along with a 26-year-old driver — have been named in a lawsuit filed by the father of a student who was knocked down in a crosswalk in October of last year. The lawsuit alleges that the 17-year-old student was on her way to school when she was struck by a vehicle. The California Highway Patrol apparently concluded that the driver of the vehicle was momentarily distracted. The claim states that the girl suffered loss of consciousness, and her severe injuries included head trauma that caused internal bleeding.
The claims against the government entities allege negligence in the failure to provide advance warning of the upcoming school crossing. In addition, it is alleged that the sign indicating the speed limit approaching the school was hidden behind the branches of a tree. Furthermore, the yellow warning lines and words that were painted on the road had allegedly worn off, reducing its visibility. The driver of the vehicle was also accused of being negligent.
California residents who have been involved in a pedestrian accident may have suffered severe injuries, including fractures, brain or spinal cord injuries or other catastrophic injuries. They will need to know and understand the means to protect their legal rights in order to seek recovery of any financial damages incurred. Filing a claim against a government agency may be different from a typical civil claim, and experienced legal advice and support may be beneficial.