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Do pedestrians always have the right of way?

Imagine a pedestrian is walking on the sidewalk along a busy stretch of Los Angeles roadway. Unexpectedly and for no apparent reason, the pedestrian jumps out into traffic and gets hit by a car. This kind of incident is known as a "dart-out" pedestrian accident. If the pedestrian survives with serious injuries, will he or she have the right to pursue a claim for damages against the driver that struck him or her?

The notion that pedestrians always have the right of way does not apply to all situations. For example, in the scenario described above, the driver might not be responsible for the accident and injuries. A court may deem that the pedestrian acted irresponsibly -- and that no reasonable driver could have avoided getting into a crash when someone unexpectedly darted into traffic.

However, in some cases, a pedestrian who darted out into traffic might prevail in his or her claim for damages. In the case of a child pedestrian, for instance, drivers need to be extra cautious when children are present. A reasonable driver should anticipate that children could act in unexpected ways, and even dart out into traffic. Therefore, a reasonable driver should drive with an elevated level of caution to give a child pedestrian more space and avoid the potential of getting into a crash.

The general idea that pedestrians always have the right of way, however, is an important one for drivers to maintain. This way, drivers will be extra alert and ready to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. Failing to be attentive when pedestrians are present could land a driver in hot water if his or her inattentiveness results in a collision with an otherwise law-abiding pedestrian.

Were you or a family member involved in a pedestrian versus car crash? At Sullivan & Sullivan, we're a personal injury law firm that represents pedestrians in personal injury claims. If you have a viable claim for damages related to a pedestrian accident, our firm can seek money to pay for your medical care and other financial damages related to the incident.

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