Drivers in Los Angeles do not owe pedestrians, a person walking from one place to another, any special duties of care. A special duty of care is typically associated with medical professionals who are responsible for prevent an accident that harms a patient because they have a special skill. However, Los Angeles drivers owe pedestrians a legal duty to prevent accidents.
What is Legal Duty in Los Angeles?
Legal duty is outlined in California personal injury law. Once a driver is behind the wheel they have a legal responsibility to obey all traffic rules. They also have the responsibility of not causing an accident that injures anyone. This means they cannot do things like:
• Be distracted while driving
• Try to make a turn while a pedestrian is crossing the street
At all times while they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle they must look out for you and other pedestrians or get in legal trouble. Legal trouble may be in the form of a criminal charge or civil lawsuit. For instance, a driver may be cited or charged with vehicular homicide or speeding.
If they breach this legal duty, the driver is considered negligence. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonable driver would in similar and/or same circumstances. A reasonable driver would have operated their motor vehicle while looking out for you and other pedestrians. They would not have done something to cause an accident that injured you.
Keep in mind, a “reasonable driver” is does not exist. It is a legal standard the court uses to compare what the driver did in your accident. If the driver who caused your injuries did not act like a reasonable driver would in your accident, they are liable.
Legal Duty is the First Step to Proving the Driver was Negligent in Your Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident
In a personal injury claim, a plaintiff has the responsibility of proving the defendant was negligent. In a pedestrian accident, you are the plaintiff. The driver is the defendant. You have to prove negligence in four steps. The first step is proving they had a legal duty to protect you harm.
Personal injury law requires a defendant has the legal duty to protect you from harm. For the driver to owe you a legal duty of protection, you have to be in the zone of danger. This zone of danger is generally where the driver and their vehicle is located.
For example, if you were in walking in Hollywood and the driver was in downtown Los Angeles, you would be outside the zone of danger. However, if you are right in front of their vehicle or a couple feet away, you are in the zone of danger. At that point, they were required to protect you from harm.
The Driver must breach Their Legal Duty to Protect You from Harm in a Pedestrian Accident
The second step in providing negligence claim is the driver breached their legal duty to protect you. In other words, they did not protect you from harm because they caused your pedestrian accident. You have the burden of proving they breached their legal duty.
The only way to do this is to show how the accident happened. For instance, the driver could have breached their duty by turning while you were crossing the street. They are supposed to wait until you are out of the zone of danger. However, if they turned while you were still walking and struck you, they breached their legal duty to you.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles regarding Your Pedestrian Accident
You were struck by a motor vehicle while walking. You have the legal right to sue the driver because they had a legal right to protect you from harm. A legal right is not a special duty of care. It is a standard duty.
Talk to us about your pedestrian accident and how we plan to prove the driver had a legal duty to avoid harming you. After proving legal duty and breach of duty, causation is the next step. We have to connect their negligence to your injuries. Only after that can we submit your damages. Contact us today.