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Pedestrian Accidents and Distracted Walking: What You Should Know

Pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in Los Angeles, resulting in thousands of injuries each year and more than 100 deaths on average. Indeed, according to data from the USC Price Center for Social Innovation, between the years 2012 and 2016, there were more than 14,000 pedestrian injuries in collisions with motor vehicles and a total of 439 fatalities. Pedestrian injury and death rates continue to climb in Los Angeles despite initiatives aimed at reducing these accidents. In most cases, negligent motor vehicle drivers are at fault. Yet how does distracted walking play a role in pedestrian accidents in and around Los Angeles? Further, how frequently does distracted walking lead to pedestrian injuries, and how can it affect liability?

Getting the Facts About Distracted Walking

Most of us know that distracted driving is a significant problem that can result in life-threatening accidents. It is important to understand that distracted walking, too, can pose serious injury risks. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), distracted walking is a bigger issue than you might think. Over the last two decades, the rate of pedestrian injuries caused by smartphone distraction “has more than doubled,” the AAOS reports, and data suggests that approximately 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted while walking. The most common distractions reported by the AAOS include the following:

● Talking on a cell phone while walking;

● Engaging in conversation with another pedestrian;

● Listening to music while walking; and

● Texting, emailing, or web browsing on a smartphone while walking.

Approximately 40 percent of Americans report that “they have personally witnessed a distracted walking incident,” while about 26 percent indicate that “they have been in an incident themselves.”

How Distracted Walking Can Impact Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Claim

When pedestrians are distracted and are involved in collisions with motor vehicles, those pedestrians may be partially at fault for the accident and the injuries they have suffered. Yet even in circumstances where distracted walking played a role in the collision, a negligent motorist may still be partially at fault. For example, a distracted pedestrian might have been looking at a smartphone to read a text while walking in a crosswalk when a motorist failed to stop at the crosswalk. Or, for instance, a pedestrian might have been listening to music and might not have heard a vehicle approaching, but the driver of the vehicle might have been texting while driving at the time of the collision with the pedestrian.

In these kinds of situations, can a pedestrian still seek financial compensation? Under California’s pure comparative fault rule, a distracted pedestrian who was injured in a collision with a motor vehicle can recover damages as long as the defendant bears some responsibility. In other words, if a

pedestrian files a lawsuit against a negligent motorist, that pedestrian can recover damages whether that pedestrian is anywhere from zero percent to ninety-nine percent at fault. However, if the pedestrian is partially at fault, that plaintiff’s damages award will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.

Contact a Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident and need assistance with your claim, one of our Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys can help. Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers online or call us at (213) 985-1120.