Pedestrians and cyclists are exposed to numerous dangers while traveling on public sidewalks and roadways. Given their relative lack of bodily protection, pedestrian and bicycle accidents often result in catastrophic injury or death. At the Northern California Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty, our legal team seeks justice and compensation for pedestrians and bicyclists who are injured due to the negligence of another.
Pedestrian accidents can range from a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk or a trip and fall on a sidewalk in disrepair, to a fatal collision with an automobile or bus in a busy intersection. In premises liability cases, issues often revolve around whether the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and took steps to repair, remedy or warn of the situation in a timely manner. The responsibility for maintaining a sidewalk in good repair and free of hazards may fall to the property owner, the city, or a combination of the two, increasing the complexity of any lawsuit or claim for recovery and requiring the skills of an experienced personal injury trial lawyer.
Construction and Repair Sites
Street construction which places cars and pedestrian walkways in extremely close proximity with one another can be particularly hazardous to the pedestrian. Similarly, sidewalk repair or building construction often results in sidewalks being blocked, forcing pedestrians into the street or onto makeshift platforms and walkways. Pedestrians are exposed to dangers from tripping on these makeshift walkways, or from falling lumber, concrete, and other debris from construction overhead.
The Danger of Crosswalks - Safety Zone or Death Trap?
Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at marked crosswalks and intersections. However, a particularly dangerous situation occurs when a driver has stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross the street, and another car coming from behind does not realize why the driver ahead has stopped. This second driver will often abruptly change lanes to pass the stopped driver, creating a significant risk of hitting the pedestrian. What are otherwise supposed to be the safest places for pedestrians to cross the street can then become the most deadly.
Bicyclists are vulnerable to many of the same hazards as pedestrians, particularly in construction zones where lanes are narrowed and road surfaces are less than ideal for a biker. Despite the availability of helmets and protective padding for the biker, a cyclist may fare even worse than a pedestrian in a collision with an automobile, because the speed of the bicycle is added to the speed of the car in measuring the force of the impact, such as in a head-on collision.
It is important for cyclists to know that they are subject to the same traffic laws and rules of the road as drivers of automobiles and other motor vehicles. Given their vulnerability, bicyclists should be especially vigilant when riding near automobiles, and be sure to ride safely and predictably, signaling their intentions well ahead of time. A rider who is negligent in causing an accident, or who incurs more serious injuries by not wearing a helmet or other safety gear, can still recover a portion of damages from a driver or municipal authority whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident.
As with automobiles and motorcycles, the possibility that equipment failure led to the accident should always be investigated. A weak frame or suspension, or a tire defect, can cause the rider to lose control of the bike and may be the cause of an accident that at first appeared to be caused by rider error. Our firm is experienced in handling products liability cases and understands the importance of investigating the possible involvement of defective products.
Mark A. Doughty has over thirty years experience handling a wide variety of personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Northern California. You can meet him offices in Sacramento, Lincoln, and Yuba City. If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian or biking accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty for immediate assistance.