When Government Entities Are to Blame for Pedestrian Accidents

By: JML Law | January 31, 2019.
When Government Entities Are to Blame for Pedestrian Accidents

The City of Los Angeles has a serious pedestrian accident problem and the City’s Vision Zero project, which has the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths in the City by 2025 so far seems to be coming up short. Hundreds of pedestrians are dying on Los Angeles roads each year. LAPD famously announced a pedestrian safety initiative at the end of last year where they curiously handed out reflector vests and LED lights to pedestrians that were caught jaywalking. Many pedestrians were angered by the initiative because they felt that the true issues causing so many pedestrian deaths were being ignored.

Los Angeles pedestrian safety issues

Pedestrians often feel at risk in Los Angeles due to issues that threaten their safety. Those issues include:

  • Needing more crosswalks – pedestrians are going to jaywalk before they walk several blocks to reach the nearest crosswalk
  • Needing better signage and signals for a pedestrian crossing at intersections
  • More citations are issued for driving violations that threaten pedestrian safety

Pedestrian accident injuries

Pedestrian accidents are extremely dangerous because of the severity of injuries sustained by pedestrians struck by automobiles. Pedestrians who survive being struck by an automobile often sustain severe injuries that require intense medical treatment and long-term recovery. Sometimes injuries are permanent and debilitating, changing an injured pedestrian’s life forever.

When is a municipality liable for a pedestrian accident

There are clear rules of the road in California when it comes to pedestrians, automobiles, and the right of way, but who is responsible when road conditions caused or contributed to the accident? Government entities are typically responsible for road maintenance and existing dangerous conditions in roadways and crosswalks. They may also be responsible for dangerous road design, lack of signals, or other dangers that caused an accident.

Dangerous road conditions

Government entities may be liable for the following dangerous road conditions:

Poor road maintenance

  • Potholes
  • Cracked and uneven crosswalks and roadways
  • Sinking or caved in roadways
  • Loose gravel and other debris in the road
  • Wheel ruts

Dangerous design and planning

  • Lack of necessary signage or signals
  • Unmarked crosswalks
  • Poor lighting impairing drivers’ vision at night
  • Dangerous road curves, especially without adequate warnings
  • Unmarked intersections
  • Failure to warn of construction
  • Faded street paint
  • Lack of guardrails or other safety measures
  • Overgrown trees or other causes of obstructed views of intersections and signs
  • Blind roadway entries
  • Inadequate drainage or clogged drainage causing flooding and water hazards

Claims against the city

Suing cities are permitted, but those lawsuits can be tricky. There are more restrictions and requirements when it comes to filing claims against the City of Los Angeles and other government entities than there are when filing claims against individuals. For example, the statute of limitations is typically shorter when you are suing a government entity and you must give the government notice of your claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by dangerous road conditions or a negligent driver, contact a Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney at JML Law to schedule a free consultation. Whether a government entity, an automobile driver, or someone else is responsible for your injuries, our pedestrian accident team is here to answer your questions and discuss your recovery options.

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