An estimated 5,000 pedestrians died in 2012 in California and across the United States as the result of a motor vehicle accident. An additional 76,0000 pedestrians were injured by a vehicle. When a pedestrian-vehicle fatality or injury occurs, an investigation typically takes place to determine who was at fault in an accident.

Those injured in a car accident may be able to collect damages to cover any injuries and lost wages by filing a civil lawsuit. In order to be awarded damages, it must be determined that the person driving the vehicle behaved negligently. Those who operate a vehicle have a duty of care toward other drivers, pedestrians and property. This includes driving within a safe speed, yielding to other vehicles and pedestrians, obeying road signs, signal properly and driving appropriately for the weather.

Pedestrians and cyclists must also exercise a duty of care when walking or biking. This includes crossing the street only in designated crosswalks, obeying traffic light signals and cyclists using appropriate hand signals to communicate with drivers. Negligence is typically determined by deciding which party failed to exercise a duty of care. This may be a driver of a vehicle, the pedestrian or those responsible for maintaining roadways, sidewalks and traffic signals. The negligent party may then be responsible for damages.

Experts believe that distracted driving due to technology use is responsible for the increase seen in pedestrian deaths over the past several years. Drivers and pedestrians need to be alert and attentive when on the roadways. If they don’t, they may be responsible. For example, a driver who looked away from the road to send a text may hit a pedestrian crossing in a designated crosswalk. In this example, the driver didn’t exercise the proper duty of care by not paying attention to those in the roadway. After pedestrian and bicycle accidents a lawyer may be able to file a civil suit against the driver or on behalf of the victim or the family of the victim.