Holding public entities responsible after pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian Accidents | May 6, 2014

In our last post, we discussed how negligent drivers can be held responsible for pedestrian accidents through personal injury lawsuits. However, in this post we will look at pedestrian accident liability from another angle.

An informative article on our website discuses government liability for negligent road defects after a serious motor vehicle or pedestrian accident.

The article states that even though people who are struck by motor vehicles often look to the drivers for fault, sometimes it is actually the condition of the roadway that caused the accident.

State and local governments have a duty to keep roads reasonably safe, but this duty is not always met. In cases where pedestrians are injured because this duty was breached, the government may be liable for damages.

There are two situations that allow state and local governments to be held liable for pedestrian accidents under California law:

1. Dangerous condition due to fault of public employee: When a negligent act or omission on behalf of a public employee working in the scope of his or her employment results in a dangerous condition that contributed to the accident.

2. Dangerous condition that a public entity knew about but failed to correct: When a public entity is warned about a dangerous condition but nothing is done to rectify it and an accident occurs as a result.

Of course, holding the state of California or a local government liable for pedestrian accidents is not always easy and typically requires an extensive review of the circumstances surrounding the accident as well as state and local laws.

In some cases, it ends up that both the driver and the state or local government share responsibility for the accident.

Ultimately, it takes a skilled personal injury lawyer to help the accident victim and his or her family navigate through this complex area of law.