Alameda Pedestrian Victim of Hit and Run Driver
A pedestrian who was crossing Central Avenue in Alameda was hit by a sports car on April 21, 2012. The victim was hospitalized, and is now recovering at home. The police say that the victim and another person were crossing the street in between intersections in the 700 block of Central Avenue at about 1:45 p.m. At that time a bystander yelled a warning to the two men. One was able to jump out of the way. The other was hit by the car which then fled the scene.
As an Alameda personal injury lawyer, a couple points come to mind regarding this accident. First, when you are involved in any accident, you are legally obligated to stop and identity yourself, and provide your insurance information. This is true regardless who is at fault for the accident. Second, even though cars have the right of way when traveling down the road, in between intersections, drivers still have an obligation to keep their attention on the roadway and avoid injury to others where possible. In other words, jaywalkers aren’t fair game for drivers as they cross the road in front of you.
Looking at the conduct of the pedestrians in this case, the first question that pops out is why are they jaywalking? The 700 block of Alameda is a busy street. There are nearby intersections, with traffic lights to protect pedestrians. Under the law, a pedestrian also has the legal obligation to keep a look out for on coming traffic and obey all traffic laws. According to the reports, this was not done in this case.
It is hard to analyze the entire picture from a legal liability standpoint, because we don’t know the speed of the driver, where he came from, whether there was intoxication involved, why the pedestrians were in the street, and where the point of impact was located. However, a couple of points can be made.
With regard to the injured pedestrian, he will not be able to sue the hit and run driver for his personal injuries unless the driver can be located. Therefore, his only method of obtaining compensation would be through his own uninsured motorist coverage on his automobile, if he has one.
Uninsured motorist protection is required by California law for every policy of automobile liability insurance issued in the state. It must be issued with limits of no less than $15,000.00 per accident. It protects drivers against uninsured drivers, but unbeknownst to many people, it also protects pedestrians and cyclists if they are injured by an uninsured driver or hit and run driver.
In a successful uninsured motorist claim, the pedestrian can obtain full reimbursement of his medical bills, any lost wages incurred, and general damages for his pain and suffering (up to the amount of uninsured motorist coverage that the individual carries).
In this case, the pedestrian would be able to make a claim against his own insurance carrier for the damages caused by the hit and run driver, assuming he can prove that the driver was negligent. His damages would then be reduced because of his own fault for jaywalking. This is the law of comparative negligence.
The important thing to remember about pedestrian accidents, and hit and run accidents, is that if you are injured in a accident like this, you can recover fully from your own uninsured motorist carrier. Therefore, it is also important to know about your auto insurance coverage and how much uninsured motorist coverage you have and whether it is adequate to fully protect you if you are injured by an uninsured or hit and run driver.
Victim of Central Ave. Hit and Run Recovering, Alameda Patch, April 25, 2012