You are currently viewing Who Is At Fault In A Pedestrian Accident In California?

It’s not what you look at that matters,

It’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

A driver hits a pedestrian in California. Who’s at fault? Generally, the driver. But there are some things you should know.

First, both the driver and the pedestrian have a duty to use due care. That means both should act reasonably. A driver, however, should act more reasonably because he’s a driver. A driver can kill someone. Also, a driver should act more reasonably if the pedestrian is a child. Children are unpredictable.

Second, a driver has a duty to anticipate that he may encounter a pedestrian in the street and to lookout for them.

Third, a driver must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the road within any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. CVC § 21950(a).

Fourth, a driver is not necessarily at fault just by hitting a pedestrian. See if the driver was doing something against the law (e.g. speeding, making an illegal turn).

Fifth, a pedestrian who’s in the road and not on a marked or unmarked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all cars that present an immediate hazard. CVC § 21954(a). A driver must still use due care toward the pedestrian. CVC § 21954(b).

Sixth, pedestrians should not cross the road between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic lights, unless there’s a crosswalk. CVC § 21955.

Here is California’s DMV Driver’s Handbook. It may be helpful to consider that.

And here is general state law on pedestrian rights and duties.

Questions? Contact Me.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He has practiced law throughout California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Evan worked for and defended insurance companies during the first 7 years of his practice. Since 2015, he has represented people with personal injury and property damage claims and insurance disputes.

Evan’s practice is devoted to serious personal injury claims and catastrophic property damage claims. Areas of focus include security claims against bars and other businesses, government tort claims, fire and flood claims, and inverse condemnation. On behalf of clients, Evan has fought insurance firms, international companies, cities, bars, and casinos.

Evan regularly shares his expertise with other attorneys by teaching courses on insurance and inverse condemnation. He has taught several continuing legal education courses to Attorney Credits, a nationwide CLE company, and ProLawCLE, another nationwide CLE company. He also contributes to various podcasts and publications.


  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, San Diego Bar Association
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • Member, La Jolla Bar Association
  • Member, La Jolla Village Merchants Association
  • Member, San Diego Chamber of Commerce