Elderly Pedestrian Killed in Orange County Car Accident

April 4, 2012

Ngoi Nguyen, 81, was killed in a Cypress car accident after a vehicle struck her as she was crossing a street, the evening of April 3, 2012. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred on Cerritos Avenue between Walker and Moody streets. Nguyen was transported to an area trauma center with critical injuries, but did not survive. The driver remained at the scene and was not cited or arrested. Officials are still looking into whether Nguyen was in a crosswalk at the time of the incident and who had the right-of-way. The investigation is ongoing.

I offer my deepest sympathies to the family members and friends of Ngoi Nguyen for their devastating loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and 14 were injured due to pedestrian accidents in Cypress. In Orange County as a whole, 41 fatalities and 864 injuries occurred involving pedestrian accidents.

Right-of-Way Issues

Based on the news article, police are still looking into whether the motorist or the pedestrian had the right-of-way at the time of the collision and if the pedestrian was in a crosswalk at the time. Under California law, motorists are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.

California Vehicle Code Section 21954 states: "Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard." The same section also states: "The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway."

Fault and Liability

In this case, if the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she can be held liable for Nguyen’s wrongful death. A knowledgeable Cypress personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a public entity must be filed within six months of the incident.

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