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Elderly Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Postal Truck

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A 79-year-old man was killed in a Perris pedestrian accident after a post office truck hit him. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal collision occurred the night of September 3, 2013 on the eastbound lanes of Highway 74 near Ellis Avenue just west of Perris. California Highway Patrol officials say the postal worker was driving about 45 mph when he prepared to change lanes. The driver looked to the right and changed lanes when he struck the pedestrian who he said walked “directly in front of him.” The pedestrian died at the scene.

According to CHP’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 32 fatalities and 349 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Riverside County. Also countywide, 190 people died and 7,632 were injured due to traffic accidents during the same year.

What Caused This Crash?

Based on this news report, the driver of the postal truck told officials that the pedestrian walked out in front of the truck. However, there are several questions that remain. Was the pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk? Did he suddenly walk into traffic lanes? Was the postal truck traveling too fast given the conditions on the roadway? Did the postal truck fail to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.

Laws and Liability Issues

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.”

If the driver of the postal truck is determined to have caused this collision, then, he and his employer, the U.S. Postal Service, could be held liable for the incident and the damages. Families of deceased victims in such cases can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer will be able to analyze all aspects of the incident and ensure that the families’ legal rights and best interests are protected.

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