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Pedestrian Accident in San Clemente Proves Fatal

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Ann Chang, 60, died from injuries suffered in a San Clemente pedestrian accident the morning of April 15, 2014. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the incident occurred when Chang was crossing North El Camino Real at West Canada in San Clemente when a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer hit her. Police say the woman was in a marked crosswalk, which does not have a traffic signal. The driver, a 38-year-old woman, remained at the scene and was not cited or arrested. Investigators say she was driving about 25 mph at the time. The investigation is still ongoing.

I offer my deepest sympathies to the family members and friends of Ann Chang for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

One person died and 10 were injured due to pedestrian accidents in San Clemente in 2011, according to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 38 fatalities and 773 injuries were reported as a result of pedestrian accidents during the same year.

Crosswalk Laws

Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was driving at or near the speed limit and the pedestrian was in a marked, non-lighted crosswalk. California law requires all motorists to stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians who are walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.

California Vehicle Code section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”

Liability Issues

If the driver in this case is determined to have been at fault, then, she could be held liable for the pedestrian’s wrongful death. A knowledgeable Orange County personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine if a dangerous roadway condition at the location where this accident occurred, caused or contributed to the incident. Have there been other accidents at this crosswalk? Have neighbors complained about this location being dangerous for pedestrians? If this was a dangerous roadway, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held financially liable. Any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within 180 days of the incident.

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