A woman, her 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old boy, suffered serious injuries in a Fullerton pedestrian accident after an elderly driver struck them while they were walking in a marked crosswalk. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the injury collision occurred the afternoon of February 14, 2012 at the intersection of Rolling Hills Drive and Puente Street.
Police say the woman and her children were leaving Beechwood Elementary school and were crossing the road, when a 90-year-old woman driving a Ford Focus hit them. She kept driving for several hundred yards before crashing into a tree. Police say the woman “appeared groggy” when she was pulled from the wreck. Officials are still looking into whether she suffered a medical condition. The mother and two children were hospitalized with serious injuries, but are expected to survive. The investigation is ongoing.
My heart goes out to the injured pedestrians. It is indeed a relief to note that their injuries were not life-threatening. I wish them the very best for a quick and complete recovery.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and 63 were injured due to pedestrian accidents in Fullerton. In Orange County as a whole, 41 fatalities and 864 injuries occurred involving pedestrian accidents, during the same year.
Based on this news report, the pedestrians were legally crossing in a marked crosswalk at the time. 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.”
Fault and Liability
I trust officials are looking into why the elderly driver did not stop and yield the right of way to the pedestrians. Did she suffer a medical condition? Was she under the influence of prescription drugs? Did she have a valid license? Was she disoriented?
If the driver is determined to have been at fault for this accident, she can be held liable for the victims’ serious injuries. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, loss of earnings, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related expenses. Pedestrian accident victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable.