A 2-year-old girl was injured in an Orange County car accident after her stroller was hit by a tow truck at a street intersection. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the injury collision occurred at the intersection of Placentia and Chapman avenue in Placentia, the evening of December 26, 2011. A woman and her two children were crossing the street when the tow truck hit them. The driver did not see the pedestrians crossing, police said. The tow truck continued to travel north on Chapman until another driver, who had followed the truck, stopped it. The toddler was knocked off her stroller. The girl was transported to an area trauma center for treatment of multiple injuries. Her mother and the other child were uninjured. An investigation is ongoing.
I’m relieved to hear that no one suffered life-threatening injuries in this pedestrian accident. I wish the young victim the very best for a quick and full recovery.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 13 injuries reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in Placentia. In Orange County as a whole, 41 people died and 864 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents, during the same year.
Based on this news account, the collision occurred at an intersection where there are marked crosswalks. The tow truck driver apparently told police that he was looking out for approaching bicyclists, but not pedestrians. Motorists are required under California law to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians 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.”
Fault and Liability
It is not clear as to why the tow truck driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrians. Was he inattentive, distracted, or otherwise negligent? If the tow truck driver is determined to have been at fault, he and his employer can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused here. Victims or their families in such cases can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. The victim’s family would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and make sure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.