Herbert Hamilton, 84, was killed in an Anaheim car accident after a vehicle struck him while he was crossing the street in a motorized scooter. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal car accident occurred at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Clementine Street, the morning of March 27, 2012. Police say Hamilton was on a power scooter while crossing northbound on Lincoln at Clementine, when a white Dodge Caravan hit him. Hamilton was transported to a local hospital where he died shortly afterward. Officials are looking into who had the right-of-way and whether the man was in a crosswalk when he was struck. No arrests or citations were reported.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Herbert Hamilton for their tragic 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), there were eight fatalities and 101 injuries involving Anaheim pedestrian accidents. In Orange County as a whole, 41 people died and 864 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents, during the same year.
Laws Relating to Pedestrians
Based on this news account, Hamilton was riding a mobility scooter as he crossed the roadway. Under California law, anyone who rides a motorized wheelchair or scooter is considered a pedestrian. Under California Vehicle Code Section 467 (b), the term “pedestrian” includes any person “who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.”
California law also requires motorists to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians 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
If the driver of the Dodge is determined to have been at fault, then, he or she can be held liable for Hamilton’s wrongful death. An experienced Anaheim personal injury lawyer will also 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 be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within six months of the incident.