A 73-year-old Fullerton woman has been arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run in connection with a crash that critically injured a 28-year-old pedestrian in Pacific Palisades. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the major injury collision occurred the night of February 14, 2014 when the pedestrian was walking across Pacific Coast Highway north of Temescal Canyon Road in a marked, flashing pedestrian crosswalk. Anna Soon Ma crashed her 2010 Toyota Prius into the pedestrian and then left the scene. The man suffered severe head trauma and was hospitalized. Ma was later arrested and charged.
My thoughts and prayers are with the severely injured pedestrian. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Pedestrian Accidents in Los Angeles
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 90 fatalities and 2,457 injuries reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in the city of Los Angeles. Countywide, 173 people died and 4,575 were injured due to pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver, Ma, struck a pedestrian as he was crossing in a marked, flashing crosswalk and drove away without stopping to help him. 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.” Leaving the scene of an injury crash is also against California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a).
Protecting Victims’ Rights
Although it is a relief that the driver was apprehended in this case, it is a fact that victims are the ones left holding medical bills and facing other unforeseen expenses after a hit-and-run crash. In such cases, injured victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to the accident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Please remember that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident.