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Man in Wheelchair Injured in Fullerton Traffic Accident

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A man in a wheelchair was seriously injured in a Fullerton car accident after a vehicle struck him the night of March 3, 2014.

According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the incident occurred in the 2400 block of West Orangethorpe Avenue. Officials say the wheelchair-bound man was crossing from the north to the south side of Orangethorpe when a vehicle that was traveling east struck him. The man was transported to an area trauma center. The driver remained at the scene.

Investigators are looking into who had the right-of-way. Officials say
there is no marked crosswalk in that part of the roadway.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), five fatalities and 671 injuries were reported as a result of traffic accidents in Fullerton. In Orange County as a whole, 128 people died and 13,541 were injured due to car accidents during the same year.

Right-of-Way Issues

Based on this news report, it appears that officials are still looking into who had the right-of-way in this incident. Under California law, wheelchair-bound individuals are considered pedestrians.

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 whether the driver in this case was impaired, distracted, inattentive or otherwise negligent. If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she can be held liable for the victim’s injuries and damages. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

An experienced Fullerton 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 also be held liable. Please remember that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against the governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident.

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