James McClain, 56, of Costa Mesa, was killed in a Newport Beach car accident after being hit by a car. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred the night of November 11, 2011 on Irvine Avenue near Anniversary Lane in Newport Beach. Officials have not released information regarding how or why the fatal collision occurred. McClain was pronounced dead during the early morning hours of November 12, 2011 at a nearby hospital.
My heartfelt condolences go out to the family members and friends of James McClain for their terrible loss. My thoughts and prayers are with this grieving family.
Orange County Pedestrian Accidents
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities but 40 injuries were reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in Newport Beach. In Orange County as a whole, 41 people died and 864 were injured due to pedestrian accidents, during the same year.
California Pedestrian Laws
It is unclear from this news report as to what caused the fatal accident. It is not known if the victim was in a crosswalk or at the intersection at the time of the crash. California law requires motorists to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. However, the law also requires pedestrians to walk only in designated areas.
California Vehicle Code Section 21954 states: “Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” The same section also states: “The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.”
If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she could be held liable for McClain’s wrongful death. I trust officials are looking into whether alcohol, speed, distracted driving or any other form of negligence was a contributing factor in this accident. In cases involving negligence or wrongdoing, the family of the deceased victim can pursue compensation for medical expenses, funeral bills, lost future income, loss of companionship, and other related damages. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Newport Beach personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights are protected.