Gabriel Lopez, 61, was fatally injured in a Riverside car accident after a car struck him as he crossed the street. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, the pedestrian accident occurred at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Shoreline Drive in Lake Elsinore, the night of March 12, 2012. Witnesses say Lopez entered the street and walked into the path of the vehicle, but officials are still investigating the circumstances of this fatal collision. Lopez died from his injuries the following morning during surgery. The driver of the car has not been cited for the accident, but the investigation is ongoing.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Gabriel Lopez for their terrible loss. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Riverside Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but five injuries reported due to pedestrian accidents in Lake Elsinore. During that same year, seven fatalities and 347 injuries occurred involving Riverside County pedestrian accidents.

Laws Relating to Pedestrians

Based on this news report, it is unclear if Lopez was in a crosswalk, if he had the right of way, or why the driver was unable to avoid the collision. 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.”

Liability Issues

If the driver is determined to have been at fault here, he or she can be held liable for Lopez’s wrongful death. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway condition caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident.