Blind struck by car
Started by WCtheJD , Yesterday, 05:41 PM
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2 replies to this topic
Posted Yesterday, 05:41 PM
My cousin was struck by a car in a shopping mall parking lot in California. He is legally blind (almost no sight) and was carrying his white cane. The parking lot is usually busy with lots of people walking to and from their cars and crossing to the stores from the street. At about noon on a clear day, he was crossing the parking lot to the sidewalk when a driver backed out of a parking space. It appears from the diagram in the police report that he was in plan sight of the driver. According to the police report the driver told the officer that she "was backing when she heard something hit the driver's side of her vehicle. She looked and saw [my cousin] had walked into the side of her vehicle . . ." The driver claims that my cousin walked into her car but the police report says she was not looking in his direction when he came in contact with the car, so I don't see how it is possible that she knows whether he walked into her car or her car ran into him. Based on her statement that he walked into her car and his position on the ground the police said the accident was primarily my cousin's fault, the driver was the secondary factor (unsafe backing).
My cousin was knocked to the ground and broke his hip. He was taken to the hospital were he spent 4 days in icu. His medical bills from the hospital are more than $240,000 and he has been in physical therapy for 3 months. He has a permanent limp now.
California has a "white cane" law that says basically that a blind person with a cane always has the right of way. However, since this happened in a parking lot I've been told this law doesn't apply.
Do you think the officer is right in his assessment? And does the white cane law apply in private parking lots? Violation is a misdemeanor, and I know that some misdemeanor laws apply in private lots, like DUI.
Posted Yesterday, 09:38 PM
First the cop didn't see it and is basing his report on what he was told and what he observed. VC 21963 mandates that a vehicle approaching a blind person with a cane or guide dog yield the right of way. I suspect the officer, unlike your cousin, could see where the damage to the vehicle was which would be a clear indication of where contact occurred and he could also see the amount of traffic and number of other cars in the surrounding area that might have contributed to the problem. If the damage is along the side of the vehicle vs. in the rear, he could well have walked into it and been pushed back because the driver took a few seconds to react and hit her brakes. He is free to file a claim against her insurance company and he can try suing her in small claims on his own. If his damages are greater than $7500, he should consult an attorney as $7500 is the small claims limit.
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