It’s hard enough to be a pedestrian in California. The freeways and coast roads were not designed with a lot of walkers in mind, and the paths are nearly nonexistent except for major trails designed for recreation. No one trying to get from one place to another on foot should have to contend with the risk of bodily harm.

But this sort of injury or fatality happens regrettably often in the Golden State. A man walking on the side of Salinas Road south of Watsonville was struck by a car and died due to his injuries. The driver of the car that struck him did not remain at the scene or contact authorities.

California Highway Patrol officers collected evidence that led to a house a few miles away. It was there that they arrested a 26-year-old man on several charges connected to driving under the influence of alcohol, vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

Charges are always more severe for drunk drivers or drivers who attempt to escape detection or responsibility for the damages and injuries they have caused. It is also vital to help at the scene of a serious accident, as injuries may prove fatal without immediate response or the summoning of emergency services.

The pedestrian victims of car accidents and the survivors of accident fatalities always have the right to seek compensation for losses or reimbursement of related costs in civil court. Criminal charges may cover a person’s debt to society, but claims for damages are often the only help that a family can get in this difficult situation.