Many auto-pedestrian accidents happen when people attempt to cross the street at a crosswalk and they are not given the right of way by drivers in the street. These accidents are very dangerous because pedestrians have no protection and, since they assume that they have the right of way, they may not even realize that a collision is about to occur.
In some cases, these accidents happen at marked crosswalks, where it is very clear that the pedestrian is in the right place and should never have gotten hit. If the driver says that the person stepped unexpectedly into the road, the presence of the crosswalk can help the pedestrian's case.
That being said, even an unmarked crosswalk is still a crosswalk under California law. The vehicle code specifically states that a crosswalk is:
"That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles."
In short, whether there are painted lines on the pavement or not, that area still counts as a crosswalk if the pedestrian is simply trying to continue down the sidewalk and across the road at an intersection. Drivers need to be aware of people who may enter the street and they need to yield to them when they lawfully do so.
When drivers fail to observe basic safety regulations, people get seriously injured as a result. It is critical for pedestrian accident victims to know all of the rights they have to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and other related costs.