Are Pedestrians Ever At Fault When They're Hit By A Vehicle?
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the injuries are often severe. Pedestrian collisions can result in numerous fractures, head injuries, and permanent disability. Pedestrians often sue drivers to receive compensation for their significant medical bills.
However, the driver isn't at fault in every case. Sometimes pedestrians contribute to the accident or are wholly responsible for it. In these cases, they will only receive reduced compensation or no compensation at all. In fact, drivers are able to sue pedestrians who cause an auto accident. In order to learn more about how fault works after a pedestrian collision, read on.
How Is Fault Determined When a Car Hits a Pedestrian?
When determining fault in an auto accident, the jury primarily considers the presence of negligence. Drivers have a duty of care while they're driving. This means that they're required to drive in a manner that is safe and in accordance with traffic laws. If they breach this duty of care by driving in an unsafe manner, then they can be held at fault for the accident.
However, pedestrians have their own duty of care. They're expected to cross the street in a safe manner and abide by traffic laws as well. If the pedestrian breaches this duty of care, it means that they may be the party found at fault for the auto accident.
When Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault for an Auto Accident?
While it's commonly assumed that pedestrians always have the right-of-way, this isn't true. While state and county traffic laws vary, pedestrians typically only have the right of way at a crosswalk. If the crosswalk has a pedestrian signal (the light that tells pedestrians to either walk or not walk), then they only have the right-of-way when the signal indicates that they should walk.
In almost all other cases, street traffic has the right-of-way. Pedestrians are only allowed to cross the street when there's no oncoming traffic. If a pedestrian walks out in front of an oncoming car and is hit, they can be at fault for the accident.
Additionally, pedestrians are expected to walk only in areas where pedestrian traffic is allowed. They should walk on the sidewalk if one exists. If there's no sidewalk, pedestrians are expected to walk on the far left side of the road facing oncoming traffic. If a pedestrian is hit walking in an area where no pedestrian traffic is allowed (for example, by the side of an interstate highway), then they can be found at fault for the accident.
If a pedestrian is hit while they're wearing dark-colored clothing at night or if they're intoxicated and moving erratically, then this can render them at fault for the accident as well. When the jury considers fault for an accident, they normally consider whether or not a competent driver could have avoided the pedestrian. If it would have been impossible for the driver to avoid hitting the pedestrian because they could barely be seen at night or were making erratic movements, then it wouldn't be the driver's fault for the accident.
Can a Driver Sue a Pedestrian After an Accident?
When a pedestrian is at fault for an auto accident, the driver is allowed to collect damages from them. In most cases, these damages aren't very large. It's rare for a pedestrian collision to cause extensive damage to a car.
However, if a driver was forced to swerve in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian and collided with another car, both cars may have sustained serious damage. If the pedestrian is found at fault for the accident, they'll be responsible for the damage to both vehicles along with the injuries suffered by the passengers inside.
The issue of fault in an accident between a car and a pedestrian isn't always one-sided. Pedestrians are sometimes held at fault for these cases if they're walking in an unsafe manner. Whether you've been hit by a car or have hit a pedestrian while driving, you'll need to call an experienced auto accident attorney. An auto accident attorney can help gather information from the scene such as camera footage and witness statements that help determine fault in the accident, which is what affects whether the driver or the pedestrian wins the case.
If you have additional questions, reach out to a local auto accident attorney.