Avoiding Legal Trouble

Pedestrians In Auto Accidents — Could You Be Liable?

Were you involved in a car accident while a pedestrian? It's often important to get the most compensation you can after such an accident since pedestrians are at risk for more injuries than those seated in the car. 

But what if the driver or insurance carrier claims that you're at fault for the accident? Can a pedestrian be responsible rather than a driver? And how might this affect your settlement? Here's what you need to know. 

Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault?

While the vast majority of car/pedestrian accidents are the fault of the drivers, the pedestrian is not always completely innocent of responsibility. The reason this may happen is a breach of what is known as the duty of care.

The duty of care is a duty each person or company has to act reasonably to prevent accidents. The driver certainly bears the brunt of this duty due to the larger risk they and their vehicle pose. However, the pedestrian also has a duty to act reasonably to prevent accidents. When this is breached, they may be at fault. 

When Is a Pedestrian's Duty of Care Breached?

The most common way that a pedestrian may breach their duty of care is through jaywalking or crossing roads other than at a designated crosswalk. If the person walks out between cars, giving the driver insufficient time to stop, they may be primarily or completely at fault. 

Other ways that pedestrians breach their duty include walking on roads where pedestrians are prohibited and failing to heed a traffic signal. 

Can Both Parties Be at Fault?

Most states follow a standard that accepts that an accident may have more than one person at fault. For example, perhaps the pedestrian jaywalked but the driver was speeding at the time of the accident. In this case, comparative negligence assigns a percentage of liability to everyone who shares fault in some way. Damages are often reduced by corresponding percentages. 

A handful of states do not follow comparative negligence, though. In these states, a pedestrian who is shown to be at fault in any way is unlikely to receive any damages. 

Where Can You Learn More?  

If you were a pedestrian injured in a motor vehicle accident, proving that you acted with reasonable care and didn't violate your duty of care may be vital. This is especially so if you could see a large reduction — or complete elimination — of damages for your injuries. 

The best place to begin is by consulting with a car accident attorney in your state. Make an appointment today to learn your best next move.