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Pedestrian Accidents in 2024:
Can a Pedestrian Be Held Liable?

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Both pedestrians and drivers need to act with reasonable care on the road to prevent a car accident, and failure to meet this can result in the party being found to exhibit contributory negligence. In this way, a pedestrian can share some legal fault for pedestrian car accidents.

At Schmidt and Clark, our dedicated team of experienced pedestrian accident lawyers is here to provide you with expert assistance in the unfortunate event of a pedestrian car accident.

We understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to helping you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve.

You can trust our team’s knowledge and expertise to guide you through this challenging situation and fight for your rights.

Quick Summary

  • The determination of liability in an accident involving insurance can vary depending on the circumstances. In some cases, it’s evident who is at fault, while in others, it may be less straightforward.
  • When a pedestrian is found at fault for a pedestrian-car accident, the pedestrian has to pay for their medical expenses and other damages.
  • Shared fault accidents happen when both parties are irresponsible. What happens after depends on the state law where the accident occurred.

When Hit by a Car, Can a Pedestrian Be Held Liable for Causing a Car Accident?

A shattered car in the middle of the road

Pedestrians can be held liable for causing a car accident when hit by a car in certain circumstances.

The determination of liability in a car-pedestrian accident depends on the specific details of the incident.

To prove liability means to prove that someone was negligent and to do this, you will have to show that:

  • The person who caused the pedestrian accident case had a legal duty to avoid harm.
  • The person who caused the incident failed to exercise reasonable care.
  • The breach of duty caused the accident.
  • The breach of duty led to an injured pedestrian and losses. 

Everyone on the road, including the vehicle driver, pedestrians, and cyclists, must follow traffic laws and avoid accidents through common sense.

Sometimes, it is easy to tell who is at fault in the accident.

For example, if the oncoming vehicle is speeding and hits a pedestrian in the designated crosswalk, the driver is at fault. If the pedestrian is jaywalking or struck after darting out in front of a car, then the pedestrian is at fault.

In other circumstances, deciding liability is more challenging. For example, if a driver hits a pedestrian who was crossing the street outside of an intersection and the driver wasn’t speeding, would the jaywalking pedestrian be at fault?

Or would a reasonable person with common sense have spotted the pedestrian in time to stop? Or are both parties at fault?

What Happens When a Pedestrian Is at Fault for a Pedestrian Car Accident?

A person counting money from wallet

When a pedestrian is at fault for an accident, they have to pay their accident-related medical bills and may also be responsible for paying other damages.

From a legal standpoint, if a pedestrian causes harm to a vehicle through negligence, they may also have to pay for damages.

 A pedestrian can be negligent and found at fault for a car accident when:

  • They cross a street in an area beside a crosswalk
  • They don’t follow a traffic signal
  • They walk on the road where pedestrians are not allowed or dart in front of cars without giving the driver time to stop

Shared Fault Accidents

Two vehicles with shared fault accidentsSometimes accidents happen because both the driver and pedestrian are careless. The personal injury law regarding shared blame varies per state law.

Some states operate under a pure comparative negligence rule. In a state that follows this rule, you can recover compensation if you are partially responsible for an accident. Still, your compensation is reduced by a percentage due to your fault in the accident [1].

For example, say that a car is speeding and hits a jaywalking pedestrian. Say the insurance company finds the pedestrian’s share of losses from the accident to be $100,000, and they find that they were 20 percent responsible for the incident and the driver was 80 percent responsible. 

Under contributory negligence, the driver has to pay the jaywalker $80,000 because the $100,000 is reduced by 20 percent for the pedestrian’s share of the accident [2].

Some states exhibit modified comparative negligence, where you can recover damages from the accident according to your degree of fault as long as you are less than half at fault.

A few states follow the all-or-nothing rule known as no-fault states. Under this rule, even if you are the smallest bit at fault for the accident, you can’t receive any compensation.

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FAQs

What Is The Most Frequent Cause Of Pedestrian Car Accidents?

The most frequent cause of pedestrian car accidents is when drivers fail to stop at stop signs or traffic lights and can’t avoid hitting the pedestrian. Texting is becoming more common as one of the top distractions that play a part in these accidents.

Where Do Most Pedestrians Get Hit By Cars?

Most pedestrians get hit by cars in urban areas or road locations away from intersections, as well as at night. Higher vehicle speeds increase the chance of a pedestrian being hit by a car as well as the injury severity. 

Do You Need Help Filing Your Personal Injury Claim?

If you have experienced injuries from an accident, whether you were the pedestrian or vehicle, and whether you were at fault for the accident or not, depending on the state where the incident happened, you may be able to seek compensation.

The experienced personal attorneys at Schmidt and Clark can help you with your claim, including determining fault, how much compensation you are entitled to, filing your claim, representing you in court, and more. 

Contact Schmidt and Clark, LLP for your free consultation today and get the compensation you deserve. 


References:

  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/comparative_negligence#:~:text=Pure%20Comparative
    %20Negligence%3A,fault%20determined%20by%20the%20court.
  2. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/contributory_negligence

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