Can A Pedestrian Be Held Liable In A Car Accident?

Oct 23

When it boils down to a pedestrian vs a car in an accident, the usual assumption is that it is the driver of the vehicle who was at-fault. The usual notion is that the automobile should have yielded to the pedestrian’s “right of way.” According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicles kill more than 4,000 people every year and injure over 70,000 pedestrians.

According to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, pedestrians who get involved in a car accident can suffer from physical injuries, pay tons of medical bills, and a long term recovery. The truth of the matter is that pedestrians can also have some liability in a car accident. There are certain instances when the pedestrian will not be able to collect damages for the injuries they incurred and here they are:

  • Jaywalking or crossing in the middle of the street outside of a crosswalk
  • Crossing against the traffic signal
  • Entering a street or highway while intoxicated
  • Walking along highways, bridges, or causeways where pedestrians are strictly prohibited

But while a pedestrian is partially to blame for causing an accident, it is also likely that the driver of the vehicle can also be partially at fault for the collision. Let us say that a pedestrian was jaywalking but if the driver has been driving at a safe speed or is distracted, who will be held liable for the accident? There are different states that adopt shared fault situations.

When it comes to accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians, there are two principles that govern determination of liability. In comparative negligence, the pedestrian receives compensation from any at fault party. However, the amount of damages can be reduced by a percentage equivalent to their share of the liability. Contributory negligence, on the other hand, removes any chances of receiving damages if they were deemed partially at-fault with the accident.

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