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Can Pedestrians Be at Fault for Car Accidents?

by Tracy Finke

In most cases, when we hear about accidents, we automatically think they are between two cars. However, 17% of the deaths occurring from car accidents are pedestrians. This means that the people in the car are not the only ones affected.

Usually, the driver is the one causing the accident. Speeding makes them lose control of the car, causing them to hit the people on the sidewalk. However, there are also instances when the driver is not at fault – but in fact, it is the pedestrian who holds the blame. Certain circumstances may lead to this situation.

How Does One Determine Fault?

Source: wissnerlaw.com

For the most part, the person who is held liable for the accident is the one whose negligent actions led to the unfortunate event. Negligence can take different forms and determining it can help the officials find out who was at fault.

  • Duty of Care: Both parties have certain expectations and responsibilities to keep the other people safe.
  • Breach of Duty: Someone acted recklessly and thoughtlessly, causing an accident.
  • Causation: The reckless behavior and thoughtlessness caused someone to get injured in an accident.
  • Damages: If the irresponsible behavior led to an accident, then the negligent person may be liable.

After an accident, the police officers will take a look at the proof to see exactly who was to blame. Sometimes, the negligence comes from the driver, but there are other times when the pedestrian is the one being reckless.

Lawyers from the Beliz Law Firm recommend that you hire an attorney as fast as possible. They will be able to get in contact with potential witnesses, relieving you of the fault if it was not yours.

When Is the Driver to Blame?

Source: steinberginjurylawyers.com

A certain number of behaviors may lead to the driver being at fault for an accident. These can include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding, especially in wet weather
  • Texting and driving
  • Not yielding
  • Running signs or lights
  • Taking an improper turn
  • Ridesharing

If the behavior listed above was discovered in the driver, then the fault is with them and not the pedestrian. For instance, if the street light turned red and the driver hit a person on the crosswalk or did not keep their eyes on the road, then the person behind the wheel is holding the blame. For instance, 1 out of 5 people injured in car accidents caused by distracted driving was not even in a car – he/she was a pedestrian.

There are certain exceptions where third parties may be the ones involved, exempting the drivers from the blame. For instance, a car may hit another from behind, pushing the car forward on the crosswalk or the street walk, leading to a pedestrian being hit. In this case, the person who crashed into the other car from behind will be held liable, even if the other car was the one to cause the accident.

How Could a Pedestrian Cause an Accident

Source: bruninglegal.com

There are certain instances in which the pedestrian may be the one to cause the accident. These can include:

  • Jaywalking. A pedestrian is supposed to cross on a marked area for crossing. When there are no crosswalks, they must cross at times or in areas where they will not impede the traffic.
  • Failure to look both ways when they cross the street.
  • Walking in the middle of the street or attempting to cross while under the influence.
  • Going over a crosswalk into traffic when the light indicates that they should wait.
  • Intentionally distracting the driver (i.e., through ridesharing)
  • Running into the street to collect or recover an item (for example, a ball that fell in the street during a game)
  • Intentionally throwing items on the road, hitting the car, and impeding traffic.
  • Wearing dark clothes while they are walking down the road instead of the sidewalk, especially at night.

For instance, if a drunk pedestrian stumbles into the street without any warning, in areas that are not marked, the driver may not have enough time to react and stop. Or someone may decide to go to the shop across the street and rush into ongoing traffic, without making sure that the road is clear. In these circumstances, the pedestrian will be the one responsible for the accident, as the negligence was on their part.

Traffic Laws for Pedestrians

Source: techexplorist.com

Just like drivers, pedestrians also have certain rules that they have to follow. For instance, when someone is attempting to cross the street, they must yield right and not cross until the cars have finished passing. The only exception is when the person is crossing on a marked crosswalk, in which case the car should be the one to yield.

Crossing diagonally in an intersection is also prohibited if there aren’t any crosswalks nearby. The pedestrian has to find a crosswalk and use it. The only instance when this is relatively permissible is when there are no crosswalks nearby, in which case the pedestrian needs to wait for the roads to clear. This circumstance is rare, as all intersections are usually marked.

How to Prove Fault

Source: gregmonforton.com

There are several ways in which you may prove fault in an accident involving pedestrians. In this case, witness testimony is the most important of them all. After that, comes visual proof. For instance, if there were any cameras filming nearby (i.e., one from a nearby business or a dashboard), you may want to obtain the footage.

Reviewing the site for clues can also help. For instance, you may look into skid marks or debris locations. By looking at what exactly was damaged, you may get a general idea of who was the person who caused the accident.

The Bottom Line

Pedestrians, like drivers, also have certain rules that they need to follow. Even if they are not the ones driving, they can still be the ones causing the accident. This is why you need to contact a good attorney, as they can help you win your case if you were not at fault.