Pedestrian Accidents – Are Drivers Always At Fault?

Accidents between motor vehicles and pedestrians can be serious events that result in injuries and other damage.

While many might assume the driver of the vehicle is automatically at fault, auto accident lawyers find this is not always the case.

Even though drivers must yield to pedestrians, attorneys who help clients involved in car crashes know that there are instances when the pedestrian is actually at fault.

Drivers have the responsibility to avoid hitting pedestrians; however, personal injury lawyers stress that pedestrians also have a responsibility to abide by certain rules to prevent getting hit.

Pedestrian Accidents Are Frequent and Serious

The NHTSA reports that in 2016, there were 5,987 pedestrians fatally injured in accidents with motor vehicles, accounting for 16% of all traffic fatalities for the year.1

This was an average of one person every 1.5 hours and an increase of 9% over pedestrian fatalities in 2015.

In addition, the CDC reports that in 2015 non-fatal pedestrian-vehicle accidents that involved treatment at an emergency room numbered nearly 129,000.2

In both statistics, a pedestrian is considered as any person walking, jogging, running, hiking, sitting, or lying down who is injured by a motor vehicle in some manner.

Drivers Responsibility to Yield

In all car accident events, lawyers who help clients injured in auto accidents must investigate the accident to determine who is at fault and responsible for any injuries or damages caused by the accident.

Most car versus pedestrian accidents are the fault of the driver, as each driver has the legal responsibility to abide by traffic laws designed to protect pedestrians.

What do such responsibilities include?

  • Stopping at all crosswalks or corners and yielding to pedestrians.
  • Stopping and looking before making turns. 
  • Avoiding certain areas marked specifically for pedestrians.

Pedestrians Responsibilities

At the same time, pedestrians have the same responsibilities for avoiding dangerous situations that could result in being hit by a car.

Crossing at designated crosswalks as well as staying on sidewalks and other pedestrian areas are two such pedestrian rules that personal injury lawyers find more often broken by pedestrians that lead to car accidents injuries.

Can Pedestrians Be at Fault?

When pedestrians display negligence and put themselves in danger by doing something unexpected like running out into the road away from a crosswalk or walking on the side of a highway where pedestrian traffic is prohibited, they may be found at fault for the resulting accident and injury.

Attorneys who frequently handle car crash claims find this especially true of the pedestrian if alcohol or drug use was an accident factor, if the pedestrian was texting or talking on the phone while walking, or if the pedestrian entered traffic from places where a driver could not have seen them approaching such as from behind a parked car.

What Is The Final Thought Here?

The important message that auto accident lawyers stress is to never assume that a driver will always be at fault for hitting a pedestrian.

While drivers are negligent a large percentage of the time, pedestrians do make mistakes that cause accidents.

In these instances, it’s essential that drivers work with an attorney who frequently handles car crash injuries who will work to determine actual fault and whether it lies with the pedestrian or the driver.

If you have been involved as a pedestrian in a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident and the other insurance company is saying that you are at fault, seek the services of personal injury lawyers experienced with pedestrian accidents who know the rules on both sides and will work towards an equitable settlement on your behalf!

1Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, March 2018
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Motor Vehicle Safety: Pedestrian Safety, August 2017


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