Can a Pedestrian Be Held Liable for a Traffic Accident?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Montana Thompson with Phillips Law Group.
The initial perception regarding many car-on-pedestrian accidents is that the car is inherently at fault; however, this is not always the case. Situations do arise in which a pedestrian behaves in such a way that regardless of the driver’s best efforts, the accident still would have occurred. For example, a pedestrian running onto a highway in the middle of heavy traffic is likely to be considered liable for any resulting accidents. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident as a pedestrian or driver, reach out to an accident attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.
Yes, a pedestrian could be held liable for a traffic accident.
It is important to understand that a pedestrian is just as responsible for their safety and the safety of those around them as any driver. Just like cars must follow certain rules of the road, so must pedestrians. Pedestrians can help reduce the risk of a car-pedestrian accident by only crossing streets at crosswalks and when indicated by traffic lights. While a pedestrian may be considered entirely liable for the accident in the scenario that they dart into traffic, in many cases both the driver and the pedestrian are considered liable to some degree.
Depending on the state, a pedestrian may or may not be able to seek compensation if they were partially at fault.
Every state has slightly different laws regarding pedestrian accidents; this is why it is important to reach out to an accident attorney in your area who can help you understand how the law applies to your case. It may also be possible to apply your car insurance to your medical bills as an injured pedestrian. Remember: your insurance follows you, not necessarily your vehicle. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t wait to talk to an experienced lawyer about how your medical bills can be paid. Utah, for example, is considered a modified comparative negligence state.
States that follow comparative negligence may allow an injured person to seek compensation for their damages, even if they are partially at fault.
Comparative negligence refers to the practice some states follow of offering compensation to an injured party, even if they are partially at fault. However, in comparative negligence states, the at-fault party’s compensation will be reduced by the same percentage of fault they are decided to have for the accident. So, for example, if the pedestrian’s total damages amounted to $15,000, and the driver of the car is decided to be 80% at-fault for the accident, while the pedestrian is decided to be 20% at fault, that $15,000 compensation would be reduced by 20%, leaving the pedestrian with $12,000. States that practice modified comparative negligence may only choose to award compensation to parties considered 50% or less responsible for the accident.
In states that follow contributory negligence, a partially at-fault pedestrian is not eligible to receive compensation.
While contributory negligence is not as common as comparative negligence, it is still active in several states. In contributory negligence states, if the pedestrian is decided to be even partially at fault for the accident, they are not eligible to receive compensation for the accident.
It takes an experienced attorney to figure out not only who was at fault for the accident, but also to assess the percentage of fault they are likely to be stuck with. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident—especially if you believe you may have been fully or partially at fault—it is important to avoid discussing the situation with anyone until you have spoken to an attorney who can help sort out what happened with the assistance of their resource experts.
To learn more about who may be responsible in a pedestrian accident, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a pedestrian accident attorney.