When a Pedestrian Breaks the Law, Who’s at Fault?

A lot of drivers assume that if they were to strike a pedestrian in the road, the accident is the driver’s fault, no questions asked. But what if the pedestrian was wearing black and it was dark? What if the pedestrian ran into the middle of the road and the driver had no time to stop? What if the pedestrian was not using a crosswalk and they darted out into the middle of the street?

When people talk about fault in pedestrian accidents between a car and someone on foot, most people initially assume that the driver of the vehicle has to be the one that’s wrong or at-fault. Most drivers have heard the saying, “Pedestrians always have the right of way,” so it’s understandable why so many people would assume the driver is automatically at fault. However, in a pedestrian accident, it is entirely possible for the pedestrian to be at fault, whether it’s partially or entirely.

Pedestrians Breaking Traffic Laws

You’ve seen it happen before: You’ll be driving down a busy road in the city and all of a sudden, some pedestrian decides to walk across the street smack in the middle of traffic. All vehicles have to come to a stop and there may even be a couple of “near accidents” as cars wait for the pedestrian to cross the street…illegally because they didn’t use a crosswalk.

When it comes to pedestrian accidents, assigning fault to the pedestrian can be that simple. If the pedestrian clearly violated a traffic law and darted or walked out in the middle of traffic where they didn’t belong, the pedestrian can be blamed for the accident. What the insurance adjusters will be interested in:

  • The driver’s account
  • The pedestrian’s account
  • The applicable traffic laws
  • The findings from the police report
  • Expert testimony

If the driver clearly broke the law, for example, the driver rolled through a crosswalk or drove through a red light, then the driver will be liable for the accident and on the hook for the pedestrian’s damages. However, if the pedestrian was responsible for the accident, he or she may not be able to recover any compensation for their injuries and the driver may actually be able to sue the pedestrian for any damage to their car or for their injuries.

How can a pedestrian be liable for a pedestrian accident? It can occur when the pedestrian jaywalks, crosses in the middle of a street, crosses outside of a crosswalk, enters the road while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, or walks along highways or bridges where pedestrians are strictly prohibited.

Next: Pedestrians’ Right of Way at Crosswalks

To file a pedestrian accident claim, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC.

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