When we think about pedestrians being struck by cars, most of us think that the driver is almost always at fault. After all, most people are familiar with the saying, “Pedestrians have the right of way.” However, from a legal standpoint, drivers are not always responsible for the accidents they have with pedestrians. Of course, it’s fact-reliant, but in some situations the pedestrian can be partially, or wholly, to blame for the accident.
Imagine you’re standing in front of your house and you see a car driving down the street. At that moment, a cat runs into the street. Fearful for his cat’s life, your neighbor three doors down darts into the street after his cat, right in front of an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the car did not have time to stop, so she hit the man chasing after his cat.
Would the driver be held responsible for your neighbor’s injuries? If she wasn’t speeding and she wasn’t driving distracted, maybe not. But on the other hand, if she was driving 50 mph in a 25 mph zone, and your neighbor ran into the street when she was half a block away, and she still struck him anyway, then she may be held at least partially liable.
Liability in a Pedestrian Accident
In some cases, it’s clear who is at fault in a pedestrian accident. For example, if a driver rolls through a crosswalk and hits a pedestrian, it’s the driver’s fault. Or, if a driver races through a red light without stopping and hits a pedestrian, again, it’s the driver’s fault.
Other times, fault isn’t clear and the police and the insurance companies have to do some investigating work to arrive at a decision. Generally, it comes down to the traffic laws, and if the driver or pedestrian were breaking any laws.
If the driver is at-fault for the accident, the pedestrian will file a personal injury claim and he or she will seek to recover damages from the driver’s auto insurance company, and possible the driver. On the other hand, if the pedestrian is to blame for the accident, he or she may not be able to recover any compensation from the driver. The pedestrian may be partially or fully at-fault for an accident in the following scenarios:
- Crossing in the middle of a street
- Crossing outside a crosswalk
- Entering a street while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Walking along a street, highway, or bridge where pedestrians are prohibited
It’s not uncommon for pedestrians and drivers to share the blame for an accident. As a comparative negligence state, Section 33.001 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code says that an injured party cannot collect damages if he or she is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
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Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today to file a pedestrian accident claim in Plano and the surrounding areas!